Borg’s Brisbane blues

A dedicated thread for Queensland election speculation would seem in order. Despite previous false alarms, the state’s press corps remains convinced Bligh will visit the Governor sooner rather than later. Greg Roberts of The Australian suggests the catalyst will be a “gloomy state budget in May” (UPDATE: Mark Bahnisch of Larvatus Prodeo notes the budget is actually brought down in June). He also reports on sobering internal polling for the Liberal National Party:

The polling indicates that Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, an ex-Nationals farmer who led the coalition to two election defeats, is failing to connect with Brisbane voters … The western suburbs electorate of Indooroopilly, which was once a blue ribbon Liberal stronghold, is regarded as a must-win seat for the LNP. But the polling puts support for the LNP candidate – Scott Emerson, The Australian’s former Queensland political reporter – at 5 per cent behind the combined Greens-ALP vote. The Indooroopilly contest is complicated by the defection last year of Labor MP Ronan Lee to the Greens. Mr Lee is likely to swap preferences with Labor, even though Labor has yet to nominate a candidate after Mr Lee’s defection. The LNP is 5 per cent behind Labor in the bayside seat of Cleveland, which needs a swing of 1.5 per cent to the LNP for the Government to lose. In the inner-city seat of Clayfield, which returned to the LNP fold at the 2006 election, the polling suggests a lineball result, with shadow treasurer Tim Nicholls struggling to hold on. The only bright polling spot was in the northern suburbs seat of Aspley, where the LNP was one point ahead of Labor.

This squares with the perception of Paul Williams of Griffith University:

Brisbane’s progressive Liberals will not vote for a party headed by a National. Lawrence Springborg’s LNP might suffer a devastating loss … I’m told by a senior Labor figure that internal ALP polling shows a remarkable pattern: the so-called “Beattie Liberals”, those middle-class Brisbane voters who loyally voted for John Howard federally (and the state Liberals until the mid-1990s), are sticking with Labor and Premier Anna Bligh … Labor’s polling allegedly shows Brisbane’s progressive Liberals – despite anger at major public infrastructure failings in health, water and roads – still cannot bring themselves to vote for a conservative party headed by a National.

UPDATE: As has been noted in comments, Greg Roberts is wrong to indicate the LNP might have something to fear in Indooroopilly if they were “5 per cent behind the combined Greens-ALP vote“. The take-up of the exhausted vote option in Queensland is high enough that preferences will not flow tightly between Labor and the Greens like they do in compulsory preferential systems, as is presupposed by talk of a “combined Greens-ALP vote”.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

71 comments on “Borg’s Brisbane blues”

  1. Bligh will find it hard to go befor the next sitting of parliament because she needs the bill allowing budget costing for both parties to be passed. After that I would expect her to call the election. A March 28 or April 4 election. There is a bit to risk if she leaves it due to Patel, Nuttel and budget.

  2. Anna Bligh has repeated yet again today the the Gov’t will go full term.

    Two thirds of shires are flood affected.

    Not all candidates have yet been preselected.

    It would take a brave man to trust the Courier Mail.

  3. It’s a good thing the courier mail’s online commenters aren’t representative, labor would be toast 56:21 lnp:alp.

    It sounds like the free metropolitan daily street press, MX, will be running with the line “The anna4qld site – which is emblazoned on every page with the slogan “Protecting Queensland Jobs” – (was developed by mexicans) Labor Party state secretary Anthony Chisholm said “It’s not an issue,”.

    MX’s readership is 73% 18-39, they’ll all either be, or know someone that’s, a star web-monkey just looking for a break, prolly won’t take kindly to Chisholm telling em to suck it up sunshine.

    Larry Lightyear managed to get the message, and stay on for a few seconds “It’s disappointing but not surprising that Anna Bligh’s actions do not match her words” and made the point that springborg.com website was developed by an LNP employee in Brisbane.
    Remind me: who are the dopey ones?

  4. Wait a minute… wasn’t Joe Hockey Shadow Finance Minister before? If so, how come he could be Manager of Opposition Business in the house, but Coonan will be too busy to be Senate manager?

  5. I find it odd that Bligh is being used as the face of the government. I know she is premier however the Labor brand at a federal level is going strong and Bligh’s marketability is unknown. Her net approval rating is also not very strong for a premier and much lower than Rudd’s.

