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Queensland Election Newsletter
Issue 5, 30 January 2015
 
With less than 24 hours left to go, babies across Queensland can breathe a sigh of relief as the threat of being cuddled by a politician eases. Speculation over the likely leadership of the LNP should Premier Campbell Newman lose his seat, and Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s grasp of economics, have been the points of focus in the final days ahead of Saturday’s general election of the 89 members of the Legislative Assembly.
 
Leadership of an LNP Government made a resurgence this week, with yet another ReachTEL poll in the Premier’s seat of Ashgrove showing Newman behind ALP challenger, Kate Jones.  According to the poll, Newman’s support has slipped from 43.7 per cent to 42.3 per cent over the past two weeks of the election. Although Jones’ support has at the same time dropped, from 47.6 per cent to 46.5 per cent, with the benefit of Greens preferences, she has extended her lead over the Premier in the 2PP vote and is now ahead 54 per cent to 46 per cent.  Newman and his LNP colleagues have consistently sought to neutralise the issue and debate about his possible successor, stridently repeating that they believe either the Premier will win his seat and the Government will be returned or that Newman will lose his seat and the LNP will lose the State.
 
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s charm offensive across Queensland continued this week, with the one perceived hiccup being her inability to provide the rate of GST in a radio interview.  While wooing voters, she has made few big ticket policy announcements and spending commitments have continued to be modest in stark contrast to the LNP.
 
In terms of policy, the key differentiator between the major parties at this election remains assets sales.  On the LNP side, the proposed sale of assets has created a sizable war chest for the Government from which infrastructure and other commitments will be met.  Premier Newman has used this to announce a raft of new spending commitments in the final week while at the same time, keeping to its messages around paying down debt. 
 
Perhaps to underline the Party’s economic management prowess, while unveiling election costings, Treasurer Tim Nicholls announced he had found an additional $1.3 billion for funding its commitments; for Labor, the decision to oppose privatisation has curtailed spending commitments.  Campaign commitments from the LNP now total $6.049 billion, while the ALP has only committed to $1.274 billion in spending.
 
Perhaps one of the greatest surprises of the campaign was the Premier’s accusation that criminal bikie gangs were funding the ALP campaign and that these funds were being funneled via the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).  Sources from both sides of politics have indicated these statements first made at a Town Hall-style leaders debate a week ago have been detrimental to the LNP’s statewide vote and in particular, the Premier’s prospects of being elected in Ashgrove.
 
The Queensland electorate is clearly wary and weary of politicians making unsubstantiated claims in relation to issues of probity.  At the 2012 poll, then Premier Bligh’s comments on these issues saw the ALP’s vote crash over the final ten days of the campaign.  While the outcome is unlikely to be as extreme, there are parallels to this year’s election.
The Leaders
The Hon. Campbell Newman MP
Premier of Queensland
Leader of the Liberal National Party
Member for Ashgrove (QLD)
Liberal National Party (LNP)
 
Campbell Newman was elected the Premier of Queensland and Member for Ashgrove on 24 March 2012 after leading the LNP to a landslide election victory against former Labor Premier, Anna Bligh.
 
Newman resigned as Brisbane Lord Mayor in April 2011 following endorsement as Queensland LNP leader and selection as the Party’s candidate to contest the seat of Ashgrove.  This was a unique situation in that Newman was endorsed as LNP leader and alternative Premier from outside of the legislature, needing to secure the seat of Ashgrove at the March election if he was to take the premiership.  At the time, LNP MP Jeff Seeney, now Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, became Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
 
The electorate of Ashgrove is located in Brisbane’s inner west and includes the suburbs of The Gap, Gaythorne, Enoggera, Ashgrove and parts of Mitchelton and Alderley.
 
Before entering Parliament, Newman was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane City Council between 2004 and 2011; Australia's largest local council, with over one million residents and an annual budget in 2010 of $2.8 billion.
 
Newman holds an honours degree in civil engineering from the University of NSW and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Queensland.
 
Raised in a political family, Newman’s father, the late Kevin Newman, was the Federal Member for Bass (Tasmania) from 1975 until 1983, and held several ministries under Malcolm Fraser’s leadership.  His mother, Jocelyn Newman, was a Tasmanian Senator between 1986 and 2002, and a Howard Government minister.
 
Before becoming Brisbane Lord Mayor, Newman had a 13-year career as an engineer with the Australian Army, retiring in 1993 with the rank of Major.  He then worked in the private sector as a consultant to a number of large Australian companies, including Telstra, BHP Australia Coal, and the Hydro Electric Commission in Tasmania, and later, was an executive with leading Queensland agribusiness, Grainco Australia.  Newman also ran his own consulting firm specialising in bulk commodity logistics.
 
Newman is married to Lisa and they have two daughters, Rebecca and Sarah.
 
The Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP
Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations
Member for Inala (QLD)
Australian Labor Party
 
Annastacia Palaszczuk was first elected to the Queensland Parliament in 2006 as the Member for Inala when she succeeded her father, the Hon Henry Palaszczuk, who had held the seat since 1992.  She was subsequently re-elected in 2009.
 
The electorate of Inala in Brisbane’s south includes the suburbs of Durack, Richlands, Carole Park, Camira and Inala, and is considered the second safest Labor seat in Queensland.
 
Following the March 2009 state election, Palaszczuk was appointed Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs.  In early 2011, Palaszczuk was then promoted to Minister for Transport as a result of a Cabinet reshuffle, while retaining the Multicultural Affairs portfolio. Palaszscuk later took over from Anna Bligh as Labor leader following the party’s defeat at the 2012 election.
 
Palaszczuk is a long-term member of the AWU faction of the Labor Party and receives strong support from the group.
 
Palaszczuk was born in Brisbane and grew up in the electorate of Inala.  She attended the University of Queensland graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws.  She has also received a Master of Arts (Honours) from the University of London, holds a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University and is a British Council Chevening Scholar.
 
Prior to her election to parliament, Palaszczuk was a senior ministerial advisor to the Beattie ALP Government in the portfolios of Communities, Disabilities and Seniors; Environment; and Mines and Energy.  She also spent time as an advisor to former federal minister the Hon David Beddall and as a tutor at the ANU and the University of Queensland.
 
Palaszczuk is also a Former President of Queensland Labor Lawyers, National President of Labor Lawyers, Secretary of the London House Goodenough Club.
 
She enjoys reading, theatre, cricket, rugby league and sailing in her spare time.
 
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