As the campaign enters its final days, but with a record number of votes already lodged, the election outcome is far from certain. Labor and the Liberal National Party are expected to be more active on the hustings, and in more marginal seats, in the hope it will swing any late votes.
Labor’s social media and advertising has pivoted again to promote Palaszczuk’s leadership and personal qualities, and the incumbent premier pointedly said today voters had to choose between her and Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington.
While that might point to the prospect of a leader having to form a minority government with another party, Palaszczuk has repeatedly ruled out doing any deals. That does not, however, rule out the possibility a minor party might side with Labor in such a scenario.
Asked specifically about a possible Labor alliance with the Greens, Palaszczuk responded: “I said no deals.”
The Greens, who may topple former deputy premier and South Brisbane MP Jackie Trad to secure a second seat in parliament, have previously delivered preferences to Labor and are more opposed to the LNP. At the other end of the political spectrum, Labor’s former ally the Katter’s Australian Party have, like the Greens, made a range of policy announcements that Labor would need to back to have their support in parliament.
“I’ve said very clearly no deals – Katters as well, there we go,” Palaszczuk said.
Palaszczuk said “this election is on a knife-edge” but she wanted the mandate that came with majority government. She said voters had to consider whether they wanted the next government to be led by “myself or Deb Frecklington”.
“What we know very clearly is that Deb Frecklington and the LNP are aligned with One Nation, they’re aligned with (Clive) Palmer, they’re aligned with the Katters and everyone else,” she said.
“It’s basically us against everyone else.
“Everyone has to think: do they want stability or do they want chaos?”
Palaszczuk followed Frecklington in making another election pitch in the Townsville region today, amid media reports that a KAP-commissioned poll showed 57 per cent of Townsville residents back a push for a separate north Queensland state.
Neither leader wanted Queensland to be split, instead promising to be the premier to once again unite the state and lead Queenslanders out of recession.
For her part, Palaszczuk promised a Labor government would forego up $50 million in revenue to cut irrigated water costs for farmers by up to 50 per cent.
The LNP has promised to build more dams, while both major parties are revisiting versions of the Bradfield Scheme.
Treasurer Cameron Dick has used the LNP’s Bradfield Scheme pledge, and also its long-term plan for the Bruce Highway, to warn of $26.5 billion in unfunded promises. However, Labor’s policy costings take a more conservative approach to its similar commitments,
Today, in detailing how most of Labor’s promises would come from $4 billion in previously announced borrowings, Dick suggested the LNP had also ruled out borrowing and therefore limited its options.
With the LNP setting a target of a surplus within the next four-year term – Labor expects four or five more years of deficits – Dick again said the only option for a Frecklington government to do everything was to cut the public service and government programs.
Dick said it was “entirely possible” debt levels would grow in coming years under Labor but it was prudent for the government to borrow while interest rates were low and the economy lagging. He said Labor was counting on economic growth to improve the budget bottom line, rather than ramping up its existing “efficiency dividend” and savings programs.
On Sunday, Palaszczuk continued to rail against critics of her strict state border policy. A decision on whether to ease restrictions on travellers from NSW will be made before the end of the week.
Palaszczuk called out “voices from the Deep South” who she said were prioritising their bank accounts over public health.
Griffith University political scientist Paul Williams said parochial language resonated in Queensland’s regions.
“Obviously people in Brisbane want to engage in cooperative federalism, rather than competitive federalism,” Williams told AAP.
“But in the regions there’s strong Queensland energies.”
Williams said the Premier’s verbal attacks on the Federal Government benefit her at the ballot box.
Dick today said he would still be able to negotiate with the Morrison government if Labor was re-elected and did not believe the LNP would have an advantage.
LNP treasury spokesman Tim Mander has attacked Labor over the latest Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland survey.
The survey of sentiment in the September quarter showed businesses were concerned about state and federal stimulus tapering off in the New Year.
One in four were experiencing improved conditions over the June quarter and one third noted an increase in sales and revenue.
But half of all businesses were experiencing a decline in profit margins and 99 per cent believed they could only survive for the next 12 months after stimulus measures end.
“Expectations for the December quarter indicate that the recent improvement will plateau well short of neutral readings,” the CCIQ report said.
“Therefore, the significance of the recovery experienced during the September quarter will be as good as it is going to get until time heals the economic wounds inflicted by COVID-19.”
The CCIQ recommended easing virus social distancing and patron limits to boost trading conditions.
Mander said the report was damning and continued a trend seen before the pandemic.
“Business confidence in Queensland is shot under Labor, but the LNP will rebuild it,” he said.
“The LNP will take direct action to secure the jobs of Queenslanders.”
All parties are running out of time to convince undecided voters before Saturday’s poll.
At last count, 560,000 people had gone to the polls and 880,000 had applied for postal votes.
Almost 44 per cent of Queensland’s 3.3 million voters are in the process of voting or have already cast their ballots.
About 38 per cent of voters in Townsville have case their ballots, along with 21 per cent in nearby Burdekin and 10 per cent in Thuringowa.
However, only 6.4 per cent have voted in the south Townsville seat of Mundingburra, which it one of the seats the LNP need to win to form government.
Queensland polling day is on Saturday.
-With AAPJump to next article