February 15, 2006 | Graham

Health campaign miscarries for Queensland Libs

The Queensland Liberals have been thinking that Dr Death’s final fatality will be Premier Peter Beattie and that government and dominance over the National Party will just fall into their hands in the next state election. Latest research by the Whatthepeoplewant project suggests they might just be hallucinating. The reason is that while voters think Peter Beattie is to blame for the hospital debacle, they also blame the Federal Liberal Party. So, while they’d boot Beattie out if an election were held next weekend, they’re tending to favour the Nationals rather than the Libs, and at the same time Beattie is clawing back ground.
The reasons for partly blaming the Federal Liberals are fact (the feds effectively control the number of doctors being created), a clever marketing campaign by Peter Beattie, and inattention by the Federal Health Minister.
While the Queensland Libs can play incompetence like just about no other political party, apart from the Dems, Abbott deserves a lot of criticism. He’s been all over the place on the health issues, even suggesting at times that the federal government should take health away from the states altogether.
At the moment he’s telling his rosary over RU486 and “right to life”, an issue which is a fait accompli and on which no election in the history of Federation has ever been won, while his state colleagues lose ground to a rickety, tired and incompetent state administration.
The Queenslanders should be telling their electors how Beattie has squandered the rivers of gold from the GST, and they could do with some support from federal heavy-hitters. Particularly as the health problems are unlikely to be unique to Queensland. If Beattie gets out of jail by sheeting the blame home to the Federal Liberals, the infection will spread amongst state premiers.
Beattie’s federal colleagues could also learn some lessons from him. They’ve been banging away at the government on the AWB for some time now without much effect. The government’s performance on the AWB is at best inept, but I suspect voters don’t think Labor would have done any differently. Bread and butter issues like health are another matter. Voters trust Federal Labor more than the Liberals on the softer social issues. Health could really turn things around for them.
Tony Abbott needs to start concentrating on the battles he can win rather than courting martyrdom.

Posted by Graham at 5:07 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Australian Politics

1 Comment

  1. You sure are right Graham. This Queensland hospital issue is a like a fat tender underbelly which could be stuck with great ease by the Libs. If only they could organise some reasonable marketing of their message.
    Reading Health Minister, Stephen Robertson’s, responses in question time over the past few days I can only conclude he is a cardboard cutout because he hasn’t said one intelligent thing yet.
    This should be a lay down mosaire.

    Comment by R — February 16, 2006 @ 2:16 pm

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