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Thanks for coming: How Morrison's presence has helped keep LNP campaign on track

Campaign Diary

Scott Morrison has finished his extended campaigning and budget-selling stint in Queensland and he won’t be back again before election day.

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To assess his contribution to Deb Frecklington’s quest to unseat Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her two-term Labor Government it’s worth asking one key question.

How would Frecklington’s week have gone without Morrison spending six days travelling and appearing with the LNP leader? The simple answer is: nowhere near as well.

Frecklington’s week had two major events – a positive announcement for a $300 vehicle registration handout and the big negative issue of donations and developers.

Morrison’s presence did three key things for Frecklington – he added his popularity glow to her appearances, gave a reassuring voice to the economic pitch of the LNP and provided limited cover for the fundraising story.

The Prime Minister remains very popular in Queensland and his ratings on handling the COVID-19 pandemic and economic management are strong and enduring. Any proximity benefit for Frecklington will help give interested but perhaps doubtful LNP-leaning voters a second thought.

In those seats where the margins are tight and the contest is willing – especially outside the southeast of the state – this could make the difference between holding and losing LNP seats and pinching some from the ALP.

Wherever he went, Morrison rang the rhetorical bell for “Deb’s plan” for an economic recovery from the pandemic recession without even trying to go into detail or discussing the aspects of the LNP policies.

Just saying Frecklington has a plan will add much-needed impact for an economic policy that has so far lacked any real political punch.

At the same time, Morrison talking about what his government is doing and selling what’s been a well-received budget meant there was less media oxygen for that difficult fundraising story.

Political campaigning is never wrinkle-free but Morrison can get back behind his desk in Sydney confident he has done at least as much as was asked of him. If Frecklington gets close or even pulls off one of those miracle victories, she can look back on the PM’s visit and mark it up as a net positive.

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