Queensland Labor has edged ahead with 51 percent of the two-party preferred vote for the first time since the 2012 election. The latest ReachTEL poll conducted jointly for 7 News Brisbane and The Courier Mail, showed the Liberal National Party holding a narrow primary vote lead of 39.2 percent over Labor’s 37.3 percent. Labor’s rise of 4pc has occurred over a period of five months. With the growing number of Greens primary votes now at 7.9pc, the two-party preferred calculation gives Labor the narrowest of TPP lead.
Quizzed by the media about the results and the recent Victorian state election which saw the L/NP government voted out after just one term, Premier Campbell Newman appeared undaunted.
“Queenslanders are getting the benefits and they know if they re-elect this team, ah that, there’ll be more positive reform for the state that will improve their quality of life,” he said.
Queensland Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk was upbeat about Labor’s chances in the wake of the Victorian Labor win.
“What we have seen in Victoria as we have seen in Queensland are massive cuts to our TAFE sector, our jobs and cuts to our services,” she said. “My candidates are out there listening. Labor has learnt its lesson from last time.”
The poll also revealed that Newman is still the preferred leader within the LNP with a rating of 40.2pc preferred. His closest rival was Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg who remains some distance behind on 16.9pc. Newman’s strongest support age group remains in the over 65 base.
The full ReachTEL poll can be read here, “7 News / Sunday Mail Queensland – The state we’re in – November 2014”.
The Newman Abbott factor
Can linking the poor performance of the federal Abbott Government to Premier Campbell Newman‘s government really tip the scales in favour of the Queensland opposition? @QldLabor thinks so and has fired the first shots in the campaign war ahead of the 2015 election. The “cut from the same cloth” advertising campaign was launched this week with the 23 second ad comparing the cuts and broken promises of the Newman Government with some of the most recent Abbott ones.
A similar campaign was used by Labor in the Victorian election which saw the conservative Napthine Government voted out of power after only one term. Despite the Abbott Government denying it was a factor, pundits have attributed part of the loss to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his poor popularity.
Queensland Labor campaign director Anthony Chisholm explained that part of the strategy was to ask voters to send both “Newman and Abbott” a message.
“Right up until election day, we’ll be reminding people of the impact of Newman and Abbott’s cuts to jobs and frontline services,” he said.
However, in response to questions from the media about Tony Abbott’s future presence in Queensland, Newman declared that Tony Abbott would not be needed for the election.
“I don’t need anyone else to stand by my side, other than members of my team, because we have a very strong team,” he said. “We’ll be campaigning on our track record.”
However, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said Mr Abbott would be happy to join the Premier on the campaign trail.
“The Prime Minister has visited Queensland and Brisbane many times this year, including for the very successful G20 in November. He will support Premier Campbell Newman however he can in the lead-up to the Queensland election,” she said.
On the campaign trail and speaking from a community cabinet meeting in far north Queensland, Premier Newman also stated that, “something is happening in Queensland that is not happening anywhere else”.
“We are a government about change and on occasions over the last two and a half years we have done things that were controversial, at times even unpopular, but I assure you this evening it was always done with your interests at heart to create a better Queensland, a stronger Queensland,” he said.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk used the 25th anniversary of the election of Labor’s Premier Wayne Goss to government to highlight the dangers made by the current government to integrity in the state.
“Since the Fitzgerald inquiry laid bare the workings of former governments, every day Queenslanders have demanded higher standards,” she said. “Wayne Goss raised the bar and I will raise it higher.”
Under a Palaszczuk Government the Crime and Corruption Commission would once again be free to respond to anonymous complaints and be able to conduct its’ own research into trouble areas without the need for approval from the Queensland Attorney-General.
Cash for probity
Yet another scandal has broken out involving the LNP and one of their donors. A parliamentary committee report from August has revealed a probity consultant for the new Aquis casino proposal in Cairns has donated $64,750 to the LNP since 2011. BDO consultants were appointed by the Newman Government to review the $8.15 billion project. The project manager, billionaire Tony Fung was also reported to have donated $10,000 to the federal Liberal party.
