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Tide of public opinion to be taken by Queensland ALP

By Graham Young - posted Wednesday, 5 March 2014


I blame reality TV.

Once upon a time the tide of public opinion used to rise and fall a few metres, but now it's like some of those rivers in northwest Australia where the differential's huge enough that if you could harness it for hydro you could theoretically produce enough electricity to power Perth.

Reality TV is shallow, and it's convinced people that nothing much turns on their vote. That's the way contemporary politics has gone.

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Or perhaps they're both products of deeper underlying forces.

To see the effect look at the Kevin 07 phenomenon, and then the Kevin Redux repeat, or Julia Gillard's brief spell of popularity.

Queensland politics is full of the phenomenon with governments and parties tumbling from power with huge margins, only to claw back a few elections later.

And if nothing changes, Campbell Newman might be just the latest episode in the churns of modern politics.

At the last state election Newman got the largest majority in the history of the Queensland parliament. The next closest was Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1974.

In 1974 Bjelke-Petersen won 69 seats out of a total of 82, but Newman won 78 seats out of 89.

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The following election Bjelke-Petersen went backwards by 5.14%, but still won 59 seats.

If current polling is anything to go by, Newman won't do as well, and could even lose.

Twelve months ago I would have dismissed this as an impossibility, but not anymore.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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