WITH AN HOUR of the Premier going to the Governor (acting) to have writs called for the State election, an ad popped-up on my Facebook from the local ALP candidate.
For all that planning, the Premier then was interrupted by an Adani protester at her stage-managed launch.
That’s just the start of the ‘too clever by half’ election.
Armed with piles of mass and group survey results, the major parties will try to walk through the minefield of Queensland issues, jumping on ‘gotcha’ mistakes by the others, papering-over the many cracks in their own policies.
Fortunately, this is a relatively short campaign, unlike Turnbull’s stupid eight week federal campaign last year.
But it will mess with your head.
Neither party can get around the fact that Queensland is two states — the urbanistas of greater Brisbane, including the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, and regional and rural Queensland, what some may call the ‘real Queensland’.
Last week, a pollster showed me some research on Queensland election issues — people were asked for their top five election issues, and then asked further about their top three.
He said you could draw a very clear line from Noosa to Ipswich to Mt Tambourine.
Within that line, after saying ‘health and education’ (which are always the top issues, but about which most people are currently fairly satisfied), the main issues were costs (mainly electricity, but also public transport and parking in SEQ), jobs (but in SEQ mainly about lack of security and wage rises) and the environment/reef/Adani.
Both major parties are hung on their own petard re electricity (given they both are dependent on $3 billion a year in cash dividends and other payments from the state-owned electricity enterprises).
Every Queensland household is paying $1,600 a year on average in extra ‘tax’ through their electricity bills — because that’s what the government is taking out of your bills to make all their glossy promises on teachers, nurses, police, roads — and extra public servants.
The government should probably take $250 to $400 as a reasonable reward for capital invested and for system improvements (both for population growth and regular weather disasters).
That means $1,200 a year should be returned by lower electricity bills to each Queensland household. (Farmers and businesses paying lots more in electricity should be returned proportionately— so their reduction would be in the tens and hundreds of thousands).
Quite frankly, this should be the starting point of an honest election campaign by any party fair dinkum with voters.
But, unless we are pleasantly surprised, expect the parties to be too clever by half — offering $50 back when $1,200 is due, then covering that in a pile of manure so voters don’t see the clear and essential truth on power prices.
On the environment, the old petard is hoist again because Labor SEQ and the Liberal urban voters want the reef protected, Adani stopped and coal banned (as they turn-up their air-conditioners and whinge if they don’t have instant power).
For urban women 18 to 54 years, the environment is the clear distinguishing issue. They all want to save the reef by buying organic and not touching coal.
That’s why the ALP had brochures mailboxed this week in SEQ saying they’ll stop land clearing, promote solar energy and save the reef.
But that brochure won’t go anywhere near the dozen regional electorates it holds (or held, having lost three MPs in regional areas). The message will be jobs — which is a way of saying they support coal and Adani without mentioning their names.
The LNP also has to go through such contortions — otherwise what regional seats they might pick-up will only make-up for Brisbane seats they may lose to the yummy mummy vote.
So, the parties and their leaders will be going through contortions (which means lots more Adani protester events to clearly show-up their hypocrisy).
The pollster said many voters are noticing the ‘too smart by half’ contortions and are thus holding-off suggesting what their firming vote is. That’ll not only make polls of voting intention unreliable, but suggests lots of voters are pining for a straight-forward, honest, ‘tell us the truth even if it hurts’ politician.