The Queensland Election Campaigns roll on today with significant events scheduled for both major parties, but to what end? I’m sure there are plenty of Queenslanders who are still bumping around in the Undecideds column, but are today’s events going to sway many minds? I doubt it.
Let’s start with the ALP Campaign Launch. It’s a large expensive photo-op for members of the ALP to get photos with VIPs. Prime Minister Gillard, Treasurer Swan, Member for Griffith Kevin Rudd and former Premier Beattie are there, with their best we’re-all-friends-now grins that fool no-one. But this is Queensland, and Rudd still means something here. Media will be watching for cracks in the chummy veneer, suggestions of insider-versus-outsider tension, and making obvious conclusions. It’s a rich feast on offer.
I’m watching the ALP Love-in as I write this. While I’m waiting, let’s talk LNP and Campbell Newman; I'll head back to the ALP when someone starts talking.
Meanwhile, Campbell Newman has called a press conference of his own. His aim is twofold: he wants to draw attention away from the ALP's Big Day, and also end the speculation about his finances and those of his family. He announced that he and his wife will be divest themselves of their financial interests. Scanning Twitter this morning was not unlike the heady hours of #QantasLuxury: the mood is mocking, a festival of rhetorical questions and sarcastic dismissal.
· Newman is going to divest himself of assets he hasn’t admitted he owns?
· Why were Newman’s investments okay when he was Lord Mayor, but not as Premier?
· Would he be talking about his finances if not for the bad polling?
· What about his alleged misconduct as Lord Mayor?
I’m also hearing that Newman has promised to divest himself of financial interests within 90 days of being elected but the Cabinet regulations requires that divestment take place in no more than 30 days. It does - we checked.
And here's Anna Bligh, wearing one of Julia Gillard's white jackets.
Anna does the intro, talks a bit about Ashgrove and moves straight onto the LNP taking Queensland back to the bad old days of the 20th Century. But hey, Anna’s on message, questioning why Campbell Newman was allowed to carry on as Lord Mayor with all of these conflicting financial interests. She also notes that Newman won’t answer questions about alternate leadership. “The lucky-dip of Leadership”? Great line – alliteration and rhyme. I would’ve hammered that a bit harder.And its onto Queensland’s green credentials – and back to Newman again who is decidedly un-green, a quick fly-by near Law & Order (Ram Raids? Really?) onto the Economy. Good numbers! I’m impressed – and it’s an employment promise so close to being kept. Queensland has the best performing economy in the country that most successfully navigated the GFC.Education as transformation, smaller class sizes, 42000 places in Kindy, and shifting Year 7 into High School.And to the future: Australia’s first ever education trust fund, funded by mining revenue. Mines to Minds. From the Asia-Pacific Century to an Asia-Pacific Exchange Student programme. The apprenticeships rebate to continue. Skilling up Queenslanders for innovation and productivity. More scientists and researchers per capita than OECD average – big on developing this as the economy of tomorrow.Growth follows innovation. Prosperity follows growth.Health. The Achilles’ Heel of Queensland’s Labor Government. Anna will be employing 3000 more health professionals over the next 3 years. No mention of the master plan to split the department into a health services department and a back office support department.Anna also promises a freeze on rego costs for next 3 years –for all vehicles. Take that Campbell Newman, who is offering something similar, but which excludes utes and bikes.
The summing up is more triumphant than resolute: but hang on – you haven’t won and probably won’t. There’s an incoming tide of prosperity – not a line I would have on a day saturated with images of the Japanese Tsunami.
And now both sides have said their pieces for today. Are we any further along the road?
The ALP had a solid launch, but Newman failed to address questions around Civil Partnerships and LNP Leadership. Nothing has really changed.