LNP leader Deb Frecklington has had no more luck against the Labor juggernaut than her predecessor Tim Nicholls.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington has had no more luck against the Labor juggernaut than her predecessor Tim Nicholls.

Premier’s reign is only just beginning

WHEN the curtain comes down on the career of Annastacia Palaszczuk, she will be recognised as Queensland's most successful Labor premier.

Her popularity, work ethic and the prosperity attached to a resources and infrastructure "golden age'' over the next decade sets her up to overtake William Forgan-Smith as the state's longest-serving Labor premier.

Forgan-Smith did just over 10 years in the top job in the 1930s. Peter Beattie served as premier for just under a decade.

That means Palaszczuk would have to win the 2020 and 2024 elections, a big ask in the unpredictable world of politics.

But there's nothing unpredictable about Queensland Labor's ability to out-muscle the LNP and win elections.

We saw how they did it in Longman with Susan Lamb. Between the unions, the Greens, Get Up! and a disciplined, almost fanatical, Labor volunteer structure, the LNP is staring at a long time in the political wilderness.

Let's put aside policy for this exercise. The LNP could offer every voter a brand new Mercedes during the next election campaign and they'd struggle to get cut-through. Labor would simply offer voters a new Porsche. Whatever it takes.

 

Treasurer Jackie Trad is still in Parliament due to the LNP’s lack of killer instinct. Illustration: Brett Lethbridge
Treasurer Jackie Trad is still in Parliament due to the LNP’s lack of killer instinct. Illustration: Brett Lethbridge

 

That's Labor's motto in Queensland. Labor has more resources and will to win than the LNP.

Labor has a visceral hatred of losing to the Tories. And strategically, they take no prisoners.

Let's analyse two game-changing seats at the last state election.

In South Brisbane, Treasurer Jackie Trad got 36 per cent of the primary vote, with Greens candidate Amy McMahon getting about 34 per cent. The LNP stood a candidate in South Brisbane, Simon Quinn, and he received about 24 per cent.

The LNP state executive recommended that the party put Trad last on its how-to-vote cards, which would have handed the seat to the Greens candidate.

Strategically, bringing down Labor's best parliamentary performer and the deputy premier seems to make logical sense. Enter LNP leader Tim Nicholls, who decided the LNP would be preferencing Trad in front of the Greens. When preferences were distributed, Trad was gifted the seat by the LNP. Had the LNP put Trad last, she would not be in Parliament.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington has had no more luck against the Labor juggernaut than her predecessor Tim Nicholls.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington has had no more luck against the Labor juggernaut than her predecessor Tim Nicholls.

In Maiwar, former LNP cabinet minister Scott Emerson received 42 per cent of the primary vote. The Greens candidate Michael Berkman got 27.78 per cent of the primary, just edging out Labor's Ali King who received 27.53 per cent.

On Labor preferences, Berkman beat Emerson. The compulsory voting system brought in by Labor killed off Emerson. Had it been optional preferential, as it had the previous election where Emerson polled 43 per cent of the primary, he'd still be in Parliament.

Whatever it takes. Can you imagine if the Labor Party had the chance to knock off Jarrod Bleijie or Tim Mander through a preferencing deal that they wouldn't make it happen? The LNP doesn't have the killer instinct of Labor. And with the likes of Get Up! coming in so strongly behind Labor, the task is even more onerous.

GetUp! says it's an independent organisation. That's quite possibly the most laughable mission statement in Australian political history. Let's call them out for who they are.

They are socialists who share that same visceral hatred of the LNP that Labor does.

In the 2015-16 financial year, GetUp! spent more than $10 million on political campaigning. Of this, $6.5 million was went to "public expression of views on a political party, candidate in an election or member of the Federal Parliament".

A further $1.7 million was spent on "public expression of views in an election". This is as much money as a major political party would spend on an entire state election campaign.

According to their website, GetUp! received more than $800,000 in donations last month. They receive funding from trade unions, including a $1 million donation from the CFMEU. GetUp! has also received donations from overseas activist organisations.

In Longman, GetUp! made 32,000 direct robocalls aimed at convincing voters to opt for Labor. They distributed how-to-vote cards, material through direct mail, print, television, radio and online advertising, and spent thousands of dollars on campaign research.

Annastacia Palaszczuk thanks supporters on election night 2017.
Annastacia Palaszczuk thanks supporters on election night 2017.

