Tag: Patrick Condren
From Barty’s ‘incredible year’ to fire catastrophes: Look back at the moments that defined Queensland in 2019
In Queensland, it was a year of extremes.
We were battered and bruised by the weather both physically and emotionally, fluctuating between flood, fire and drought.
We also celebrated some successes, our sportswomen in particular blazing a path to glory.
Look back at the 10 most memorable moments of the year, or maybe some we would rather forget:
1. State of emergency
We started the year with catastrophic flooding.
Townsville went under and there was carnage in the north-west as half a million cattle died in the deluge.
Then we lurched head-long into devastating drought.
Towns like Stanthorpe and Miriam Vale are on the brink of running out of drinking water, crops are failing and dairy farmers are walking off the land.
If that wasn’t enough, fires ripped through the parched brown land.
Communities were constantly on-edge.
Cities were shrouded in smoke.
Houses burnt, but many more were saved thanks to our incredible firies.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the year had been “full, fascinating and formidable”.
“Queensland’s climate at its kindest makes us the envy of the nation; at its cruellest, it can drive us to our knees,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It is hard to say what is worse: the terrifying devastation of fire, the overwhelming catastrophe of flood, or the unremitting heartbreak of drought, but all have affected our people and our state this year.”
2. Mass protests
The fires stoked calls for urgent action on climate change, with protesters growing bolder in their tactics to cause mass disruption.
Students demonstrated too, skipping class in their tens of thousands and scoffing at the pollies who suggested they’d be better off in school.
Adani has long been at the centre of protests, but regional Queensland towns this year celebrated news that the mega-mine had received its final environmental approvals.
The controversial coal mine played a major role in the Federal Election.
With Queensland’s growing unemployment rate, the coalmine offered work for hundreds.
As political reporter Allyson Horn wrote, “Labor was too weak on either side of the Adani-climate change equation [and] in its attempts to appease everyone, it failed to appeal to anyone”.
4. Political scandals
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s investment home in Woolloongabba caused a lingering integrity headache for the Government.
Former Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale got two years in jail for extortion.
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan was expelled from the LNP over allegations involving a woman.
He branded the claims “utter crap”.
Then there was One Nation’s Steve Dickson’s sleazy, handsy visit to a Washington strip club.
He quit as a Senate candidate.
And Deb Frecklington finished off the year by accusing the Premier of being a “princess”.
5. Political gambles
Just six months out from the local government elections, Labor dumped its candidate for Brisbane lord mayor in favour of brash former journo Patrick Condren.
We will know whether the gamble pays off come the March 2020 poll.
6. Speaking of elections…
The Coalition romped back into office in the May federal election.
Its biggest wins were in Queensland.
7. Sporting success
Queensland women really brought it home this year.
Tennis player Ash Barty had an absolute blinder.
World number one, French Open champion, winner of the Don award.
Humble in her success, she’s earned the respect and adoration of legions of young fans.
While in cricket, the Brisbane Heat secured back-to-back Women’s Big Bash League titles.
Barty said 2019 was “incredible” for her both professionally and personally.
“I am so proud of my team and I for what we achieved, it was rewarding to see our hard work paying off. Personally I had a great year too and feel lucky to have my wonderful family and friends around me,” she told the ABC.
Not only did she win the French Open but she gained another little niece, which she said was “very cool”.
But she said it was tough to watch the state struggle with countless environmental challenges from afar.
“Sadly, the devastation caused by the bushfires across Australia has been enormous,” she said.
“I feel for all of the people who have lost a loved one, their home or property and the poor animals who have been so badly affected.”
For 2020, she has just one wish:
“That the people of Queensland stay safe. The fires have been so awful this year, I hope that 2020 is kinder to our state and the rest of Australia.”
8. NZ volcano disaster
We were shocked and saddened by the deaths of Brisbane mum and daughter Julie and Jessica Richards in the White Island eruption.
9. Kids in watch houses
The ABC’s Four Corners program revealed kids as young as 10 were being kept in adult watch houses in Queensland.
10. Quirky Queensland
It wouldn’t be the Sunshine State without a croc or a snake story.
And the python peppered with 500 ticks was our most clicked-on in 2019.
Happy new year, from the ABC News Queensland team.