There is rarely a single thing that turns an election; infrequently one defining insight into our leaders. Campaigns are won on the accumulation of effort and perceptions building towards the decision voters make in a cramped cardboard booth holding a little stubby pencil.
But there are exceptions and we saw one in the past week.
While Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk officially fired the starting gun on Tuesday, a decision by Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington on Monday has in many ways set the tone for this campaign and given Queenslanders a real insight into her lack of judgment and what she’s prepared to put at risk.
Frecklington’s decision to preference anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, and others above Labor risks undermining our state’s hard-won successes on the health front, derailing our economic recovery and taking Queensland back to the cuts and chaos that defined the last LNP government under Campbell Newman.
It’s no idle threat.
Looking at recent past results, we are told there are at least nine Labor-held electorates where redirected LNP preferences could have enabled minor party candidates from One Nation or Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party get up over the sitting Labor member.
It’s no idle risk either.
If Deb Frecklington brings down this stable, majority Labor Government it will be the end of a government that has quietly restored our public services, created thousands of new jobs, upgraded our schools and hospitals, invested in cheaper and cleaner power all designed to set Queensland up for the future.
Preference decisions and how to vote cards might seem arcane political talk but these decisions matter for Queenslanders, none more so than people in my community of Logan.
We all remember painfully the cuts inflicted by Campbell Newman; sacked teachers and teaching assistants, sacked nurses, the cuts to our public services.
Deb Frecklington was one of Campbell Newman’s key lieutenants and she’s proud of what they inflicted together on our state and its people.
But it was the wrong approach with the wrong priorities for Queensland then, and in this recession and in this pandemic it’s only more wrong now.
So all of this begs the question, when the stakes are so high, what would draw the LNP so low?
It’s this question that has shone a light on the kind of premier Deb Frecklington could be and the coalition of cuts and chaos that she’d bring to parliament.
Queensland has come too far since Wayne Goss set a new tone for our state, and done too well under Premier Palaszczuk during this pandemic now, to risk this kind of divisive power play.
Dr Jim Chalmers is federal Shadow Treasurer and Labor Member for the seat of Rankin. He and LNP Senator Matt Canavan will be writing weekly columns for InQueensland during the state election campaignJump to next article