AS governments the world over reel beneath the onslaught of the WikiLeaks exposures, a second bundle of secret government cables has emerged.
Dubbed DrippyLeaks, they contain highly confidential exchanges between Queensland Cabinet ministers, their advisers and other government members.
Premier Anna Bligh vowed to plug the source of the leaks, which have deeply embarrassed her and her Government. ``If I can find who’s leaking this material I’ll ram a plug in them so hard their eyeballs will pop out,’’ she said.
One message to the Premier from Health Minister Paul Lucas, who has presided over the payroll debacle hurting health department staff, reveals that even he hasn’t been paid for three months.
``Dear Premier, No pay cheque again this week. Things are getting a bit tight at our place. Down to our last packet of Coles rissoles and half a bottle of cooking sherry. Any chance you could slip us a couple of grand to tide us over until we can sort out this incredible cock-up which, the way things are going, should be some time in 2015.
``Have had to cancel the botox injections. Apologies to your doctor.’‘
Premier to Lucas: ``Love to help but just got the bill for my latest makeover.’‘
Outspoken Public Works Minister Rob Schwarten, who heads the department responsible for the largely useless and hugely expensive Queensland Health payroll computer system, revealed his frustrations in a colourfully worded message to a colleague leaked by DrippyLeaks.
``If that (deleted) Lucas thinks I’m going to carry the (deleted) can for this disaster, he’d better (deleted) think again. It was those useless (deleted) in Treasury who (deleted) it up in the first place and then Lucas who made it worse by trying to pretend it was fixed. Fraser (Treasurer Andrew Fraser) and Lucas would be flat out organising a (deleted) in a brothel.’‘
Other leaked messages reveal the challenges ministers have had in dealing with what has been a difficult year for the Government.
Treasurer Fraser revealed in an inter-departmental memo that, with the sale of Queensland Rail finalised, the Government had other asset sales in mind for next year.
``Property developers are quite keen to buy Parliament House and knock it down to build high-rise, luxury riverside apartments. Sounds good to me. We could easily raise $400 million for the site and God knows we need the money. I might even buy one myself.
``This raises the question of where to build a new parliament.
``Who cares? I’m probably going to get the chop at the next election anyway so somebody else can worry about it.’‘
Bligh to Fraser: ``You might get the chop? According to the latest polls, the only person that’s going to vote for me is me. That bludger Beattie really dropped me in it. `It’s easy,’ he said. `All you have to do is tell lies, grin a lot and surround yourself with a lot of dopes’.’‘
Former health minister Stephen Robertson, now responsible for water, has struggled to come to grips with his portfolio, as revealed in this message to a senior bureaucrat.
``They give me health and I get Dr Patel! They give me water and I get a desal plant that cost more than a billion dollars, has never worked properly and is probably worth about $1.50, and a $7 billion water grid that no one wants. People keep asking me why, as water falls out of the sky, is it becoming more expensive than petrol?
``How the bloody hell do I know? If I was smart enough to work that out, I wouldn’t be the minister.
``And electricity? Remind me, please: who was the idiot who told the voters that they’d get cheaper power if we de-regulated the system? We’re sending out special kits this summer to families who can no longer afford electricity.
``They contain a dozen candles, a box of firewood, some matches and a map showing the nearest airconditioned shopping mall.’‘
Bureaucrat: ``I believe the idiot in question was former premier Beattie, Minister.’‘
Robertson to bureaucrat: ``That man again! `Keep grinning and tell plenty of lies,’ he said. `You can’t go wrong,’ he said. Incidentally, do you think I need botox?’‘
Bureaucrat: ``Of course not, Minister.’‘
Transport Minister Rachel Nolan came under pressure from the public and the media to reform the taxi industry, a situation which produced this leaked exchange.
Minister: ``So tell me again what’s wrong with the industry?’‘
Adviser: ``The drivers are paid a pittance, a lot of them can’t speak English and most can’t find the Story Bridge.’‘
Minister: ``Why does everyone in a cab want to go to the Story Bridge?’‘
Adviser: ``They don’t, Minister.’‘
Minister: ``But you said ...’‘
Adviser: ``Just making a point, Minister. The thing is that the industry is controlled by two companies and a handful of wealthy individuals, whom we allow to self-regulate, which means they pretty well do what they like, while we help the duopoly by keeping the price of licences artificially high.’‘
Minister: ``Wealthy, influential individuals, you say. The kind who’d make political donations?’‘
Adviser: ``I imagine so.’‘
Minister: ``What can we do?’‘
Adviser: ``I suggest an inquiry, Minister.’‘
Minister: ``But what if it suggests I do something?’‘
Adviser: ``The inquiry will recommend easy things and hard things. We’ll do the easy things. Don’t worry, Minister. You’ll get the hang of it.’‘
Minister: ``I hereby order an inquiry.’‘
Adviser: ``Well done, Minister.’‘
Minister: ``Incidentally, do I need botox?’’