Tuesday 2 December 2008

Joel's right of reply

Joel Harrop is barely old enough to ride a bike, yet he's running against Desley (at least we think Desley is running) with the LNP for the State seat of Cairns in next year's election.

Joel is keen to debate, listen and learn about what everyone's been missing in their elected representative. He wants to regain the lost respect that the community has in politicians. It's a big job, and at 3 foot six, is he up to it?

Joel joins our regular stable of irregular writers here at CairnsBlog. He's not being paid to say this. Nor are we. Damm.

In response to my Youtube video published CairnsBlog, Barry Daniels wrote...

  • “Well Joel, the only thing that I noticed was the wind gusts from behind, maybe you should have mckenzie standing behind you, he is a good plug for your misguided political beliefs or wear some undies so as the gusts don't interfere with your crap. Lillian, joel can't give you his CV, as he stated on the plug's talkback, IT IS TOP SECRET, go away you five minute wonders.”

He then went on to write in a following comment:

  • C'mon Joel, Let us all know what your top secret of life is, and while you are at it tell us how you will control the beauro's whenever you think you will be a minister.”

When I read these comments, my initial thought was surprise. This was a person who I hadn’t even met who seems to have a deeply seeded grudge against me. I considered that perhaps this was the Labor party assigning a blogger to try and embarrass me. However, as I thought about it further, I settled on the belief that this is someone who has no faith in the political system and does not trust me because I claim to want to make things better.

I gave him a ring this morning and we had a quick chat. He explained that he is “tired of all the political crap” and has a lot of problems with the former National Party. I accept that. The LNP is a newly formed party, and while it does have a history, we are looking to the future. Key issues we are addressing include Health Care, Law and Order, Education and the Environment.

All of these areas have be blatantly ignored by the current government. Don’t believe me... Health Care: over the past 5 years, we have gone from 20% of people waiting more than 8 hours for a hospital bed to over half and it gets worse every year, Law and Order: the LNP put up a bill to have vandals clean up their mess and Labor blocked it.

Last year 26 juveniles were convicted of rape and only 9 of the convicted people were given a jail sentence, Education: Years 3 & 5 have the lowest levels reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy in Australia, Years 7 & 9 are below national averages for each of these categories as well, Environment: Their track record on the environment is so poor that the Greens Party has released a statement encouraging Green Branches not to give the Labor party preference votes.

Mr Daniels went on to say that he didn’t really want to speak to me about his views, or make any suggestions. So that said, following is my response to Mr Daniels comments.

  • Hi Barry,

    I don't have a top secret life, but I know what you are referring to. For the benefit of those who don't, the day after I was Pre-Selected as the Cairns Candidate for the LNP, I was interviewed by several media outlets, including the Mackenzie show.

    Mackenzie asked about my background, which is a mix of banking and the military (I discuss this in more detail in my first video blog, which is on Youtube.) He was curious about my time as an Army Officer and the topic of overseas service was raised.

    I discussed my overseas service in broad terms, but was unable to provide some details. When he asked why I couldn’t disclose this information, I responded that the information was subject to Defence classification and that I couldn’t discuss it. Information is not released by the Australian Government if it would place Australian Service Personnel’s lives at risk or compromise the operation. Examples of this information can include locations, times, numbers of people...

    To your second question... The biggest issue with government in FNQ is that the pollies don’t represent their electorates. I have been discussing this issue at length with Lawrence Springborg and several Shadow Ministers, all of whom are in full support of my commitment to put the electorate first. Cairns, as well as the other seats in the region, need strong representation. The LNP leadership recognise the importance of electoral representation and fully support my position.

    With respect to the different departments, each needs a different approach. For example, the LNP won’t address Law and Order in the same way we address Health Care, Education or the Environment. Each individual portfolio will have its own tailored plan to address the substantive issues.

    To help explain how we will address these portfolio issues, I am putting a series of video blogs together. Furthermore, I’m responding to people who are asking me tough questions. I believe in having this interaction with the public, and if I’m successful in my campaign to be the next Member of Cairns, I will continue this open dialogue.

    Thanks for the questions,
    Joel Harrop

FOOTNOTE: Joel is old enough to ride a bike. He's also taller than 3 foot six. Just.

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