February 13, 2009 | Graham

Queensland Labor’s “Don’t risk it” strategy?

(Cross posted from What the people want).
My local state member Gary Fenlon (ALP) has a message for me – “Keep Greenslopes in safe hands”.
The message presumably hopes to leverage the uncertainty that tough times bring, is consistent with the fact that Labor is regarded by voters as the best party to handle most issues, and exploits voter concerns that the Liberal National Party is an unknown, new force put together from two adversarial parties that has no strongly defined policies.
Parties exercise tight control over candidates these days, so I am assuming that someone at ALP HQ is reading the same sort of research that we are, and shaping his message accordingly.
I’m not sure what research the Liberal National Party is reading. A billboard at the Normanby Fiveways features two local candidates and Lawrence Springborg.
“We can deliver the Queensland we all want” the billboard proclaims.
While our research shows dissatisfaction with Anna Bligh it doesn’t show any higher satisfaction levels with the Liberal National Party. And while it shows voters unsure of what the LNP stands for, it is not likely that they will find an assertion that the party “can deliver” credible, devaluing your whole message.
In these times of uncertainty, a “Queensland we all want” is also likely to be deemed a mirage. One that’s “not too bad” is more likely to be seen as achieveable.
When you pitch a message that people don’t believe you evoke what is called “cognitive dissonance”. Disbelief at one statement is transferred to all other statements, even if they are true.
(For a brilliant example of how cognitive dissonance can be used, check out the British Conservative Party’s exploitation of Gordon Brown’s claim that Britain has “saved the world” to undermine his credibility on everything.)
We are not yet in an election, so there is time for the pitches to change. If they don’t the new Liberal National Party is definitely heading for a debut loss.

Posted by Graham at 5:06 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. I find it quite incredible that labour is not “on the nose” with most Queenslanders. The LNP have a mountain of material to work with. Anna’s Canberra sojourn, using the Gov. jet to attend football matches, Ex labour MPs receiving extraordinary sums of money as lobbyists, the appalling state of our roads, health system, public transport etc. I hope the LNP can get the message out there. This Queenslander has had more than enough of labour.

    Comment by Sparkyq — February 13, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  2. Perhaps incredible, but nevertheless true. Partly it will be because every time someone accuses Labor of being “corrupt” someone will say, “Yes, but when the Liberals and Nationals were in they were even worse.”
    Someone once told me that politics was a question of alternatives. They were right.

    Comment by Graham Young — February 13, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

  3. I’m with sparky.
    For a start they could calmly remind folks that her major gig, before her grooming program, was education minister, and what are the fruits of those years? Queensland schoolkids in grade 3,5 7 & 9 are at the bottom of the class in national testing, that’s what.
    Ask what’s happened to the 414 million beattie marked for climate response, except her making an exectutive appointment of her husband to be in charge of it.
    They could do an issue a day and go back over her history as a litany of failure, concealed by a wasteful PR juggernaut. Then there’s the rest of the labor cabinets, and how they are rewarded. Talk about a big target.

    Comment by southbrisbane — February 16, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

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