  6. Steconone: Also the margin on her seat isn’t impregnable: if she loses 5% of her 2006 first preference vote to greens, a la the Ronan Lee impulse, and 5% of the tories have turned green since 2006, she will go to preferences and it would be the greens harvesting libs preferences.
    In the last election in this seat, local government, more than 50% of libs preferences went to greens, and that was without urging. If the south brisbane tories realised that by strongly encouraging, instructing, their constituency to lie back and think of Anna, and preference green, they could really make it interesting.

  7. Something which has been running through my mind. Before the Lib Nat merger a vote for the Liberals was in effect a vote for the Nationals. So long as the Nationals had one more seat than the Libs they were in power, of the opposition. This meant if the powers in Brisbane supported the Libs they were supporting a powerbase outside of their control, the Nationals. With the merger to the LNP the power will come from where the seats are held. The more seats the LNP gains in Brisbane the more influence those in Brisbane will have over the LNP.

  8. If the Courier Mail is right then Sprinborg may yet regret his turning down of the offer from Bligh of fixed four year terms. As I recall it, he agreed initially and then rejected the offer later the same week.

  9. page 524 of Hansard 28/02/08 tells the strange story of four year fixed parliamentary Terms.

    Four-Year Fixed Parliamentary Terms
    Ms JONES: My question without notice is to the Premier. Can the Premier please explain to the House the process required to enable Queenslanders to vote on a referendum for four-year fixed parliamentary terms?

    Ms BLIGH: I thank the honourable member for the question. It does give me an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment I made in my ministerial statement to all sides of politics that I am committed to a bipartisan process that will allow us to determine jointly a suitable question to be put to the people of Queensland and a suitable time to put that question. That question would then need to be incorporated
    in a bill that the House would vote on. Every member of this House would have an opportunity at that point to declare themselves as either a yes or no voter.
    I do think it is important that people understand that there will be no box that says, ‘yes maybe’, ‘yes if’, ‘yes but’ or ‘yes with my fingers crossed’. It will be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and every member of this House will have to put their views forward in a forthright and honest way and then commit to that during the time we talk to the electorate about it.
    I have to say that I left this chamber last night with a great sense of optimism. It is very rare in party politics around the world that we see unanimity on an issue in what can be a difficult policy area. In this case what we had was a unanimous vote of the parliament on an unconditional motion to go forward with a referendum on four-year fixed terms.
    So imagine my disappointment when I learned that, within minutes of that vote, the member for Southern Downs, the Leader of the Opposition, was up in the press gallery briefing journalists that he did not really mean it. He did not really mean that vote. What he meant was that the conditions he really wanted were still part of what he really meant. So what we know about the member for Southern Downs
    is that his firm resolve and leadership on these issues did not survive his exit from the chamber. That is how long it lasted. When we get a decision out of the Leader of the Opposition he cannot even make it last a lunch hour. Thirty seconds is a long time.
    I do wonder where the Liberals stand on this issue. I am sure members would like to have been a fly on the wall during the party room discussion on this. I suspect there are a number of Liberals who do want to support four-year fixed terms and they do not want to see it compromised and have politics played with it and have it drawn into a murky debate about other partisan issues. I would encourage them to show some leadership if the member for Southern Downs is incapable of that.
    With that kind of jelly running down his spine it is not surprising that we have seen no action at all on the Leader of the Liberal Party. I welcome into the gallery today Mrs Joyce Baker. I join the minister for public works in encouraging the Leader of the Opposition to meet with Mrs Baker to hear her side of this very sorry story. I am convinced that if he does the right and decent thing and listens to this
    woman’s story—just take the time to have one conversation with this one Queenslander—I would be very surprised if he did not come back into this chamber and tell us exactly why the member for Caloundra will no longer be in a leadership position in his team.
    There it is, the mighty leadership grunt of the member for Southern Downs. He cannot sustain a policy position for as long as it takes to get out of the chamber. He cannot determine his leadership team.

    http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/view/legislativeAssembly/hansard/documents/2008.pdf/2008_02_28_WEEKLY.pdf

  10. Fargo that is the third piece of Labor renewal this week. When are the Nationals going to begin the cleanout of their Shadow Ministry. Half of the Shadow Ministry can remember the last floods when Noah built an ark.

  11. The election whenever it is called is starting to take on a distinct flavour of tired old Nationals members who were in parliament for decades taking on a much younger Labor outfit.

    [The Main Roads Minister was the eighth Labor MP to answer Premier Anna Bligh’s call for party renewal ahead of an expected early election.

    Education Minister Rod Welford and former health minister Ken Hayward confirmed last September they would not stand.

    They joined already-announced Labor retirees Pat Purcell, Jim Pearce and Linda Lavarch.]

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25071816-5006786,00.html

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