Smell that? It smells like panic, like passion and desperation… why I do believe it’s the intoxicating scent of an upcoming election! Pass me the popcorn and let’s settle into this…
In the last few months I’ve had a relative from overseas visiting and we’ve driven all over south east Queensland. In none of the cities we’ve visited have I seen anything like the passion I’m seeing in Logan. The sheer number of corflutes, billboards, trailers, cars and anything else you can slap a sign on, is astounding. On the one hand it’s a visual cacophony, on the other it’s exciting that so many people in Logan care about our city and our communities and are willing to raise their hands and nominate to be involved in leading Logan in a new direction.
I’m seeing the usual shenanigans around election time… the stolen or destroyed signs, the occasional threats of violence made by candidate’s supporters to other candidates and the dredging up and twisting of anything from a candidate’s past that might impugn their character. It’s a little like some trashy reality T.V show that you just can’t stop watching on nine now…. not quite as gripping as MAFS, but with decidedly more real personal consequences for everyone who lives in Logan.
There’s a few arguments I’m seeing consistently. The biggest one seems to be that some people feel a candidate demonstrates greater integrity if they are self-funded. The argument is clear: if a candidate accepts large donations from unscrupulous donors, than those donors may put pressure on our elected officials to take actions that are in the interest of the donors rather than the electorate. In addition, a weaker candidate can appear stronger with better advertising and marketing budgets. How did that work out for Clive Palmer at the last federal election?
The counter to this argument is that a corrupted person will behave in a corrupt fashion irrespective of donors. More importantly – if you insist that all donors be self-funded it creates an oligarchy where only very wealthy people are able to run for office and pass legislative changes that affect us all. Do you believe super wealthy people always have your best interests at heart?
This race has some fantastic candidates from all walks of life. Some small and home based business owners, some people who have tirelessly worked for non-profits and some raving ego maniacs… but there’s room for everyone who thinks they can make Logan better.
There’s so many ways we can improve our city. It’s my opinion that the limited number of jobs available in Logan contribute and make manifest some very real problems. High unemployment, youth unemployment multi-generational welfare dependence, high suicide rates, crime, broken homes, addiction and mental health issues are all exacerbated by lack of employment opportunities.
Recently I was speaking with the owner of a beautiful restaurant and function centre set on the Logan river. Business isn’t always easy and she was hoping to take advantage of the outdoor area of her restaurant and build a small stage and a pizza oven and have chilled Sunday afternoon vibes going on for patrons and local musicians. Just to lodge the paperwork to have the council consider the idea was $10,000!
If we want more jobs in our communities we really can’t put roadblocks like that in the way of small businesses who employ our locals and bring visitors to our city.
Attracting more visitors to our city is something the council has been actively courting for a few years now. They’ve had some success with approval for bigger projects looking imminent.
A few weeks ago I was chatting with the manager of one of Logan’s many footy clubs. Their team has won the divisional championship for a few years in a row. Normally, that would have meant they would move up to Division 1. They can’t move up to Division 1 because their facilities are inadequate for Division 1 matches and our city has inadequate overnight accommodation for players and their families who would have to travel to Logan from the Sunshine coast and beyond.
If we want more visitors we need to invest in our city.
Logan is full of energetic and ambitious people keen to make our city shine. I hope, however the election goes, that we have a council who believes in our community, who invests in our infrastructure and who gets rid of roadblocks to growth. I hope they will lead Logan forward and on to a fresh start.
I’ve got my popcorn ready and I’m on the edge of my seat with my fingers crossed for a happy ending.