ON ELECTION DAY, just as the polls opened, I received a text from Anna P advising me to vote against Chaos and Cuts.Early afternoon I received one from the LNP saying I should vote for jobs, growth and reduced budget deficit.
That was typical of this election — Labor sharp, savvy and well timed in its messaging; the LNP loose and late.
Anyone with any background in marketing knows that first get yourself structurally set, then persistently and consistently push the message through all channels.
Labor won the second point by a mile — even with a hardly inspiring leader/main messenger, because it has an obviously superior marketing machine keeping to a tight, clear message.
Forget that it might include lies or misconcerning issues such as state debt — like Donald Trump 2016, it messaged strongly to its core and swinging voters, those who trudged to the polling booths without enthusiasm and just wanted some certainty that they could forget politics for another couple of years.
‘Cuts and chaos’ was a brilliant line, and when Labor found it halfway through the campaign, they pushed and pushed it through every channel. It was easy to remember. Some may remember the late 1980s when Labor had the clever line that ‘a vote for the Liberals is a vote for the Nationals’ and the coalition was split further, leading to the Goss government.
And that raises the structural issue.
Queensland is a state that used to be of two halves — city and country. It is now two-thirds city (south-east Queensland) and one third country.
So, Labor has the advantage of just pushing hard to its city constituency (which includes heavily unionised or public sector regional areas such as Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and job-subsidised Maryborough).
And it did!
At a cost of $150 million, it broke a contract and forced the fixing of new Indian-built trains to Maryborough — and that might save the swing seat while sending a message to other regional cities that Labor would go to any lengths (i.e. rack-up more government debt) to save public sector jobs.
And the Adani switch by the Premier also sent the message to Greens and city yummy mummies that Labor would pander to their anti-coal (anti grubby Indian!) feelings. That crucified the LNP in the leafy middle suburbs of Brisbane, no longer Liberal heartland.
Structurally, Labor took the punt to ditch some regional seats and win the urban areas.
The LNP was left all over the shop, trying to win everywhere with loose essaying that failed to cut through.
Of course, the red terror cruelled the LNP. The media has a case to answer here. Why do they give her forgiving publicity way out of proportion with her voting strength — because she is click bait driving up the vital online measurement stats.
The LNP has to go back to tors to fix their structural issues.
That could mean semi splitting into a Liberal (savvy city yummy mummy even green-tinged) division and a rugged Country Party (for people who work with their hands and their heads in ‘real’ Queensland). That might knock out the red terror and also allow the LNP to win back the middle suburbs — all glued together with support for a business-type government concerned with efficient delivery of services within realistic lower debt budgets.
Regardless of how close the LNP vote gets to Labor over the next week, the structural issue needs deep and meaningful investigation. Then they can address the messaging problems.