Sunday, May 28, 2017


Posted by Jim on April 30, 2010

I am pleased to be working with the team to elect Larissa Waters to the Senate. I expect her to be the first Greens Senator in Queensland.

She will make a quality Senator when she joins the competent women senators in the Greens who have made a significant contribution to the job of governance of this country.

Launch 30/4/10

Greens Senate Candidate Larissa Waters and Wide Bay Candidate Jim McDonald talking to the cameras

I have spent the last several weeks talking to people in the Wide Bay electorate from Murgon to Tin Can Bay and from Noosa to Maryborough.

It will be my task as the Greens candidate to bring to the fore the issues that are important to the people in the electorate.

People are sick of the spin doctors. The Greens’ polling on Climate Change makes it quite clear that people want action not spin. They want straight talking not weasel words. They want a vision for Australia not protection of vested interests. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Greens Wide Bay Media Campaign Launch

Posted by Jim on

Dr Jim McDonald has already been actively campaigning in the Wide Bay electorate, which includes Noosa and the Noosa Hinterland.

He has toured the electorate and spent some time in Gympie and Maryborough as well as other smaller towns such as Tin Can Bay and Murgon.

Jim brings to his candidacy a background as an educator, a union official and an academic. He is notionally “retired” but is an active 65 year old. Jim is known on the Sunshine Coast as a writer and an actor. His biographical sketch is attached.

He says he is looking forward as the Green Candidate to providing the electors of Wide Bay with a viable alternative to the other parties.

Jim will be making a formal statement on his candidacy on Friday. Copies will be made available for the media.

The Greens Lead Senate candidate, Larissa Waters will also attend

Media Alert, 28 April 2010

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A personal ANZAC Day reflection

Posted by Jim on April 26, 2010

This year’s ANZAC day meant something a little different to me.

During a trip to Europe over Christmas, I visited the grave of my mother’s uncle who is buried at the Lijssenthoek Military Hospital Cemetery in Belgium. Lijssenthoek is several kilometres from the village of Poperinge, which was one of the rail staging posts for the Flanders campaign.

My great uncle is one of about 1,200 Australian soldiers buried in Lijssenthoek with some 12,000 other young men – who were in the prime of their life – beneath rows of identical headstones. His record on the Australian War Memorial web site reveals he died the day after being shot in the face and his abdomen. Ten days previously he had returned to the trenches after suffering from the Spanish Influenza. I have a letter written around the time he rejoined the front a few days before he died. The stress of being shelled was palpable as he signed off, noting that he had to go because of the barrage. He was barely 21 years old.

Lijssenthoek Belgium

Graves, Lijssenthoek Belgium

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Stranded on a virtual island by the Queensland Government

Posted by Jim on April 24, 2010

It is the story out of a bureaucratic hell. Residents in Federal who were not bought out by the Queensland Government in the resumption of land for Traveston Dam are stranded on a virtual island.

Dr Jim McDonald, the Greens candidate for Wide Bay, said, “They are surrounded by the new route of the Bruce Highway between Curra and Cooroy, land owned by the Queensland Government bought up for Traveston Dam, and power lines.

“And after years of pea and thimble planning on the route, a highway designed to skirt what would have been the Traveston Dam has decimated their community.

“The Queensland Government decided with indecent haste on the route nearly two months before the Federal Minister for the Environment canned the Dam.

“Federal residents made it clear in submissions that they preferred upgrading the existing route. The Department of Transport and Main Roads has steamrolled the community. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Greens will not do preference deals in Wide Bay

Posted by Jim on April 22, 2010

Greens candidate, Dr Jim McDonald, said “There will be no preference deals in Wide Bay for the Federal election.”

He was responding on comments yesterday by the National Member for Wide Bay, Hon Warren Truss and National Senator Ron Boswell.

The National Party parliamentarians said that there might be a pre-election deal between Labor and the Greens.

