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Matt Canavan: Trivial pursuits are no substitute for solutions

Party Lines

Deb Frecklington and the LNP have been effective in cutting through Labor’s showmanship to focus people’s attention on real solutions to Queensland’s problems, writes Matt Canavan

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I am really glad that there was no social media when I was on Schoolies. Some nights I can’t remember, let alone remember what I said. I think much of it would have been embarrassing and more so if it could be played back today on some social media channel.

There are only 26 days during this Queensland election campaign, and a day this week was devoted to some silly comments that an LNP volunteer made while on Schoolies last year. Some in the media seem to believe that this person should serve a life sentence for comments made when he was 17!

Another day was lost in a kerfuffle about signs held by Labor supporters that said “Put LNP Last”, which was at odds with Labor’s decision to put One Nation last on their how to vote cards.

Queensland has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, the largest debt of any state government and has escalating crime in regional centres. Yet we waste days talking about trivia rather than tackling real issues.

The focus on trivia is a reason people are so disillusioned with politics. Much of what passes for political commentary does not offer practical solutions to people’s real problems.

I have spent hours on polling stations this week and no voters have raised with me an LNP volunteer’s comments or the various signs held up by parties. I have heard from real people concerned about energy, jobs, crime, hospitals, infrastructure, abortion and other issues.

These conversations rekindle my passion for politics because it is in tackling these real problems that we make a difference in people’s lives.

I will give it to the Labor party. They are good at the show of politics. They launched their campaign in a Beenleigh shed in front of workers in fluoro colours, while failing to guarantee 500 hi-vis jobs at the New Acland mine.

Labor ministers religiously hold up their flashy “coronavirus” recovery plan, clasping the document like a shield protecting themselves against their flimsy jobs record. The Palaszczuk Government has presided over the highest unemployment rate for 20 years.  The LNP’s challenge is to cut through the trivia and the showmanship of Labor to focus people’s attention on real solutions to Queensland’s problems. Deb Frecklington achieved that this week with a bold plan to implement a curfew for children 17 and younger in Cairns and Townsville.

I picked my 15-year-old son up from work the day that it was announced, and he was not too happy with it, even though Rockhampton is not affected. I can understand that sentiment but we can’t continue the status quo. We have to tackle crime and the evidence shows to do that we have to crack down on even small infringements to do so.

The policy has finally highlighted a real issue. Labor is desperately trying to promise now that it would boost police resources. But police funding, as a share of government expenditure, has fallen under the Labor government. If spending on police had stayed at the same share it was under the Newman government, police would have $150 million more in funding this year.

The Labor government also changed bail laws so that judges have to make decisions “in favour of release” for alleged, young offenders.

We will not reduce youth crime until we tackle its underlying causes and impose penalties on those who commit crimes.

To tackle the underlying issues we need to create job opportunities for young people, especially in country towns where crime is out of control. It is all well and good to say nice things to a shed of hi-vis workers but it would be better to approve projects, provide them jobs and hope of a better future.

Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan and federal Shadow Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers will be writing weekly columns for InQueensland during the state election campaign

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