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Wary Nicholls dressed in clothes tailored by enemies

By Graham Young - posted Wednesday, 29 November 2017

There is no comfort for Queensland’s major parties in this election.

They’ve had their worst combined result in a century. 69.45% voted “Laboral”, slightly lower than the 70.12% who voted that way in 1998, the last outbreak of One Nation.

One Nation loses too. At 13.76% it is 8.92% down on its 1998 effort (although KAP’s emergence had a small effect on this).


The only party that performed well was the Greens. In 1998 they were 2.36%, now 9.72%, and their campaign was outstanding, with the ALP and the LNP wedged by their “Greens First: Adani Last” slogan.

The genius of “Adani” is that in rural and regional areas where the Greens have no chance, voters hear it as “jobs”. And in the big smoke, where the Greens are numerous, they hear “climate change”.

Labor tried to deal with this by talking out of both sides of its mouth, leading to a surge in inner-city Greens votes.

The LNP toughed it out, ending-up owning the issue more than the government.

And the LNP had another wedge to deal with – the eruption of One Nation.

There are two factions in the LNP – those who see One Nation as an enemy, and those who see it as an ally.


Despite at least a year’s notice they needed to decide on a line, and didn’t.

So Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls channelled both sides almost every time he was asked about One Nation.

Premier Palaszczuk implausibly ruled out doing a deal with One Nation, while Opposition Leader Nicholls was more honest, refusing to rule anything in or out. But his equivocation made him look shiftier.

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This article was first 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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