“Senator Boswell and Mr Truss are guilty of misinformation,” he said. “At the last Federal election, the Greens made no preference deals with any party in Wide Bay and the Nationals have made no approach to the Branch for talks on any issues.

“Wide Bay Greens have already decided not to preference any party at the next Federal election. The Branch is adamant that there should be no preference deals because of Coalition lack of environmental policies and Labor’s policies on refugees. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Coal, prime agricultural land, and foreign ownership

Posted by Jim on April 19, 2010

My media checks brought up on Friday the issue of foreign purchasing of Australian agricultural land under relaxed FIRB rules [Business Week].  The Australian Greens’ website contains a couple of relevant speeches by Greens Senator Scott Ludlum on the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Amendment Bill in February and Bob Brown last year on BHP-Chinaco merger.

In my view, we should be rather more careful in the national interest about allowing foreign control of Australian resources. The relaxation of control of Australian interests and resources is a product of a naive mindset about free trade, deregulation, and unfettered markets that extends from the 1970s-1980s debates about tariff protection to such matters as the too-ready importation of skilled migrants at the expense of training Australians.  That provision has generated the practice of importing labour under Section 457 visas, which has produced some  examples of exploitative practices.  And it has the high potential to undermine Australian workers’ conditions and wages.  On the question of skilled migration, I applaud Bob Brown for his call to slow down the rate of skilled migration and train more workers in Australia. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Daylight Saving a Diversionary Stunt

Posted by Jim on April 16, 2010

The Bligh Government has used the daylight saving issue to divert people’s attention from privatisation as the closing dates for tenders for the sale of our forests and the railways loom, according to Jim McDonald.

Dr McDonald is the Queensland Greens candidate for the federal Wide Bay electorate.

The introduction of daylight saving as an issue by independent Peter Wellington, Member for Nicklin, is perfect timing if the Premier wanted people to think about something else other than privatisation, he said.

The Premier knows that her privatisation plans will affect the federal vote. Selling off the forests to foreign interests and the railways to coal interests might lie under State jurisdiction,” he said, “But the sales have national implications.

Too much of Australia’s resources and infrastructure are going under the hammer to foreign interests and Australians are getting fed up with Governments making it too easy to sell off the farm to overseas companies and individuals.

I find it interesting that the Premier is using the online social networking tool, Twitter, and inviting people in the regions to let people know what they think about the daylight saving question.

Why,” he asked, “Did she not do the same for selling off publicly owned assets? It seems to me that, while people certainly have strong opinions about daylight saving, privatisation is a more important issue on which Government MPs might consult with their electorate.”

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Rudd’s largesse is smoke and mirrors

Posted by Jim on April 15, 2010

So far, what we have heard on Health from the Prime Minister are funding increases and some management tinkering. This does not reform the health system. That’s the view of Dr Jim McDonald, the Greens candidate for the Wide Bay electorate in Queensland.

A proper review would look at public patients in my electorate having to take a 450km round trip to Toowoomba for some cancer tests and treatment,” he said. “That is unacceptable. The regions covered by Wide Bay can hardly be called remote.”

Dr McDonald said that patients in the regions are being short-changed. “Government and Opposition have failed to look at the real issues, engaging in what they imagine the electorate is concerned about and in the belief that money will gather votes.

Some fundamental definitions need changing and health funding adjusted to deal with the real world of health care.

What we hear out of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition is a managerial perspective that deals with dollars. The real world of public health will not be improved by throwing money at a system that is broken because patient care is seen primarily through statistical outcomes that have narrow definitions.

Talk to public patients who have to wait for hip or knee surgery, for example, and then tell them that the extreme pain they are experiencing only entitles them to join the elective surgery list, but we’ve increased funding. Patients can wait from three months to over a year for a joint replacement because of a bureaucratic vision of Health systems where numbers rule.”

Dr McDonald said he has had hip surgery himself and he knows how acute joint pain can be and the relief that surgery can bring.

I was fortunate enough to have health insurance,” he said. “ I didn’t have to wait more than a few weeks. He said before surgery the pain was excruciating.