In every single instance, GetUp! advocated that voters preference Labor or the Greens first. In some circumstances, GetUp! gave voters an option to preference a minor party or Independent, and then preference Labor or the Greens.

In no circumstance did GetUp! advocate preferencing the Coalition above Labor or the Greens. The reality is that Queensland is now not maroon in colour. It's a richer shade of dark red.

That doesn't bode well for Malcolm Turnbull, nor does it promise an LNP state government anytime soon. Until the LNP realises that winning is everything in politics, they will forever be consigned to being the secondary major political party in Queensland.

The Palaszczuk reign has only just begun.

Artist’s impression of the cable car development proposed for Tasmania’s Mt Wellington
Artist’s impression of the cable car development proposed for Tasmania’s Mt Wellington

Look to Tassie for inspiration

TASMANIA is about to get a beautiful $50 million cable car project, winding along the main fire trail within Hobart's Mount Wellington Park. This park attracts about 300,000 visitors a year.

The mountain is celebrated through activities, art, literature and festivals - it's a vital part of the community's identity. In other words, Tasmanians love this park and want to showcase it to the world.

Hence the momentum around a cable car project. The cable car would be 2.7km in length with a height of about 1000m, snaking through a beautiful part of Tasmania.

Contrast this "can do'' attitude in Tasmania - easily the star state on recent tourism numbers - with the Gold Coast and its bid for a cable car linking Springbrook to Mudgeeraba.

The Springbrook cable car project was first mooted 20 years ago. Successive governments and the local council have rejected it after lobbying from local conservationists. It's the same story with a cruise ship terminal planned for The Spit.

The problem on the Gold Coast is that politicians - aside from Mayor Tom Tate - have been hoodwinked by The Greens. Organisations such as Save our Spit and Save our Broadwater talk up a big game and politicians - always with one eye on the ballot box - put new tourism projects in the too-hard basket.

When it comes to taking on the greenies, they have hearts as big as split peas. As a result, the Gold Coast looks tired and in need of fresh attractions.

With the theme parks under pressure due to the continuing fallout of the Dreamworld tragedy, the Gold Coast is in danger of being left behind as destinations such as Tasmania steal its thunder.

Qantas airliners at Brisbane Airport
Qantas airliners at Brisbane Airport

Qantas accepts blame

QANTAS has expressed "genuine regret'' after causing environmental harm to the lower Brisbane River estuary after a toxic-foam spill.

In an "enforceable undertaking'', Qantas accepted it had "unlawfully caused serious environmental harm, contrary to section 437 (2) of the Act".

The environmental harm was caused by the release of a fluorinated aqueous film-forming foam from a pump room to the sewer network and to Pandanus drain, which discharges to Boggy Creek and the lower Brisbane River estuary.

This occurred between April 10 and June 2 last year.

In the undertaking, it said there did not appear to be procedures in place to manage an unexpected release of the foam to the stormwater or sewerage systems of this scale.

The report said the pressure gauge had failed due to corrosion.

The State Government was forced to issue a warning that people avoid eating seafood that was caught in the investigation area.

Qantas will provide $248,000 to "support the conduct of the monitoring and reporting activities''.

 

Tate sues over report

GOLD Coast Mayor Tom Tate is suing the ABC over a Four Corners report that centred on his role in the sale of the Bruce Bishop Car Park in Surfers Paradise.

The Four Corners story in question and a series of reports by the Gold Coast Bulletin sparked an inquiry by the Crime and Corruption Commission into the Gold Coast City Council.

 

Customer service letdown

WHAT'S going on with shop assistants? I've had a spate of letters from people saying common courtesy has gone out the window.

People are saying they have noticed a trend where somebody is being served and the assistant will stop and take a phone call or attend to someone else instead of processing the credit-card transaction of the person directly in front of them.

It's obviously bugging people. First in first served, they're saying.

 

On the trot for new premises

THE former Parklands Harness Racing Club met with Racing Queensland top brass yesterday to sort out their "homeless" problem.

Parklands trots vacated its Parkwood site a decade ago - as did the greyhounds - to make way for the new hospital.

They were promised compensation but the money never landed. Now they want a new facility. If the State Government decides to redirect some of the revenue it derives from a new corporate bookies tax back to racing, it will solve their problem.