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Accidents do happen, if you let them

By Graham Young - posted Tuesday, 3 February 2015

If Annastacia Palaszczuk becomes premier of Queensland, it will be a colossal accident, but one engineered by the ALP and facilitated by the LNP.

It's also a result the federal Liberals ought to study closely.

Many Queenslanders woke up today wondering what they had done.


They wanted to scare the government, not sack it, and hadn't imagined the arc of their kick being around 12% two-party preferred against the government.

The ALP took a low target strategy, allowing the government with its "Strong Choices" grand plan to be the issue.

There is no doubt that it was a protest vote.

The fingerprint of a protest vote is that the smallest swings occur in the most marginal seats because voters in marginal seats know they can change the government, and are more careful.

Voters had plenty to protest about, and most of it came down to the personalities of Premier Newman, his deputy Jeff Seeney.

Ever since Newman announced the retrenchment of 14,000 public servants after promising the public service had nothing to fear from him his vote went into decline.


It was a solution out of the blue to a problem that voters weren't even sure existed, and it was delivered callously.

Yet the government achieved results.

After three years it had tamed the growth of the debt monster unleashed by Labor, which saw Queensland with per capita debt almost twice that of any other state.

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A version of this article was published in the Australian FInancial Review.

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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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