FORGET coronavirus, about which a majority of Queenslanders couldn’t care less. I think today’s election will be a classic contest between the south-east corner and all the rest. That means the LNP needs unexpected wins in and around the capital to have any chance of outright victory. Because the Premier decided to sacrifice the tourism sector to impress the tens of thousands of public servants in Greater Brisbane who love lockdowns and despise unseemly private enterprise, there will be enough anger on the coast to make it interesting. I haven’t written about the campaign hitherto, largely because the US, New South Wales and Victorian situations have been – or seemed to be – more culturally important.
Generally speaking, that’s true but the Sunshine State is – if nothing else – a slice of the Western world in late 2020; voters are expected to take stock of all the weirdness and “measures” of “pandemic times” and reward, endorse, fire or flee accordingly. Annastacia Palaszczuk has been credited with real mastery of that most time-honoured of geo-political plays: demonising southerners. Never before, however, has the old game destroyed so many lives. Apart from channelling an inverted version of Sir Joh, she has exhibited no virtuosity in any other field. The state’s books might be under lock and key until after the election but you don’t need to be Peter Walsh to know they’re a shambles. Budget-wise, Queensland is a tyre fire being left to burn.
When the Premier warns that Deb Frecklington will “cut jobs,” she is, by definition, saying an LNP government will try to put it out. Which it wouldn’t, by the way – not to the extent claimed and not to the extent necessary. If you remember The Ghost and Mrs Muir, you’ll understand what Campbell Newman is to Mrs Frecklington. Both sides have recklessly ‘promised’ various ‘projects’ Queensland can’t afford but the Premier has done this with a reckless cynicism that augurs very badly for the state’s future. The Opposition Leader is not the heroine of a moral contest between the two, however. The best you could say of her is that she couldn’t possibly do any worse and may be inclined – over time – to do better.