Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why CanDo Can't Do

This morning’s Galaxy poll in Ashgrove is the second poll this week to suggest that LNP Leader Campbell Newman might not win a seat in the Queensland parliament. My previous blog post explores some of the reasons why.  Since then, even more bad news has surfaced to throw the LNP off topic.
In contrast, the Labor team should be running on its record, but a history of state managerial disasters sees them looking more to the future than to the past. Years and years of horror with Queensland Health, from Dr Death to the continuing payroll debacle, plus Gordon Nuttal’s conviction, relatively poor Naplan test scores, crime rates exploding on the Gold Coast, unpopular asset sales and crazy cost of living increases are dangerous campaign material.
Newman is blaming the ALP’s “Smear Campaign” for his slide in Ashgrove, and I’d be surprised if the ALP is ‘helping” the media to find ways to discredit Newman’s campaign. Still, there’s a lot to be found, it seems.
Oct 6, 2011 – CMC Enquiry into Newman’s Finances
The ALP refers questions about Newman’s financial dealings while he was Brisbane’s Lord Mayor to the Crime and Misconduct Commission. Allegations involve his in-laws businesses and claimed serious or inappropriate conduct, and failure to disclose. Concerns around Newman’s financial connections continue to occupy the media.
Oct 13 2011 – Cash for Dirt
LNP commissions a former ALP staffer Roger Hough to compile Dirt Files on ALP ministers, members and candidates. Payment was only $3075 – and the LNP got what they paid for.
Oct 21, 2011 – LNP Treasurer Gets Nasty
Barry O’Sullivan was secretly taped hurling abuse and humiliating LNP candidate Paul Freebody after a business deal that didn’t reflect well on the candidate.
Jan 30, 2012 – Broadwater Strike 1 (Drink-Driving)
The LNP sacks their candidate for Broadwater, Richard Towson, after he failed a Random Breath Test. Months earlier, Towson fainted at a press conference while Newman was speaking.
Feb 15, 2012 Cairns Confusion
Newman referred to Bowen as being north of Cairns, called the seat of Mulgrave “Musgrave” and he quoted  the population of Cairns as about 80,000, which is about half the real population of 158,000.
25 Feb 2012 – Broadwater Strike 2 (The Swinger)
The LNP sacks another candidate in Broadwater, this time for attending a Swingers Party.
26 Feb 2012 – Plan C
Stories emerge that the LNP plans to parachute Newman into another seat via a forced by-election should he fail to win Ashgrove.
29 Feb, 2012
More in depth questions around Newman’s consulting company Ultrex, controversial developments approved while Newman was Lord Mayor, and his involvement in his mother’s company Frome.
1 March 2012 – Tantrum
Newman has had enough of the constant media attention on his financial dealings while Lord Mayor, and questions about his wife’s family’s businesses that he refuses to take questions and shuts down a media conference less than 5 minutes after it started.
3 March, 2012 – Joh, Katter and insults flying
Newman referred to former premier Joh Bjelke Petersen’s government as corrupt, infuriating Bob Katter, who said Newman was spitting on Joh’s grave and insulting Lady Flo.
8 March 2012 – Candidate link to Porn Site
Gold Coast LNP Candidate Mark Boothman accused of running a porn website. The adult content on the website was a result of hacking, and Mr Boothman was not sacked.

Despite Labor’s many practical and PR disasters, it might be that such a long stint in power has given the media plenty of opportunity to scrutinise the ALP, and there’s not much left. Their major campaign disasters have been with a 19 year old candidate with some offensive views on homosexuality and race, and with their Federal party sucking all of the media oxygen during while Rudd challenged Gillard for the leadership of the country.
Katter’s Australia has been the real loser so far, having to fight its way through the muck just to remind the electorate outside of Katter Country that it exists. Their challenge to destroy 7 million ballot papers  got them back into the news, but outside of the CSG issue, I had to refer to their  website to see if they had any policies. (They do.)
So what’s in store for the next two weeks? More ephemera, or some real policy debate? I hope it’s the latter. I’m sick of this campaign of warring distractions.

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