Election campaigns are meant to be contests that show up the differences between parties. This week delivered in spades!
Is Jackie Back?
Is Jackie back? That was the question on everyone’s lips following the Courier Mail’s headlines on Monday. It is possible.
Remember, Annastacia never sacked Jackie, so there is no reason why she should not return – and prominently – if Labor is re-elected.
Standing Aside – Not Standing Down
Trad stood aside when Labor’s market research showed she would be weight in Labor’s saddle bags during this election.
Still Got a Plan
This is a con-job aimed at the coal mining communities. Miners and their families know Jackie Trad ran the left wing plans to close down Queensland’s coal industry. The CFMEU knows the plan is still alive.
Still A Real Player
However, Jackie is probably the most powerful politician in the Qld Labor left wing faction. She previously held the titles of Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
Many people said she was more powerful than the Premier. She certainly left a hole that it has taken three Labor MPs to fill.
Jackie Regaining her Voters
Last weekend, there were reports that Jackie is pegging back the Greens vote in her seat and is likely to retain it. And so – much to Labor’s annoyance – there were the headlines reading “Jack’s Back”!
Avoid Answering the Question
Both the Deputy Premier and the Treasurer are doing part of Jackie’s old job, so of course it is in their interests to flub the question. This has been Annastacia’s strategy for months, too.
Normally she gets away with avoiding the tough questions, but election campaigns are relentless. Media keep pushing.
But Now – Emphatic No!
So, on Monday the Premier decided to put the issue to rest once and for all. As the Courier Mail reported, “She emphatically ruled out her controversial former deputy returning to the cabinet if Labor retains power.”
Or Maybe – Emphatic Yes!
Unfortunately, just hours later left wing union boss, Gary “Blocker” Bullock, slapped her down. This made it clear to all that the Premier does not have the power to say who will be in her cabinet, and who will not. That is decided by the union factional bosses.
Blocker will decide if “Jackie’s Back”
So now we know who is really running Queensland and it is not the faces fronting for election.
Clear the Front Page
With Labor desperate to get this back-room barney off the front-pages, we shouldn’t have been surprised when the ABC ran a story that the LNP had reported their own Deb Frecklington to the ECQ over dinners with property developers.
Beat Up the LNP
Unfortunately, it was an empty headline. Like all the parties, the LNP is trying to campaign under the yoke of new electoral laws designed by Labor to favour themselves. We know they are hoping these rules will cement Labor’s grip on power for another 25 years.
Cautiously Seeking Advice
Meanwhile, the LNP must not get tripped up and so we have to seek advice from the ECQ on various issues that keep coming up under the new Labor laws.
In her capacity as Opposition Leader, Deb had attended supporters’ gatherings where some property developers were also in attendance.
She didn’t ask for, or receive, any campaign donations from these property developers. They were just in the same room at the lunch or dinner. In a democracy, we shouldn’t ban people from attending functions and events because of their job when that job is legal – and even necessary.
Without property developers, we would have no private property for homeowners to buy. Every person who wanted to own their own new home would have to shoulder the entire burden of developing the property themselves. Property developers spread the costs over many buyers and so help keep the costs down for purchasers.
Singling out People by Category
Labor didn’t single out property developers because they think they shouldn’t exist or that they don’t perform a valuable function. They singled them out because they thought it would hurt other parties, particularly the LNP.
Imagine the outrage if the LNP had banned unions from being involved in making electoral donations or holding positions in political parties?
Weaponising Electoral Laws
The Courier Mail editorial described Labour’s election laws as having been “weaponised” to hurt their opponents and turn the campaign into a farcical game of political ‘gotcha’.
Well, a frothed-up story that could have been headlined “Politicians Meet People!” got Labor’s brawling off the front pages.
Labor Sells Access
But then we woke up to read that Labor sold meetings with the Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath to Tabcorp and KPMG, after she had introduced laws to prevent cash-for-access fundraising.
The Attorney-General oversees the Department of Justice which is in charge of sensitive areas like Liquor Licensing and gambling. You can see the problem when gambling giant Tabcorp pays to meet with her.
Not the First Dance
Ms D’Ath had already raised eyebrows in November last year. She arranged for Star Casino to not only host, but to also cover the costs of holding a Labor party fundraiser she organized. Not a good look when you are the minister for casinos.
Big Contrast – But Labor Still Tipped to Win
And so, the electorate saw a big contrast in their choices this week.
With pundits tipping Labor to win, we saw that the union factions run the government and they are not at all shy about it.
Underdog – Or the Leader We Need?
As the week ends, the LNP is still gamely fighting on despite the new laws. A lot of people have been asking me about Deb – particularly about her capacity to be Premier.
Deb’s Followers Stick Like Glue
The first thing you need to be a leader is to have someone to follow you. Seriously.
Since Deb became Opposition Leader, she has had to face Labor opponents trying to undermine her at every turn.
Problem was, the LNP doesn’t play with factions or faceless men. Every single LNP MP stuck to Deb like glue and backed her as she faced them all down. That is a megaphone!
Rise to the Challenges
When someone is elected PM or Premier, they have to grow to meet the challenges of the role. Those challenges differ according to current events, but no one is born ready. Some grow; some fail to grow enough; some sink.
Success in Opposition No Predictor
In my observation, people who dominate public attention as Opposition Leaders find it difficult to transition into actually heading a Government. For instance, Gough Whitlam and Kevin Rudd spring to mind.
Lazarus With A Triple Bypass
Equally, some of our greatest leaders really struggled in opposition. John Howard had three cracks. After being rolled by Andrew Peacock, he famously described his chances of ever leading the Liberal Party again as “Lazarus with a triple-bypass.”
Of course, he did get another chance, won the election and became one of our most successful and respected PMs.
