Bravehearts founder joins Qld poll raceJason Oxenbridge
Child protection campaigner Hetty Johnston, who’s running as an independent in the Queensland election, says the two-party system has corrupted democracy in the state.
And she’s warned One Nation is no solution, saying its candidates, like those running for Labor and the LNP, are puppets of their parties.
Ms Johnston, a former Queensland Australian of the Year and founder of child protection group Bravehearts, will contest the new Beenleigh-centred seat of Macalister at the November 25 poll.
“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,” she has told AAP.
Ms Johnston says her number one priority is Queensland children, but that doesn’t make her a one-issue candidate.
“There isn’t anything that doesn’t concern children and their futures, whether it’s Adani or fracking, it doesn’t matter what it is.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had great respect for Ms Johnston, who recently served on a expert panel that examined Queensland’s child protection systems.
The panel was set up after a number of shocking cases, including the murder of schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer, allegedly by her foster father, and the horrific death of toddler Mason Lee, who was known to child protection officers.
But the premier wouldn’t be drawn on the prospect of working with Ms Johnston in parliament if she won the seat.
“I am not even going to counter that because let’s be very clear here, I want my local candidate to be elected,” told reporters in Cairns on Wednesday.
Ms Johnston 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 said.
“The (child safety) minister Shannon Fentiman is just lovely. But she’s not an expert in child protection.”
She said that was also true for other ministers.
“Imagine if we could have people in these portfolios that actually knew what they were talking about.”
Ms Johnston believes her independence will get her over the line.
“I’m going to win this because I’m not a political party whose allegiances lie with their donors, or the unions, or big corporate entitles or whoever is paying the bills, and that includes One Nation.”
Macalister is one of four new electorates and is notionally considered to be a safe Labor seat.
Ms Johnson will face off against Labor’s Melissa McMahon, the LNP’s Judi van Manen – wife of federal Liberal MP Bert van Manen – and Gabi Nehring for the Greens. One Nation is yet to endorse a candidate for the seat.
She railed against Mrs van Manen’s candidacy. saying it was time to do away with political dynasties.
“I feel like we’re living in the Kardashian zone a little bit here. That, to me, speaks to everything we don’t like about politics. But I’m sure she’s a lovely lady.”
© AAP 2017