Saturday, November 19, 2016


As the old saying goes, where  there  is smoke , there is  fire. In  the case of  Cathy O'Toole  ( ALP )  who  won the  House  of   Representatives  seat of   Herbert  the  official  opening of   her  electorate office in  Townsville  , North Queensland , gave  the  impression  the  building was  on  fire .  This was  due  to  the   Indigenous   smoking  ceremony  performed on the  premises  which  involved  thick   clouds  of  smoke , chanting   and   speeches .

A   party supporter, just back from the  happy  Himalayan   kingdom of  Bhutan , quipped   that  the smoking  ceremony , acting  like  an exorcism , guaranteed  the non return  of  an  LNP  member  on  the  premises , referring to the ousted  Ewen Jones .
For  this   jest, he deserved a  slice or two of  O'Toole's  special cake , below, thanking her  electorate ,  which included   iced in  panels depicting  her  activities on  the campaign trail which saw  her not only win  the  seat   for  the  ALP after 20 years  but  smash  the  glass  ceiling  in  the  process.
Since moving in , Ms O'Toole  has  set a  cracking  pace. In  Brisbane , at the  state  ALP  conference , she  impressed    the  gathering  with   her  straight  talking , no nonsense   comments  in  moving   that there  be a North Queensland  Senate seat.  She  colourfully informed the  conference that  residents  in the  North  were  fed up  with what are referred  to as  "Cockatoo visits "  from  politicians , where  they  fly in ,  do what Cockatoos  do naturally all over the place ,  and  then  fly  out . When captured on TV   explaining   exactly what Cockatoos  do all over the place, she laughed and  said   she normally did not swear  in  public .  

Three  people at the conference received a standing ovation- federal Leader of  the Opposition ,  Bill  Shorten , Queensland Premier , Annastacia  Palaszuk , and Cathy O'Toole. On top of this , the Townsville Bulletin named her the  11th most influential  person  in  town  in  a list of  50, Cowboys rugby league co-captain Johnathan Thurston  numero  uno.

In Canberra  she has been  appointed  to  important   Caucus Committees  dealing with  North Australia .  Wasting  no  time  in Canberra, she  called on the  Singapore  High  Commissioner  for  a one on one  discussion  about the  Singapore  Government's  $2billion  military  plans  for  Queensland ,one billion of which  will be  spent in  the Townsville area ,   and  was well received , discussing  various  aspects  of   the   proposal .
In a recent  report  to  an ALP  branch  in Townsville ,  O'Toole   impressed with  a  summary of  issues   covering  the electorate and her observations of the Turnbull  government   in Canberra.   Because  of  her  personal experience    running  mental health organisations , one which operated across north and west  Queensland , from Palm Island  to Mount Isa , with head office in Townsville ,  she is well aware of  the many  pressing  social and economic  issues in  regional communities and   problems  confronting   ADF veterans and  other members of  the   community , the   ice  scourge   as  well . 

Much of this  colour  and  insight into the  history making  Member for Herbert  seems  to  have escaped  the  local  media .  As  far as is known , no member  of  the Townsville  press gang  has  ventured  inside  her  smoked  office, had a  slice of  cake ,  and looked at  her  etchings . An unkempt  member of  the   Little  Darwin  staff  has  been  inside the  office   and   was   bowled over  by  what  he  saw and heard .  UPCOMING : The  interesting  O'Toole  art collection  which   captures  and  represents  the  North and the  national art treasures which will  grace  her  Canberra   office.