Walking Through the Valley of Shadow
One who never walked through the valley of opposition was Bob Hawke. He was appointed Opposition Leader literally as Malcolm Fraser was visiting the Governor General to call the election. Fraser must have been surprised when he got back to the office and found his opponent was Bob not Bill.
While Hawke was an outstanding PM, I do wonder if he could have tolerated an Opposition Leader’s lot.
Look for the Demonstrated Qualities
So, when you are assessing Deb Frecklington, look for her lasting qualities, because that is what she will bring if she is elected Premier.
Trust and Loyalty are the Foundation of Good Cabinets
She is trusted by her team and she inspires their loyalty to her. That is a very good mark. She also returns that loyalty.
And Cabinet is the Foundation of Good Administration
Like Howard and Hawke, that means she works with a strong and collaborative shadow cabinet. Victoria’s situation shows how important this cabinet approach is to good administration.
The LNP Shadow Cabinet is far more diverse than the ALP’s. Except for two members, the ALP cabinet are all former union officials or party apparatchiks.
Labor likes to make out that the entire shadow cabinet are non-entities. The strange thing is, for a bunch of non-entities – non-entities in Labor handcuffs even – we have highlighted issue after issue in the incompetent Labor administration.
Persistent Courage a Must Have
Deb is fearless in the fight, even when it results in her being called names. John Howard had this type of persistent courage, too. The courage to not only face the truth, but to tell it publicly, day after day – despite indifference or outrage.
Integrity and Honesty
And there it is - the important issue of integrity and truth in government. We have a Premier who has been found in contempt of Parliament.
Deb can spot a lie and Deb values the truth.
Deb will show us the way back.
Best Laugh this Week
The funniest thing this week was the Premier’s visit to Rockhampton. It was black humour, because one of Labor’s lies has been that the LNP will sell Queensland’s public assets.
Buying Back What You Sold
Yesterday the Premier and Treasurer Dick joined Labor MP Barry O’Rourke to make a grand announcement that they would buy back the old Queensland rail workshops in Rockhampton if re-elected.
Annastacia Signed It Off
Just what this would achieve wasn’t clear, but this asset was sold by Labor in the first place. In fact, the sale was signed off by Annastacia Palaszczuk as Transport Minister and Anna Bligh as Premier, with no consultation. It is now the Aurizon rail workshops.
You Only Get One Alan Bond
Unfortunately, the money is gone and Annastacia will be using borrowed money to buy them back again. Apparently, Labor has already been in negotiations – but it is all commercial-in-confidence, so we can’t be told what the whole debacle has cost.
Aurizon must be feeling like Kerry Packer when he said, “You only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime”.
Aurizon must be saying, “You only get one Annastacia Palaszczuk in your business life.”
What Else did they Sell Off?
This is the same mob who also sold off assets like the Port of Brisbane, Port of Abbot Point, Forestry Plantations and Queensland Motorways, Cairns, Mackay and Brisbane airports, the Golden Casket, sun, gas and wind energy assets, and the entire rail-freight business – including the coal rail-freight network which used to earn us royalties.
LNP Has Not and Will Not
The LNP has never sold off public assets. Only Labor has. The LNP has promised publicly that it will not sell assets if it is elected to government. Don’t let anyone tell you lies about this.
Unemployment Trophy to Qld
The other noteworthy event this week was the release of the latest unemployment statistics. Sadly, Queensland had the highest unemployment rate in the nation – again.
Despite Stiff Competition
Even though Victoria has been in one of the toughest lockdowns in the world for months now, Queensland still had higher unemployment at 7.7 per cent.
The Australian Financial Review said this morning that this is a major blow to the Palaszczuk Government’s economic credentials.
Qld Jobs Not Coming Back like NSW
More concerningly, the figures showed that NSW has managed to restore 77 per cent of the jobs they lost to COVID restrictions, while Queensland has only regained 44 per cent.
Qld Bankruptcies Increase Again
On top of that, we saw a 24.1 percent increase in business administrations in September. We were already Australia’s bankruptcy capital. NSW’s administrations fell 1.6 per cent last month.
Early Voting Starts
Remember when you vote, the outcome of this election will determine how we will recover from the biggest economic crisis seen in 75 years.
Early voting starts on Monday, October 19. Not every part of Gregory will be offered early voting.
I must stress these decisions are made by the ECQ, not by the parties or the politicians. I know there is some dissatisfaction about the arrangements in Gregory and if I am re-elected, I will be raising the matter.
Find Your Nearest Early Polling Booth
You can find your Nearest Early Polling Booth by clicking on this link. You then enter “Gregory” as the electorate and “Early Voting Venues” as the venue type.
I also have them on my Facebook page at Lachlan Millar MP. It is worth checking as the opening hours do vary from place to place and, sometimes, day to day.
How to Vote Strategy
Last week I promised to share my “How to Vote” order. I have done this on my Facebook page at Lachlan Millar MP. You can screen-shot this.
Remember, you must number every square, without repeating a number, for your vote to be valid. So, you can’t give two candidates equal placing. On the Gregory Ballot you must have numbers from 1 to 7. The Labor laws mean every Queenslander will have to vote for parties and candidates they don’t want.
For those who choose to use my “How to Vote” strategy, you have my sincere thanks.
If you choose a different order that is quite alright. Everyone has the right to vote in whatever order they choose.
Thank You for Reading
Thanks for reading and staying up to date.
If you need help or advice related to any state government issue, please don’t hesitate to call my offices. Although we are in caretaker mode my offices are open.
If we can’t help you, we can usually give you the contacts for the right person who can. Gregory Longreach is PH (07) 4521 5700. Gregory Emerald (07) 4913 1000.
Kindest Regards – and stay safe,
Lachlan Millar MP
Member for Gregory and
Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers.