CLOCKWISE: Scott Driscoll, Justin Bieber and a graffiti session on the walls of the QT hotel in Surfers Paradise, bikies, live exports, and Galilee Basin.
CLOCKWISE: Scott Driscoll, Justin Bieber and a graffiti session on the walls of the QT hotel in Surfers Paradise, bikies, live exports, and Galilee Basin.

Queensland and 2013 in review

AUSTRALIA Zoo handler Dave Styles is attacked, Queensland drought, Clive Palmer, Cyclone Oswald hits Bundaberg and Daniel Morcombe.


IN NOVEMBER Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie took a strong stance against criminal motorcycle gangs in Queensland, saying enough was enough.

Mr Bleijie got a host of new laws through parliament to deal with the illegal activities of criminal bikies including increased penalties, enhanced powers for the Crime and Misconduct Commission and stricter bail laws.

Scott Driscoll

DISGRACED MP Scott Driscoll resigned from his seat of Redcliffe, going before he was pushed out, shortly before a parliamentary ethics committee recommended he be expelled and fined $90,000 for contempt.

Mr Driscoll infamously misled parliament about his financial interests, lying about money he earned while serving on the boards of a number of companies.

In all, he had allegedly extracted more than $500,000 in undeclared funds, much of that from community organisations doing invaluable work and he found little sympathy from his colleagues in parliament when he faced them for the final time in November with his lawyer making a plea for compassion.

Justin Bieber

THE teen star seems to attract attention more for his audacious behaviour than his music these days and his visit here this year threw up more of the same.

Bieber, staying on the Gold Coast after a concert in Brisbane, found himself in hot water with the city's mayor after a graffiti session on the walls of the QT hotel in Surfers Paradise. The hotel was delighted with the artwork.

Cyclone Oswald - Drought

IT IS difficult to comprehend how a state that was inundated with the big wet in the first part of the year is now 62% drought declared.

There has been very little rain of note since then and pasture conditions are at their lowest with surface water supplies almost non-existent.

The best cattle have long been sold with farmers in some areas now forced to offload droughted stock at a pittance.

Federal Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce has announced an extra $20 million, bringing the total to $50m for concessional loans this year, but that is merely a band aid measure.

Galilee Basin

THE abundance of coal sitting beneath the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton is the single most

contentious issue for Queensland's mining industry, even overtaking the much-maligned spread of coal seam gas.

Proposals for at least seven major coal mines, two of which already have approval, would be capable of producing more coal than the entirety of the state's current industry. They are being fought in court, in townships and, in one case, even in their boardrooms.

They would be linked to the Central Queensland Port of Abbot Point, on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, where the terminal will need a significant expansion.

Battle lines have been drawn by environmental groups who spent the year trying to derail the billions of dollars in projects by fighting enormous companies including GVK Hancock - a powerful partnership with magnate Gina Rinehart and Indian powerhouse GVK.

Live export

IN 2013, farmers quietly passed the two-year anniversary of the snap-ban on live cattle exports which continued to haunt their industry and their livelihoods.

It came at a time of intense drought, forcing many graziers to watch their cattle starve to death because Indonesia had not only reduced its hunger for Australian cattle, the local livestock had grown too large to export.

Farmers refused to forgive the now-vanquished Labor Government federally, venting their anger at a crisis summit in mid-2013.

Palmer United Party

SELF-proclaimed billionaire Clive Palmer showed at the federal election that money talks with his newly-formed Palmer United Party, winning 5.5% of the first preference vote and becoming Australia's fourth largest party.

Apart from winning the seat of Fairfax (albeit after a lengthy recount process), Palmer's candidates won three seats in the Senate and a deal struck with Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party will see them hold the balance of power come July.

Palmer spoke strongly before the election about being in favour of free tertiary education, about boosting spending on health and about doing away with political lobbyists but the party itself has no real policies as such and is pretty thin on the ground.

Daniel Morcombe

DECEMBER marks 10 years since Sunshine Coast teenager Daniel Morcombe went missing while waiting for a bus to go Christmas shopping for his family.

Brett Peter Cowan, who is accused of abducting him from the roadside and dumping his body in bushland at Glass House Mountains, will face trial in February.

Daniel's parents Bruce and Denise were awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the Queen's Birthday honours list for their tireless work in child safety. They completed a 66-day tour around Australia, lobbying every state and territory to adopt the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum used in Queensland.

Tiger attack

AUSTRALIA Zoo handler Dave Styles, 33, was bitten on the neck and shoulder when a tiger dragged him into a pool during a public show.

It is alleged that the tiger may have mistaken his handler for one of his favourite toys because he was wearing a blue poncho-like top and bags over his hands instead of his usual khaki clothing.

Mr Styles was also wearing a GoPro camera strapped to his head, reportedly to familiarise the big cat with the device, which would be used as part of a six-month BBC filming project.

Zoo director Wes Mannion said Charlie, the eight-year-old Sumatran tiger, would not be removed because the mauling was an accident and the animal had no intention of hurting his handler.