A funny thing happened during this election. The parallels between Annastacia Palaszczuk and Donald Trump have built up.
Exhibit A is the Premier built a wall. Sure it was a sad-looking barricade along the Tweed – made up of red and white water-filled blocks – but the Premier has campaigned on an “I built a wall” strategy. Labor’s main policy offering has been we shut the borders.
Exhibit B was the debate this week. The Premier adopted the aggressive, interrupting tone that Trump demonstrated in the first of the presidential debates.
In contrast, Deb Frecklington presented a positive, upbeat and visionary platform for Queensland. The LNP has plans to four-lane the Bruce Highway, build dams, remove red tape from farmers and approve jobs in mining. This is exactly what we need to create jobs post the coronavirus. Queensland has a higher unemployment rate than locked-down Victoria.
The Labor Party has adopted a “rearview mirror” campaign. Labor’s whole campaign has centred around what they have done during the coronavirus. But the decision facing Queenslanders is about the next four years not the last four months.
Like most rearview mirrors, Labor’s does not look too far back. You do not hear Labor talking much about their record before the coronavirus. They don’t mention that Queensland’s unemployment is higher than it has been in two decades.
Labor doesn’t mention how after nearly 5000 days of consideration they still haven’t made a decision on the New Acland Mine, leaving the future of 500 miners and their families in the air.
Labor doesn’t mention how they botched the construction of the Paradise Dam and have had to reduce its size to less than half its original capacity.
Labor doesn’t mention that they failed to meet their own targets for back burning four years in a row. This failure contributed to the severity of bushfires throughout Queensland over the last two years.
Labor doesn’t mention how they shut Queensland’s last agricultural colleges limiting our ability to develop the skills to build future farming opportunities.
Labor doesn’t mention the more than 100 people who lost their jobs at the Gladstone aluminium smelter following rapid rises in electricity prices.
Elections are always mainly a referendum on the record of the incumbent government. Labor is desperately trying to hoodwink us into believing that they have been in government only since the coronavirus arrived.
The Premier’s aggressive attitude during the debate has shown that this approach is under strain. People are seeing through the skinny platform and policies that Labor has offered. Their cupboard is too bare given the issues we face in recovering and people are working that out.
Deb Frecklington has campaigned well, backed by bold policies and positive plans. Regional Queensland has felt ignored by the Labor Government and while the baseball bats are not out, there seems a quiet resolve to reject the Brisbane-centric approach of the last few years.
The LNP are underdogs to win but they can pull this off if regional Queensland revolts and the Labor Party fails to offset losses in the southeast corner.
There is one difference between the Premier and the President, who both face elections over the next week. Unlike the President, the Premier remains the favourite to win but this election is much closer than many thought it would be.
Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan and federal Shadow Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers have been writing weekly columns for InQueensland during the state election campaignJump to next article