Ryan Independent was busy last week and did not post his weekly comments. He apologises.
First, the previous ratings of our representatives’ web presence requires an update. A staffer from now-elected rather than appointed Senator Sue Boyce’s office contacted me to point out that she does, after all, have a website. It was far from visible when I searched for it two weeks ago, now it appears more prominently when a search engine is sent to look for it. I give it a C-. Not especially imaginative. Its “Links” page is conservative in every sense… Queenslanders are steered towards the Churchill Trust (useful for some), but the other choices are the Business Council of Australia, Commerce Queensland, the Menzies Research Centre (a Liberal think-tank), or the Queensland Branch of the Liberal party itself. Sue leaves no doubt as to where her political sympathies lie, at least, but these organisations are probably of marginal interest to those constituents who make their way to her site.
It is surely only due to Ryan Independent’s hectoring two weeks ago and nothing whatever to do with an upcoming election, that Councillor Margaret de Wit now has a prominent website, or perhaps it was there all along and I was simply unable to find it. It is currently suffering a technical problem with newsletter downloads so I’ll withhold my mark until next week. I should also apologise for earlier misspelling of Cr. de Wit’s last name – something I should have avoided as it’s a problem I am not unfamiliar with myself.
In next week’s issue I’ll be commenting on the upcoming council elections, which are just reaching the consciousness of a public still weary from last year’s non-stop electoral extravaganza.
I feel some sympathy for the candidates – despite the fact that a number of our highest priority issues are played out at the Council level, they are struggling hard against widespread indifference exacerbated by the hyper-political 2007, and more insidiously, by the paradoxical remoteness of our local government – the Brisbane City Council. I’ve recently advocated basic reforms to Council structure, but we should ask all candidates to explain their plans for updating a local government that is not only a) remote – with one councillor for about 40,000 residents; but b) unattractive for anyone other than party candidates – this round has attracted a grand total of six brave souls across the whole City who are not representatives of the ALP, Liberals or Greens; and often c) murky – for many voters, the City Council has functions that are far from clearly distinguished from State and even Federal responsibilities, especially in regional and transport planning.