It comes amid reports that discussions have broken down between the government, government agencies and the Fung group over the proposal. Read more at, “Aquis ties with politics emerge as LNP donations revealed”.
Cash for gravel – update
The ABC’s Mark Willacy and Mark Solomons have followed up on their June investigation into Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and a LNP donor, Karreman Quarries. Right to information documents show Seeney surprised his own planning department officials by rushing through a retrospective law to prevent the LNP donor from being prosecuted.
Karreman Quarries had broken the law in their gravel quarrying activities in the upper Brisbane river by acting without appropriate permits. With the Department of Natural Resources and mines set to take legal action, Seeney intervened, killing off any chance of prosecution.
With farmers in the area complaining about destruction to the river bank and concerns that sediment was entering the main drinking supply for Brisbane, Seeney and Premier Newman promised to investigate. However, Seeney closed the matter by telling the ABC that there was now “no evidence of any connection at all between the damage and the quarrying”.
Read more on what the RTI documents reveal at the ABC special report, “Jeff Seeney: Queensland deputy premier caught own officials by surprise with retrospective law change preventing possible prosecution of LNP donor”.
Final 730 Qld airs.
After the Abbott Government’s cuts to the ABC were announced, Queensland and all other states and territories universally lost their long interview format for Friday nights.
This column will certainly be poorer for the loss of @730Qld. Many of the Queensland stories collated here are sourced from the program. The investigative journalism arm of the show will no doubt bring a sigh of relief to those engaged in dodgy or outright corruption in the state.
Queensland sleeps a little less accountable tonight.
Springborg looking forward to coronial inquest into teenagers’ deaths after Barrett Centre closure.
Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says he is looking forward to the coronial inquest into the deaths of three mentally ill teenagers after he closed the only adolescent centre in the state. The Deputy Coroner announced on Friday that an inquest would take place after a report was released exposing a lack of planning and a rushed process in closing the Barrett Adolescent Centre.
“I look forward to the investigation and to the findings and recommendations,” Mr Springborg said.
A mother of one of the deceased, Ms Wilkinson explained that there was insufficient care in the general community.
“That’s why they were at Barrett – because the community options were not sufficient to keep them alive,” she said.
North Stradbroke Island miner Sibelco to close Yarraman quarry
Belgium miners Sibelco will close the first of their Queensland North Stradbroke Island sand mines under an agreement forged with the previous Bligh Government. Originally, the Yarraman quarry was to close by the end of 2015 but the company will cease production in August. The two other existing mines will continue operation. The Vance quarry can continue operating until 2025. However, the controversial Enterprise quarry could continue past the operating date of 2019 if it applies for an extension to its existing license which would prolong activities until 2035.
Granting of an extension would break the deal between the Queensland Government and the traditional owners the Quandamooka people to end mining on the island by 2025. With little consultation, the Newman Government altered the North Stradbroke Island Protection and Sustainability Act to grant the option.
In 2012, LNP backers Sibelco dropped $91,000 worth of letters into the seat of Ashgrove promoting continued sand mining. Pledging to extend sand mining, Campbell Newman went on to take the electorate and the premiership. Recently the Quandamooka people were informed by the Crime and Corruption Commission that their claim against the company for its’ activities during the election would not be investigated.
Electricity sell-off, the Victorian experience
A good article this week by Fairfax’s Michael West on the topic of electricity privatisation as Queensland considers selling or leasing part or all of state assets. “Electricity: the great big hidden tax” looks at the Victorian experience.
Tweet of the week – Journos being flown to remote places
In a sign that the Queensland election campaign is underway, journos boarded a small aircraft to tour the remote LNG facilities of Miles in regional Queensland.
— Shane Doherty (@ShaneDoherty9) December 1, 2014
— Jessica van Vonderen (@jessvanvonderen) December 2, 2014