To regard hip and knee replacement as elective surgery is outrageous because it camouflages the true extent of waiting lists in terms of its effects on individuals.

There are unmeasured costs in work productivity and efficiency and an unmeasurable cost in quality of life,” he said.

These are just two of the fundamental issues of health reform. A proper review of health would look at issues such as distance from facilities in the regions and what constitutes elective surgery.

The Prime Minister’s solutions look less impressive through the pain of a patient hobbling to work,” Dr McDonald observed, “Or an unwell patient in the South Burnett having to travel five hours to and from an MRI scan they have waited months to have.”

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Forestry sell-off a sell-out to overseas investors?

Posted by Jim on

The long-term sustainability of Gympie’s forestry industry could be decimated by the State sell-off of Forestry Plantations Queensland, the Greens candidate for the federal electorate of Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, said today.

The Government’s documentation for tenders states that there is strong demand for Forestry Plantation Queensland’s products. If that is so, why would the Bligh Government sell off such a good asset to foreign buyers?

For the sake of $20 million of government investment a year in a healthy industry, which last year turned in $72.4 million of sales, the State is flogging off a viable asset.

It doesn’t have the moral right to do that. That industry has been developed over the long term by taxpayers’ money for the public purse,” Dr McDonald said.

He said the environmental record of some private firms in forestry industries here and overseas has been rightly the subject of concern.

Those concerns have been brought to Gympie and the Sunshine Coast by the same State Government that proposed the Traveston Dam.

The sale not only jeopardises the job security of 400 forestry workers in the medium term, but the overall economic health of the region if the workforce is cut.

There is a strong possibility that the forests in the Gympie and Sunshine Coast regions will be in foreign hands by June this year.

One likely purchaser is John Hancock Financial Services Inc., an American group of companies that has bought up a large section of the plantation and forests industry in Victoria.

Hancock’s clear felling practices in rain catchment areas and in koala habitats have been questioned by Victorian environmentalists concerned about the sustainability of Victorian timber resources.

Environmentalists have accused the Hancock company of decimating large tracts of koala habitat in the Strzelecki Ranges in South-East Victoria and they claim the company has failed to apply proper koala management practices,” he said.

I cannot see how it is the national interest to contemplate the sale of resources such as those owned by Forestry Plantations Queensland to a foreign investment company.

The Queensland Greens in Wide Bay support the unions and the community in objecting to this sell-off of what are fundamentally our resources,” he said.

Media Release, 13 April 2010, Published Gympie Times, 15 April 2010

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Population figures by themselves are irrelevant

Posted by Jim on April 13, 2010

Gross population figures by themselves are irrelevant.  Whatever number Australia reaches by 2050 or 3000, the present growth trend will take Australia beyond the projected 35 million in Treasury’s forecasts.

The discussion about how big Australia’s population has to be, first, can we sustain the number?  That means: do we have enough water?  Do we degrade the environment by digging more coal pits and pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere?  What efficient  infrastructure do we need to reduce our reliance on oil to provide rapid and convenient transportation?    What directions should education planning take to provide a skilled workforce that is not reliant on immigration?  What technological developments that do not degrade air quality or add to toxic waste production can assist the necessary growth in productivity.  To what extent can government encourage the necessary research?  How do we go about protecting and utilising the most productive land for food cropping when so much has been alienated by urban spread?  Should we expand the protection of forests and to what extent should we expand existing plantations?

The population question generates questions on a very wide range of policy issues and that is why Bob Brown’s call for a review is the most savvy response to the current discussion.  However, if the discussion continues on in the vein of Gerard Henderson’s commentary, it will be nothing more than a fatuous focus on political spin.  The future of the Australian population is not a one-dimensional question that political spin will resolve.  The nation’s future requires a whole-of-picture approach and neither Mr Rudd nor Mr Abbott have demonstrated the vision for the future, which our politicians owe us all.

Letter to the Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2010 [unpublished]

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