With the coronavirus contained and lockdowns being eased in Australia attention is turning to the next state election in Queensland on October 31st where Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is seeking a third term against the LNP Opposition led by Deb Frecklington. On this week’s WilmsFront Qldpol expert Graham Young breaks down for us the policy issues and party politics that will shape this coming election.
Graham is the founder and publisher of Online Opinion independent e-journal of Australian political and social debate. He is also the executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, a Brisbane based free Market think tank.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has had the lowest rise in approval ratings for any Premier during the pandemic. Some of the restrictions she has introduced continue to be in place such as the New South Wales-Queensland, the no-jab no-play policy for professional athletes in the state, plus her slowness in releasing the regions from lockdown could bite her on election day.
The Palaszczuk Government since its election in 2015 reversed the public sector cuts under the last LNP Government under Campbell Newman. Other than growing the size of the public service it is largely do-nothing government, the state debt has increased and needs of rural and regional Queensland fall by the wayside.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad recently stood aside pending a state Crime and Corruption Commission investigation. Trad is a powerful factional figure from the left of the Labor Party, she holds the inner-city seat of South Brisbane. Her influence was considered so toxic in the Palaszczuk Government and that two local trade union leaders pushed for her removal.
Liberal National Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has built up a significant media profile but is still not cutting through with voters. Graham believes that the state LNP needs to better fight on culture war issues relevant to working-class people in the Brisbane city area and have a coherent campaign message and vision for the state.
Despite the LNP’s success at winning federal seats in Brisbane and controlling the city of Brisbane council at a state level it only holds four seats in Brisbane. Outside of the Gold and Sunshine Coast in Central and North Queensland they have to compete with the Katter Party and One Nation. The growing North-South divide in the state has seen a renewed push for a North Queensland state.