Letters to the editor

WIRES CROSSED: Cartoonist Bret Currie thinks Ergon may not quite have got the hang of this newfangled solar thingummy.
WIRES CROSSED: Cartoonist Bret Currie thinks Ergon may not quite have got the hang of this newfangled solar thingummy.

Vale Noeline Ikin

North Queensland has lost one of its favourite daughters, with the tragic news that Noeline Ikin’s battle with cancer has come to an end, after what can only be described as a typically valiant effort to fight-off what proved to the biggest challenge of her life.

Noeline Ikin was a dedicated servant of the people and communities of North Queensland.  She was a former Ethridge Shire Councillor, long serving CEO of Northern Gulf NRM and a passionate advocate for northern issues and industries.

This is a truly devastating loss.  Cancer is an insidious and cruel disease.  Since being diagnosed with a brain tumour in late 2015, Noeline has continued to demonstrate the inspiring optimism and fighting spirit she had become renowned for in her public life. 

I came to know and respect Noeline in 2012 when she became the LNP candidate for Kennedy ahead of the 2013 federal election.  We all remember her positive, energetic campaign that saw her win the popular vote, but lose very narrowly on preferences.

Noeline accepted the result with grace and good humour.  During that campaign, she endeared herself to many people and communities across North Queensland.  How very different things could have been in Kennedy if Noeline’s honesty, humility and tenacity had the chance to go to the Federal Parliament, as our chosen representative.           

Noeline was a wonderful, generous and genuine friend.  Our sadness will be deep and enduring.  May god bless you Noeline.  You won’t be forgotten and you will be missed. 

Andrew Cripps MP

Member for Hinchinbrook         

We are all poorer for the omnibus bill debate

So here we are again, with politicians bouncing the issue of better support for people with a disability around the floor of Parliament House like the proverbial football. Unfortunately all that’s being achieved is a massive own-goal.

At what point did it seem like a good idea to pit welfare and families against the National Disability Insurance Scheme? For starters, it’s not even a logical argument when the Productivity Commission found that the NDIS would be MORE cost effective than the status quo.

So, having dispensed with the notion that there was a cheaper alternative, the only thing that can be called into question is that of ‘need’. Do our politicians believe that people with a disability need and deserve more and better than they’ve historically received, or don’t they?

People across this country have suffered immeasurably as a result of a devastatingly underfunded disability sector. And now, implicitly, they’re being asked to apologise for getting what they need, to the detriment of their fellow citizens.

I can only imagine what it must feel like for someone who has been waiting desperately for support, as they watch this debacle play out in Parliament and across media. From finally being told that you had a right to a fulfilling life – that you are a valued member of your community and part of this country’s fabric – to having your desperation publicly weighed and measured against that of some of the poorest members of our community. All our leaders have succeeded in doing is creating and debating a humiliating hierarchy of need.

There was never any question that the introduction of the NDIS would be a steep learning curve, and an expensive one at that, but giving with one hand while taking away with the other is downright cruelty. This is a turbulent time – people who have been struggling are desperate to ensure that this opportunity does not slip through their fingers, and those currently reliant on support are terrified of losing what they fought long and hard to secure. Why add to their stress? Why make them winners or losers in an unnecessary political showpiece?

Andrew Donne, Endeavour Foundation Chief Executive