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What's Queensland got to lose, except perhaps Adani?

By Graham Young - posted Monday, 13 May 2019

Liberal National Party sources are quietly confident they will hold all their Queensland seats, apart from Flynn, and maybe pick up Herbert in North Queensland. Labor sources are quoted as confirming they are in trouble in some seats where they were ahead earlier on.

Seems to me that we've been here before.

Before the "Super Saturday" byelections in 2018, the Liberals were confident of winning two or three of them including Longman in Queensland, a dormitory suburb north of Brisbane.


The Libs were cock-a-hoop and complacent. This would confirm Malcolm Turnbull's value and Bill Shorten would succumb to a palace revolution led by Anthony Albanese.

Then the ALP campaign hit its straps. The LNP was financially out-muscled by a union-funded campaign, with union and GetUp workers joining ALP ones on the ground and on the telephones. In Longman the conversation had changed from immigration and border security to the local hospital and the Liberals being for the "Big End of Town". The expected Liberal win evaporated.

It was a failure of resources and leadership. The Liberals had no money, little resources, took only 29.6 per cent of the vote and few preferences. Turnbull was a large part of the problem, leading to the leadership coup.

The LNP should have learnt from this result, which means both sides are gearing up for a torrid last week and a half. It certainly should have more resources and Morrison reads reasonably well in the burbs and barnyards.

Queensland is a key state. Five Liberal seats, Capricornia, Forde, Flynn, Petrie and Dickson, have margins of less than 2 per cent, while for Labor it is Herbert, Longman and Griffith.

Majority government for both is potentially sitting just there.


Climate change might be a big national issue, but Griffith in inner Brisbane is the only one on the list likely to be affected, and as a result likely won't change hands. Capricornia, Flynn and Herbert are central and north Queensland seats, and the rest fringe urban.

In all of them cost of living issues will be paramount, as well as underlying cultural issues. They are full of nationalists, not cosmopolitans, and they believe in hard work and thrift and having a go.

They will be suspicious of Labor's aspirational program promising lots, but with a large tax bill, and an elusive cost. And cynical about a steady-as-she-goes pitch based on a budget surplus, tax breaks, modest spending increases and a promise that finally the government has its act together.

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This article was originally published by 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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