November 25th 2012
Opposition leader says Hathaway should resign over Rec Camp closure
Queensland’s Leader of the Opposition, Annastacia Palaszczuk, visited Magnetic Island on Friday and called on our local LNP Member, John Hathaway, to resign for not representing the Magnetic Island community’s calls to stop the government from closing the Magnetic Island Recreation Camp at Picnic Bay.
The visit by the Opposition Leader adds extra energy to the campaign to fight the camp’s closure and is likely to draw the Island issue into the broader state-wide, political arena.
Annastacia Palaszczuk told Magnetic Times of the wider interest the camps closure was having due to the impact it will have on school students from other parts of the state - particularly in Mount Isa.
“Spinafex College (Mt Isa) students sat me down for an hour and went through how important the camp was to them,” she said.
“They told me how their brothers and sisters went to the camp and of their personal development. How they grew from young students to more mature students leading into adulthood. They told me of the life-long friendships they formed, how they bonded with their teachers.
“I heard about the non-use of their tech devices - how at the end (of the camp) they wouldn’t be touching those facilities.”
“It’s something they all look forward to. The way they explain it is that it’s something they will remember for their lifetime.”
“I can’t understand a government that, before the election, never mentioned the closure of this centre and now plans to close it down without any consultation.”
One of the organisers of the petition to save the camp, David ‘Crusty’ Herron told Magnetic Times that apart from the response we published from John Hathaway (Click here) he and the three others organising to save the camp had had no response from John Hathaway in about ten weeks.
David 'Crusty' Heron with Annastacia Palaszczuk at the
Magnetic Island Recreation Camp on Friday
“We have sent emails and repeated phone calls (to John Hathaway’s office) - particularly regarding our petition to save the camp. Each time his staff said he’d get back but not once has he tried to get back to any of the three of us. That’s why we eventually went with Bob Katter who has supported us,” said Crusty, adding, ‘I’m very disappointed with our non-representative representative!”
Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “Every resident has the right to to feel angry. Every resident has the right to make representations to their local member. John Hathaway should be over here talking to people. He should be representing his community on the floor of parliament. If he can’t do that he should resign. If you are a state member of parliament there is nothing more important than the community you represent!”
On the impact of the closure to Magnetic Island’s economy, the Opposition Leader said, “The Rec Camp would have employed a number of people here. What are those people going to do? We don’t know what the future is.
“The government has shut up shop across Queensland and now we see it is happening on Magnetic Island.”
Ms Palaszczuk was also concerned at the camp’s loss as a disaster relief and recovery centre. “You need something like that on an island,” she said.
As for advising locals on how to keep the pressure up, Annastacia Palaszczuk said, “The e-petition (Click here) was very important and social media (Click here) was very important in getting the message out as well.
“People should demand that their local member sit down and have a face to face meeting with them. And if he wont listen people have a clear alternative. That is to vote that member out!”
Story and photos: George Hirst