Queensland Election Newsletter – Issue 2
13 January 2015:
In a quiet start to the Queensland election campaign, Premier Campbell Newman and Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk released very few policy initiatives and held back their heavy fire, sparing many voters who are still enjoying their summer holiday.
Behind the scenes, both political parties scrambled to finalise their election plans and endorse candidates for key seats, with Labor suffering a blow when Deputy Leader Tim Mulherin announced his surprise retirement due to ill health on day 4 of the campaign.
The LNP spent much of its first week reminding voters of the work it had done over the past 3 years, emphasising controversial bikie legislation, economic growth and reforms to Queensland Health. The Government also went on the attack, warning Queenslanders against voting for minor parties, such as Katter’s’ Australia Party and the Palmer United Party, to avoid a hung Parliament.
Releasing its first new policy initiative on day 6 of the campaign, the LNP announced a re-elected Newman Government will create more than 209,000 jobs through its Jobs of Tomorrow plan to ensure the next generation of Queenslanders kick-start their careers through access to high quality training.
Campaigning in his electorate on Sunday, Campbell Newman released his Strong Plan for Ashgrove, firing his first salvo in a bid to retain the marginal inner-city electorate.
Labor began the campaign focussing on youth unemployment and released its first policy, Skilling Queensland, which re-establishes a Bligh Government jobseeker program scrapped by the LNP that targets young people, mature-aged jobseekers and long-term unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Campaigning in the key battleground of Townsville, Annastacia Palaszczuk released Labor’s first health policy, the Nursing Guarantee, that promises 400 additional nursing positions that will assist patients navigate from their referring GP through hospital-base care and back home again.
The Opposition’s final campaign announcement for the week saw Labor pledge a significant cut to the size of Cabinet from 19 to 14 ministers, and the number of assistant ministers from 12 to 1, in savings estimated at $27 million each parliamentary term – funds will be directed toward frontline services.
With the electoral rolls now closed – and candidate nominations closing today – it is anticipated that the campaign will heat up this week. Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten will enter the fray and is expected to be a regular visitor during the campaign in a bid to link the Newman Government with some of the unpopular aspects of the Abbott Government. The LNP is also expected to announce some big ticket promises that will be funded by the proceeds of its Strong Choices plan, its program to lease some government-owned assets.