Queensland Election Newsletter – Issue 5

30 January 2015

With less than 24 hours left to go, babies across Queensland can breathe a sigh of relief as the threat of being cuddled by a politician eases. Speculation over the likely leadership of the LNP should Premier Campbell Newman lose his seat, and Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s grasp of economics, have been the points of focus in the final days ahead of Saturday’s general election of the 89 members of the Legislative Assembly.

Leadership of an LNP Government made a resurgence this week, with yet another ReachTEL poll in the Premier’s seat of Ashgrove showing Newman behind ALP challenger, Kate Jones.  According to the poll, Newman’s support has slipped from 43.7 per cent to 42.3 per cent over the past two weeks of the election. Although Jones’ support has at the same time dropped, from 47.6 per cent to 46.5 per cent, with the benefit of Greens preferences, she has extended her lead over the Premier in the 2PP vote and is now ahead 54 per cent to 46 per cent.  Newman and his LNP colleagues have consistently sought to neutralise the issue and debate about his possible successor, stridently repeating that they believe either the Premier will win his seat and the Government will be returned or that Newman will lose his seat and the LNP will lose the State.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s charm offensive across Queensland continued this week, with the one perceived hiccup being her inability to provide the rate of GST in a radio interview.  While wooing voters, she has made few big ticket policy announcements and spending commitments have continued to be modest in stark contrast to the LNP.

In terms of policy, the key differentiator between the major parties at this election remains assets sales.  On the LNP side, the proposed sale of assets has created a sizable war chest for the Government from which infrastructure and other commitments will be met.  Premier Newman has used this to announce a raft of new spending commitments in the final week while at the same time, keeping to its messages around paying down debt.

Perhaps to underline the Party’s economic management prowess, while unveiling election costings, Treasurer Tim Nicholls announced he had found an additional $1.3 billion for funding its commitments; for Labor, the decision to oppose privatisation has curtailed spending commitments.  Campaign commitments from the LNP now total $6.049 billion, while the ALP has only committed to $1.274 billion in spending.

Perhaps one of the greatest surprises of the campaign was the Premier’s accusation that criminal bikie gangs were funding the ALP campaign and that these funds were being funneled via the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).  Sources from both sides of politics have indicated these statements first made at a Town Hall-style leaders debate a week ago have been detrimental to the LNP’s statewide vote and in particular, the Premier’s prospects of being elected in Ashgrove.

The Queensland electorate is clearly wary and weary of politicians making unsubstantiated claims in relation to issues of probity.  At the 2012 poll, then Premier Bligh’s comments on these issues saw the ALP’s vote crash over the final ten days of the campaign.  While the outcome is unlikely to be as extreme, there are parallels to this year’s election.

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