Bravehearts founder joins the ‘bloodbath’Jason Oxenbridge
Child protection campaigner Hetty Johnston, who has the Queensland election race, says the two-party system has corrupted democracy in the state.
Child protection campaigner Hetty Johnston has called for more independents to run in the Queensland election to fix the state’s “broken” political system.
The Bravehearts founder said she hoped her decision to contest the Beenleigh-based seat of Macalister, south of Brisbane, on November 25 would encourage others to follow suit in all electorates.
Ms Johnston, the state leader of the Democrats in the 1990s, said she decided to run as an independent because the major parties weren’t standing up for people in places like Beenleigh.
“Be the voice of the people that elected you,” she urged on Wednesday.
“Get into the parliament, work on the things that you’re expert at.
“I want to get my bum on a seat and I want to start thumping the table until we’re doing everything possible to make sure we’re nurturing, protecting and prioritising the children of today, who are the Australians of tomorrow.”
The 2015 Queensland Australian of the Year said One Nation candidates were trying to convince voters they were different to Labor and the LNP but were just the same – puppets of their party.
“I think our political system is totally broken,” she said.
Ms Johnston said good quality candidates were not nominating for state parliament because it was a “bloodbath”.
“They’re throwing insults at each other across the chamber and we’re just sitting back thinking if our children behaved like that we’d be outraged, we just wouldn’t allow it,” she said.
“We just have to raise the bar a little bit, I hope I can bring some of that.”
Ms Johnston, who once ran for Logan City Council, said child protection failures under Labor and the former LNP government were a huge factor in her decision to run.
“I think they’ve both had a go at it (fixing things). But I don’t think they really get it,” she told AAP.
“The (child safety) minister Shannon Fentiman is just lovely. But she’s not an expert in child protection.”
Ms Johnston said although her No.1 priority was to protect Queensland children, it didn’t make her a one-issue candidate.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had great respect for Ms Johnston, who recently sat on an expert review panel of Queensland’s child protection systems.
It was established after several shocking cases that included the alleged murder of schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer and the death of toddler Mason Lee, who was known to child protection officers.
But Ms Palaszczuk wouldn’t be drawn on the prospect of working with Ms Johnston in parliament.
“Let’s be very clear here, I want my local candidate (Melissa McMahon) to be elected,” she said.
Macalister is notionally considered a safe Labor seat.
Ms Johnston will face off against Ms McMahon, the LNP’s Judi van Manen – wife of federal MP Bert van Manen – and the Greens’ Gabi Nehring.
The premier remained in far north Queensland on day four of the campaign on announcing a $134 million package to attract tourists to the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns.
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls travelled to the Sunshine Coast where he promised to commit $300 million to stage one of the duplication of the rail line between Beerburrum and Nambour.