In Queensland politics we expect the bizarre as normal. Antony Green in a sober and comprehensive review of the Queensland election, tells us that there is nothing in the constitution that says ministers must be members of parliament. So Campbell Newman, who would lose his seat on a 5.7% swing, could theoretically retain the premiership if the LNP nevertheless won. Convention says otherwise, and I think we can count that possibility out. He could, however, retain the premiership for three months on a Commonwealth precedent while a safe seat is found.
I doubt that will happen either. The powers that be in the LNP don’t love him enough, there would be a shortage of volunteers to give up their seat, and I don’t think the electors would be impressed.
Green thinks a Labor victory, requiring a 12% uniform swing, is a bridge too far. There have been some individual seat polls with swings in that order, but I think the last statewide poll was Morgan which had the LNP on 50.5 TPP. It’s still close, and I think, quite clearly, the LNP is scared.
Scared enough to allege that the ALP is being funded by criminals and bikies. Palaszczuk fired a “put up or shut up” demand back at Newman, whose response is that it must be true because wherever he goes people tell him it’s true. Apparently it is so open that all these LNP acolytes in the community can see it happening. For Newman scuttlebutt is evidence and the onus is on Palaszczuk to prove it’s not.
A sign of the LNP’s twisted logic.
Meanwhile, bikies made a donation to the LNP, which was of course refunded.
‘Facts’ have been problematic in this campaign. Labor says health workers have been sacked, the LNP claims they have employed more. I understand that both are true. Initially there were sackings, including frontline staff. Then federal money became available, courtesy of Gillard/Swan, which enabled hiring. This money won’t continue under Abbott/Hockey.
Unemployment improved in the latest ABS figures from 6.9% to 6.1%, from memory. Labor continues to use the 6.9% figure. This telling graph shows the ABS pattern on full-time employment:
Roy Morgan tells us this:
Queensland real unemployment is now 12.7% (up 1.8% since October-November 2014) and under-employment is 10.3% (up 1%). This means total Queensland unemployment & under-employment is 23% (up 2.8%). (Interviewed November & December 2014).
That’s heading in the wrong direction and is worse by a considerable margin than any state except Tasmania.
Newman says the election is about the economy and jobs, Palaszczuk says it’s about asset sales, and the economy and jobs.
The astonishing magic pork barrel continues, something like $8.6 billion worth of it. Newman was heard to say that if electors voted the wrong way their electorate wouldn’t get any. It sounded like a threat.
Newman said overseas buyers would be welcome. Clive Palmer said, yes, the Chinese are sure to buy the lot, sending a shiver down many a spine.
Ernst and Young brought out a report saying electricity would cost less under privatisation. Quiggin says this is essentially nonsense: prices in states with privatisation are roughly the same, and prices in all states have rocketed since ‘market reforms’ to introduce competition were instituted in the 1990s.
Newman has refused say why the LNP will not commit to the four principles of “accountability and good governance” outlined in an open letter from 50 prominent Australians, earning the ire of corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald, QC, who helped draft the letter.
Mark has a neat roundup at The Monthly, saying, inter alia that KAP and PUP are not preferencing the LNP. The fragile flame of hope still flickers.
Only four days to go, and the town here seems still on holiday!