The Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher will be one of the most closely watched this coming federal election, Rodney E. Lever believes the ALP's Bill Gissane may take the spoils.
BIG BILL GISSANE is a big man with a big dog and big ideas for the future of the long-neglected Sunshine Coast and hinterland electorate of Fisher. He is often accompanied by Jazz, a cross between a standard poodle and a golden retriever, a breed known as a “groodle.”
Some politicians enter the game practically straight from school, come from a mundane life in one of the professions, or as the result of excessive egocentricity. Bill Gissane is someone who has spent a long working life as a senior executive and consultant for major companies like BHP and CSR. He is a man with an international reputation for getting things done.
For only the second time in its history, Fisher may soon have a Labor member in the home state of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. His entry would establish Fisher as an significant election bellwether in Queensland.
The Liberal and National parties have had a stranglehold on Fisher for all but six of its 64 years of existence. Labor’s Michael Lavarch held the seat for two terms from 1987 until 1993, after which he moved south to Dickson, was re-elected there and became Commonwealth Attorney-General.
The ruling LNP in Queensland has a shaky hold on the seat now, with a split vote between one ex-Liberal and two defectors from Premier Newman's LNP; one defector represents the Bob Katter's Katter's Australian Party and the other represents Clive Palmer's Palmer United Party. Mal Brough becomes just one of four candidates now competing for the seat. A fifth, ex-Speaker Peter Slipper, has the option of joining the race as an Independent.
When the Queensland Liberal Party and the Queensland National Party decided to amalgamate in 2008, Mal Brough fought savagely against it and lost. Only when the amalgamation was a fait accompli, did Brough swallow his pride and seek membership of the merged party — grudgingly and only because there was then no other candidate in sight.
It was the only way for Brough to have a political career in Queensland at all after making a hash of Aboriginal affairs in the Northern Territory. He was the marshall of John Howard’s futile election stunt, using the army and the police to invade aboriginal land. It achieved absolutely nothing except upsetting Territorians and making him despised to this day by the vast bulk of Australia's traditional owners.
Deciding to try and claim Fisher from the incumbent Peter Slipper, who has held the seat from 1984 to 1987 and then 1993 to today, Brough engineered a series of shoddy tricks that will haunt his career forever.
There is strong evidence he and others within the senior ranks of the Liberal Party concoted the unsavoury Ashbygate affair. An affair that was ultimately exposed as fraudulent by Independent Australia. To confirm this, Brough was the subject of a scathing judgement of the Federal Court in which he was declared a conspirator seeking to bring down Peter Slipper and the Government.
It left in its wake embarrassment and wreckage for the LNP and exposed the Murdoch papers to ridicule, which has never been corrected.
While the Sunshine Coast and Fisher have boomed over the past 40 years, creating their own growth in the areas of tourism and commercial progress, the electorate has had little support from either Commonwealth or Queensland governments.
Bill Gissane says that Kevin Rudd and he will work together to lift Fisher, with its lush hinterland farming communities, its tourist attractions and its beautiful coastline, into a new era that will make it an important Australian asset.
The townships dotted along the rail link through the centre of Fisher – that unite Brisbane and the southern states with far north Queensland – all desperately need development and re-modelling as the populations continue to outgrow present facilities. The rail lines themselves cannot meet the existing traffic.
There are growing demands on roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, while the LNP stuffs its own pockets and those of its cronies with money that rightly belongs to the working people and the voters.
Bill Gissane graduated from the University of Wollongong as a Bachelor of Metallurgy. He worked his way up the managerial ranks of BHP Steel over the course of nearly 20 years. He then made himself available as a consultant for CSR Timber Products division, reorganising the company’s production lines.
His specialised fields of activity include work safety and health, environment, productivity and logistics. As general manager of three other major companies, he succeeded in turning them around around, devising new developments to bring them back into profitability.
Working for CSR Timber, one of his productivity solutions came from consideration of waste. He devised a use for sawdust, mixing it with chicken manure and converting it into pellets. Best known in the market as "Dynamic Lifter", although other brands offer variations of the product, it has become one of the most popular and easiest to use fertilisers.
He became a partner in the Australian-owned Enterprise Development Network, working overseas in several countries, teaching people about irrigation systems, environmental techniques, work safety and health practices and leadership skills.
The EDN works internationally on various projects in sub-Saharan African countries, like Angola and Nigeria, as well as Russia and Siberia and in the United States.
Bill has brought his family to the Sunshine Coast, but an easy retirement is not in his nature. He is the kind of big-thinking operator who will certainly make a dynamic mark in Australian political life as well as in the nation’s increasing development.
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