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Reasons to be fearful as parties turn sights on ghosts of Christmas past

Decision 2020

According to the Liberal National Party, voters should fear Jackie Trad returning to Cabinet. Labor says the potential for a return of the Newman government is more concerning.

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Labor started rolling out the attack ads almost as soon as the unofficial campaign began, warning that Deb Frecklington was part of the Newman Government that cut jobs and services. It was presented as a point of contrast with the Palaszczuk government, which was prepared to borrow big to stimulate the economy and put “budget repair” on hold.

The ads contributed to Frecklington’s slow start, as she sought to again distinguish her own leadership and approach. Former premier Campbell Newman, for one, was disappointed: “It’s like Harry Potter and Voldemort … he whose name shall not be mentioned”.

When Frecklington struggled to answer questions about how the LNP would pay for its promises, the attack ads intensified. The Labor apparatchiks on social media distributed an edited clip from The Simpsons portraying Frecklington as a coach sacking frontline players. A more pointed, and disingenuous, social media post declared “the LNP has committed to cutting 6366 nurses in Queensland”. Treasurer Cameron Dick has been on the attack every day.

The LNP, meanwhile, has sought to play up Queensland’s high unemployment rate, even before the pandemic, and the economic mismanagement that culminated in the Palaszczuk government being unable to deliver a budget. It has largely avoided the issue of Labor putting the state further into debt, and would-be treasurer Tim Mander seems content to leave LNP policy costings until the last week of the campaign.

More than a year after the LNP erected billboards attacking “dodgy Jackie” – who later resigned as Deputy Premier and Treasurer after bruising Crime and Corruption Commission investigations – the LNP has put the spotlight back on Trad again (some billboards have remained up).

Trad this week ruled out seeking a return to Cabinet if she and Labor were re-elected, and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the same. But the LNP still resorted to memes declaring “the only plan Labor has for Queensland is to reinstall Dodgy Jackie in the Cabinet”.

Rather than take on the LNP head-on, Trad has complained of social media attacks from the Greens in her seat of South Brisbane, where the minor party has a chance of unseating her.

“At the end of the day, I’ll keep working hard for South Brisbane, standing up for women and delivering for our community,” Trad posted on Facebook.

“I always have and I always will.”

The lack of any new cases of COVID-19, combined with Frecklington backing the health advice on border restrictions, has almost muted the attack ads over the pandemic.

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