Nothing on the public polling front for the Queensland election since Saturday’s odd effort from Newspoll, but this evening’s Seven News will have an Ashgrove poll conducted by ReachTEL last night. There are also reports that Newspoll and Galaxy are in the field, but presumably we won’t see anything from that until Friday. I must get around at some point to adding campaign updates to my election guide entries when I do, they will say things like this:
Dennis Atkins wrote in the Courier-Mail on Friday of Labor internal polling showing Campbell Newman’s net approval rating had slid from minus 21% to minus 35% since the campaign began, while Annastacia Palaszczuk had gone from plus 8% to plus 14%. Those who wish to file this under they-would-say-that may of course feel free to do so. However, Michael McKenna of The Australian today reports talk from LNP insiders that Newman had blundered when he suggested that Labor had been receiving donations from bikie gangs during Friday’s leaders debate. As one such insider put it: When he gets stroppy, goes on the attack, his numbers goes down.
Michael McKenna of The Australian observes that Campbell Newman’s all-important seat of Ashgrove, covers a republican stronghold in the failed 1999 referendum largely opposed by the rest of Queensland, the significance of which at present will not require reiterating.
Jason Tin of the Courier-Mail today reports that Annastacia Palaszczuk has launched a final-week blitz of key seats, targeting areas that would require a swing of up to 13.6 per cent to return to Labor. Yesterday she had visits to the Brisbane seats of Brisbane Central, Pine Rivers and Kallangur wrapped up early, then flew to Cairns and Mackay.
As of Saturday at least, Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail continued to pitch at the low end of market expectations in his reading of the likely outcome, reporting that the LNP regaining office after losing between 15 and 20 seats is the outcome insiders from both parties believe will occur. As for Ashgrove: Behind the scenes the LNP is confident, maybe overconfident.
Mark Ludlow of the Financial Review last week reported that retiring independent MP Liz Cunningham believed her seat of Gladstone was likely to be won by Labor due to local anger over the government’s plan to make the city’s port a key element of its plan to lease public assets to pay down debt. This did not bespeak great confidence for the prospects of independent candidate Craig Butler, who she has endorsed as her successor.
There is vague talk emerging about Pauline Hanson’s prospects in Lockyer, but it might just be the struggle for a headline talking. In today’s Courier-Mail, Matthew Killoran reports it is believed that Hanson could surprise the field, while Dennis Atkins relates that some people on the ground say she is getting plenty of sympathy. However, Atkins also concedes that Labor’s standing appears to have recovered enough to put its candidate in second place not that Labor is in fact directing preferences to Hanson ahead of the LNP member, Ian Rickuss.
In an article by Matthew Killoran of the Courier-Mail, Paul Williams of Griffith University rates highly the chances of independents Chris Foley in Maryborough, who held the seat from 2003 until his defeat in 2012 by Anne Maddern of the LNP, and former local mayor Julie Boyd in Mackay, which is being vacated by Labor’s Tim Mulherin.
Ray Stevens, the LNP member for the Gold Coast seat of Mermaid Beach, learned the hard way last week about the existence of things called social media and the internet, following his peculiar non-response to questions posed by David Donovan of pro-Labor website Independent Australia. Stevens’ now-famous bird impersonation was caught on camera; Donovan did not prove of a mind to accede to his request that it not be published; and the results went, as the young folks apparently like to say, viral. The issue related to Stevens’ contentious involvement in a cable car project on which government approval is pending. Stevens’ long-established point-blank refusal to answer questions on the subject has long been exercising elements of the media, particularly the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail itemises the specific targets of Campbell Newman’s vote-for-us-or-else strategy, on which I had a good deal to say in Crikey yesterday. In Ipswich, a $1.5 million cycling facility would only proceed, according to Newman’s construction, if LNP incumbent Ian Berry was around to put it forward for the government’s Get in the Game program. Lytton MP Neil Symes was likewise the only conceivable person who Newman wished to hear a word about with respect to a promised (if that’s the right word) $300,000 upgrade to the facilities of the Wynnum Manly Seagulls rugby league club, and $100,000 for lighting upgrades for the Wynnum Bugs Rugby Club. Likewise, voters in Bulimba, Rockhampton and Murrumba will respectively know what to do if they want an upgrade to facilities at the Morningside Panthers AFL Club, a $1 million skate facility, and a roundabout upgrade.
Amid high hopes for their prospects in north Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk last week visited the Keppel electorate to promise $30 million in spending on fishing facilities around the state, to be funded by economic growth.
Since 2012 about 42 per cent of the population who were enrolled to vote in the last election have moved out … while the average age of voters has dropped to 42, one of the lowest in the state. In fact, since 2012 there has been a 40 per cent increase in enrolled voters under the age of 30, as thousands of younger Queenslanders move into the medium-high density apartment developments mushrooming in areas such as Bowen Hills, Teneriffe and Kelvin Grove.
And from retiring Labor MP Tim Mulherin concerning his electorate of Mackay:
“The big demographic change began with the mining boom. We had a massive influx of blue collar workers who I initially thought would be natural Labor voters, but they were also affluent, aspirational and earning huge wages; they were swinging voters.” Most of those workers have now left, he says, as the construction phase of the mining boom ebbs. “As things stabilise I don’t expect the wild swings we’ve seen recently,” Mulherin says.
And more generally:
According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the fastest population growth areas in the state are Pimpama north of the Gold Coast, Woolloongabba, Derragun in Townsville’s outer suburbs, the North Lakes-Mango Hill area in the northern Brisbane seat of Murrumba and Ooralea in South Mackay. Areas around Brisbane such as the Lockyer Valley and the “nappy valley” suburbs like North Lakes and Springfield Lakes recorded the highest nominal population growth in the year to June 2013, with Upper Coomera-Willow Vale (in the electorate of Albert) adding more than 2000 residents in just 12 months.