Queensland election: day one

Some early dispatches from the quick-and-dirty campaign for Queensland’s January 31 state election.

Some odds and sods concerning the Queensland election campaign, which is now in progress after Campbell Newman’s announcement yesterday of a remarkably unorthodox January 31 polling date:

• The timetable for the election has been tailored to put all concerned under as much duress as possible. The Electoral Act allows for a five to seven day period before the closure of the rolls, and Newman has opted for five. This means the deadline for enrolment falls on Saturday, and not as it might have done on Monday. The closure of nominations can be set for between eight and 18 days after the start of the campaign – Newman has made it eight, meaning prospective candidates must have their paperwork in by noon next Tuesday. This gives Labor as little time as possible to sort out its preselection for the important seat of Lytton, where its candidate withdrew last month. The entire campaign period, of course, has been kept to the very bare minimum of 26 days, when it could theoretically have been drawn out to 56.

• Independent MP Liz Cunningham announced yesterday that she will not seek another term in her Central Queensland seat of Gladstone. Cunningham has held the seat since the 1995 election, and her vote in parliament was decisive in tipping Wayne Goss’s Labor government from office after its defeat in the Mundingburra by-election the following February. However, Gladstone is naturally Labor territory, to the extent that the LNP could only manage 10.9% of the vote even amid the 2012 landslide. Labor’s candidate is Glenn Butcher, a maintenance superintendent at Queensland Alumina. Local newspaper The Observer reports that Cunningham will today announce the candidate she endorses as her successor.

• The Courier-Mail reported last week that Labor is “scrambling to find a high-profile candidate” for Lytton, which given its 1.6% LNP margin would appear all but certain to fall to Labor. Its first choice, Daniel Cheverton, withdrew last month after a female colleague accused him of inappropriate behaviour after a campaign training session. Those mentioned in the Courier-Mail report are Peter Davis, former Bar Association president; Mike Kaiser, former party state secretary and briefly the member for Woodridge from 2000 to 2001, when he fell foul of the Shepherdson inquiry; Laura Fraser Hardy, who ran unsuccessfully in Bonner at the September 2013 federal election; and “long-time local party member Joan Pease”. Davis, who quit the Bar Association in protest against the government’s enormously contentious appointment of Tim Carmody as Chief Justice (who happened to do the honours in signing off on the writs for the election yesterday, acting in the absence of Governor Paul De Jersey, who was his predecessor as Chief Justice), is said to have been the subject of determined approaches from Annastacia Palaszczuk.

• Other preselections that still need resolving are Maroochydore, Buderim and Southern Downs for Labor, and Gladstone, Bundamba and South Brisbane for the LNP. None of the seats is a serious prospect for the party in question.

• A scan through the University of Western Australia elections database by Jared Owens of The Australian reveals that this will be “the first general election held in January since Tasmanians voted in January 1913 and the first on the mainland since the NSW colonial election of 1874-75”.

• As I was caught on the hop as much as anyone by the election announcement, the trustworthy Poll Bludger seat-by-seat election guide is still a work in progress. Estimated time of arrival: middle of next week.

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.

60 comments on “Queensland election: day one”

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  1. Jan 31st as a date – just genius move. Not going to backfire at all. People love coming from the beach and listening to Campbell’s voice each and everyday.

    Clive, much as I hate to say, may be right.

    Also – Love the articles William. Always a good read.

  2. Regarding Queensland state election and Tone

    If Tone is so toxic that he needs to hide from this campaign in a state which forms a solid part of his majority then we might as well call his government terminal.

  3. Matt

    If the next budget flops as badly as the last one did and I have seen nothing in how this government is behaving that indicates that it has learned anything therefore I don’t think changing leader will save them.

  4. Well Nematodes.. look like it’s time to pop in and see how you are all coping with the news of the impending Qld election..

    Well timed, most likely to completely circumvent any fallout from Clive Palmer’s circus of a parliamentary inquiry in February rather than catching the ALP off guard.

    Nevertheless, any rumours of the death of Campbell Newman’s seat were (to borrow a Twainism) largely exaggerated. The funny thing about Ashgrovians is that their education level is, according to ABS stats, much higher than the Australian median.

    This means that they are less likely to fall for the crazy idea that voting for Kate Jones might somehow produce better local results for Ashgrove, particularly with regard to government spending.

    Primarily, this is because the party of government in a (unique) unicameral system like Queensland runs will largely do whatever the hell it wants to (Just as Beattie and Bligh did for decades driving the state to the financial brink during the most buoyant period of economic performance since it was declared a state). So the very best way to ‘get things done’ for Ashgrove in Queensland, at least, is to make sure your member is in the party that governs. Simple.

    Likewise, the best way to ensure that you get listened to (and get money) is to ensure that the premier is in your seat and not particularly safe.. He (or she) will splash large amounts of cash to protect your seat.

    Finally, Kate Jones was never a great member. I live in this part of Brisbane. At best, she was a reasonable local member, whom you mostly only saw around election time and did sweet bugger all for the electorate (especially infrastructure and roadworks requests) until her set was threatened by Mr Newman, nearly four years ago.

    So, the LNP will win (easily), it ought to have a reduced majority (that is usual after an historic landslide) and Campbell Newman will, in all likelihood, retain his seat.

  5. By arresting a guy wearing an “I’m with stupid: t-shirt, the QLD regime has demonstrated amply why it just cant be taken seriously by modern Australia.

    Straight in the bin with you lot. You’re a joke.

  6. Silly lefty e (@58)….the Tories have made it quite clear: “Freedom of Speech” means “freedom for right-wing gazillionaires to buy media campaigns”, nothing more!

  7. The Family First Guy believes that while the Government should get involved in personal relationships, it should have minimal role in the economy. The Liberal Democrat believes that the Government should have minimal role in both.

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