Life-and-death issues that could cost Premier election

 

WITH Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk riding high in the popularity stakes, there's a strong belief - particularly in Labor circles - she is home and hosed at the October 31 poll.

It's a conclusion easily reached, because the perception is that the Premier has handled the coronavirus crisis well, protecting most Queenslanders from its deadly ravages.

But the jury is out on how voters will judge Labor's cautious approach to the economic recovery, after Ms Palaszczuk resisted attempts for weeks to open the borders, despite advice from Canberra that it was safe.

Ms Palaszczuk's likability and her "steady as she goes'' approach will stand Labor in good stead, although integrity scandals, high youth crime, poor economic performance - even before COVID-19 - and a child safety crisis will not help.

Before Labor strategists get too carried away and start stockpiling the Moet for the celebratory drinks on poll night, there are a couple of factors to consider before October 31.

Those closest to God go to church - and like those who fish, they vote.

Many were not happy when they saw thousands of people marching in the streets with no repercussions and they were stopped from going to Sunday Mass.

They are also upset with the Government's pro-abortion laws and the fact Labor has not ruled out voluntary assisted dying reforms, better known as euthanasia.

If you think the Christian vote doesn't influence the outcome of elections, take a look at the federal Brisbane seat of Longman.

Few people gave the Coalition any hope of winning the Brisbane seat of Longman at last year's federal poll.

Ten months before the May 2019 federal poll, the Labor Party had won the Longman by-election after incumbent Susan Lamb became embroiled in the so-called parliamentary eligibility crisis.

Lamb retained the seat after LNP candidate Trevor Ruthenberg was outed for claiming to have been the recipient of the Australian Service Medal, a distinction higher than what he had actually received, the Australian Defence Medal.

"If I screwed up then I screwed up and all I can do is apologise,'' he told The Courier-Mail's Steven Wardill, who broke the story.

And while the medal controversy did the LNP candidate no favours, there were other factors at play.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday. Picture: Attila Csaszar
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday. Picture: Attila Csaszar

 

The Longman by-election was a major test for then Labor leader Bill Shorten.

As such, the Labor Party threw everything at the election, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaigning and advertising.

Had Labor lost, Shorten would have had to walk the plank.

Far-left agitators Get Up! doorknocked the electorate and honed in on a controversial healthcare policy of the then Turnbull government.

But there was another factor that is often underestimated in the Longman by-election post-mortem.

It was the Christian vote, more specifically the Catholic vote.

At the time, the Turnbull government was being attacked by the Catholic Church for its independent schools funding policy, which they said threatened the viability of their educational offerings.

On that Super Saturday of by-elections, Catholic and Anglican priests told parishioners to vote for any party other than the Coalition.

They did - in droves.

Mr Turnbull changed that education funding anomaly and after being dumped as leader, it was Prime Minister Scott Morrison who reaped the benefits of the Catholics returning to the conservative fold.

With Shorten's politics of envy, a terrible, complacent Labor campaign and Morrison fighting for his political life, the LNP's Terry Young won Longman at the general election. Labor strategists had put Longman in the column that said "certain win''. The arrogance and hubris that was the hallmark of the 2019 campaign had not factored in the Longman peculiarities.

The lesson from Longman was clear: Don't underestimate the Christian vote, because it votes as a bloc.

On October 31, they'll be voting for the LNP.

The pro-life movement - Cherish Life - is about to let Queensland voters know about Labor's strong pro-abortion stance.

It has drawn up a hit list of 14 Labor seats - and one held by the Greens - which they say are vulnerable on October 31.

They include Townsville, Whitsunday, Gaven, Mundingburra, Mansfield, Maiwar, Barron River, Redlands, Keppel, Cairns, Springwood, Redcliffe, Pine Rivers, Mount Ommaney and Thuringowa.

All seats are held by margins of up to 5 per cent.

Cherish Life will also mount campaigns to retain five LNP seats that it sees as crucial to an LNP win.

Cherish Life says, based on number-crunching from previous elections, it can influence a seat by anything up to 3.5 per cent.

It says many swinging voters are appalled that the new pro-abortion legislation, passed in State Parliament in 2018, allows babies to be aborted with the approval of two doctors right up to birth, or full term.

Women do not need any medical approval up to 22 weeks to have an abortion.

The Australian Family Association has opposed so-called voluntary-assisted-dying reforms.

It has written to a state parliamentary inquiry on aged care, end-of-life and palliative care and voluntary assisted dying suggesting funding for palliative care be substantially increased "so that all terminally ill patients can receive the end-of-life care to which they are entitled''.

Under current law, doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia are criminal offences in Queensland.

It would be safe to assume that anybody who opposes abortion and euthanasia in Queensland will not vote Labor.

There is no doubt that billionaire Clive Palmer's advertising blitzkrieg against Bill Shorten hurt Labor at the last federal election.

He spent $68 million to unsuccessfully elect Palmer United Party people, but in real terms what he did was amplify and reaffirm the notion that Shorten was dodgy - he says one thing in St Kilda and another thing in Clermont. Palmer is gearing up for a similar campaign against Ms Palaszczuk.

After all, current LNP president Dave Hutchinson is controversially close to Palmer - some say too close.

Then there's One Nation and the Katter Party, formidable forces, particularly in the regions. Their preferences will help the conservatives and if there's a hung parliament, expect Katter and Hanson to side with the LNP to form government.

This contest is far from over. It will go the full distance. Expect a split decision by the judges.

 

Cherish Life protesters rally outside Brisbane’s Parliament House in 2018 to protest the late-term abortion Bill.
Cherish Life protesters rally outside Brisbane’s Parliament House in 2018 to protest the late-term abortion Bill.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Life-and-death issues that could cost Premier election



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