Five reasons to send Labor packing
IF ALP leader Annastacia Palaszczuk loses today's election, she only has herself to blame.
If her LNP challenger Deb Frecklington loses today's election she only has herself to blame.
Palaszczuk showed repeatedly she didn't have the courage - or the authority - to rein in her blundering Cabinet colleagues.
And if Frecklington fails to secure a working majority, I expect she will be judged harshly for not going hard enough in prosecuting Labor's squalid record of ministerial wrongdoing.
That said, I have a hunch Frecklington is closer to victory than the incumbent.
It's time to send Labor packing.
Extinction Rebellion isn't the only group to leave a stinking pile of manure at Parliament House.
Frecklington needs a decisive victory for the political stables to be properly hosed out.
Be warned: Voting for a minor party such as the Greens or Pauline Hanson's One Nation may bring the chaos of a hung parliament with the balance of power in the hands of Looney Tunes like Extinction Rebellion.
After two terms in government, Labor has nothing to show except record jobless misery, failures across health and education and an astonishing debt.
The Premier's reputation is deeply soiled.
Palaszczuk showed poor judgment selecting ministers who were incompetent and arrogant and too easily ensnared in integrity scandals.
And she was dragged into an integrity crisis of her own when she was found in contempt of Parliament after a botched attempt to slash funding to Katter's Australian Party.
She further trashed her credibility suggesting her decision to increase police numbers was "fully funded", and later by claiming the LNP had a secret plan to slash 29,500 public servants. It's untrue.
Labor showed its true colours early when Transport Minister Mark "Mangocube" Bailey was exposed by the Crime and Corruption Commission for operating private email accounts to conduct official ministerial business. That included dialogues with his union comrades and GetUp!
The Courier-Mail reported that Bailey even humiliated Palaszczuk by continuing to use his personal email@example.com email days after she issued a public warning that backchannel emails would not be tolerated.
CCC chief Alan MacSporran QC said he found "no evidence" to suggest Bailey wanted to "conceal corrupt conduct". But he said Bailey was "very foolish" for deleting his private email account.
Other ministers to tarnish the Labor brand included Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, Housing Minister Mick de Brenni, Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath and Employment Minister Shannon Fentiman.
The troubles endured by Trad deeply wounded the Palaszczuk government. Until she became embroiled in a corruption probe, Trad was Labor's most articulate voice.
Palaszczuk suffered enormously when she was forced to dump her after The Courier-Mail revealed Trad's family trust bought an investment property near a Cross River Rail station in a multi-billion dollar project under Trad's direct control.
Initially, Trad failed to declare the interest or conflict of interest to Parliament, Cabinet or the Cabinet Budget Review Committee when making decisions about the project that would have almost certainly increased the value of the property. The LNP accused her of "inside trading".
Even the grubby CFMEU that represents Cross River Rail workers said Trad should resign over the conflict.
In its assessment the CCC said it found no "reasonable" evidence of corruption or dishonesty on Trad's part.
The controversy also led MacSporran to stand aside from the investigation after it was revealed Trad made a personal call to him on a Sunday while the matter was under assessment.
MacSporran said while he would recuse himself, he didn't consider his position to be compromised by the phone call. "I don't do it because I've been compromised, but I do it because there's a need to enhance and maintain the reputation and transparency of the way we operate," he said.
Trad also had to battle accusations that she interfered with the selection of a school principal.
The CCC was only mildly critical of her in the school controversy. Trad denied wrongdoing in both controversies.
D'Ath also goes to the polls with a blemished record. How could an Attorney-General accept a lavish fundraiser from a major casino operator when she is responsible for regulating casinos? Star Entertainment hosted and covered the costs of a Labor fundraiser at its Brisbane casino hotel for D'Ath knowing full-well she regulates gaming.
De Brenni caused uproar when he appointed a foul-mouth CFMEU "bully", Jade Ingham, to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission board. Ingham has been fined repeatedly for breaching the Fair Work Act in the Federal Court - yet de Brenni invited him to sit on the very board that upholds standards on construction sites. And de Brenni also breached the government's advertising code of conduct in a ministerial message attacking the LNP.
Recently, de Brenni became embroiled in another integrity crisis when an Auditor-General's report found he improperly meddled in sports grants to favour Labor electorates.
Fentiman faced tough questions in Parliament when she and her partner Matt Collins, a Treasury official, accepted accommodation and hospitality at a luxury ski chalet in Canada owned by Paul and Nicole Scurrah, who had business dealings with the government. Fentiman didn't declare the trip to Parliament until it was raised at Estimates in 2019.
Meanwhile, Queenslanders are going to the polls unaware of how many spin doctors Palaszczuk hired to help bury these scandals. She repeatedly refused to say.
Des Houghton is a media consultant and a former editor of The Courier-Mail and the Sunday Mail
Originally published as Five reasons to send Labor packing