On the basis of today’s Stafford by-election, you would have to put your money on Anastacia Palasczcuk being the next premier of Queensland after the next election, due around March next year.
According to the Australian, the swing against the Newman government was 18.6%. The primary votes are almost a mirror image of those achieved at the last election with the ALP taking around 51% of the vote and the LNP 33%. At the last election it was LNP 51% and ALP 33%.
That means that the Newman government doesn’t look so much like the Bjelke-Petersen Government that ruled for 19 years between 1968 and 1987, but the Borbidge government that ruled for less than three between 1995 and 1998.
Despite what political dilettantes, like Newscorp’s Peter Brent think, by-elections can be good indicators of what voters will do at general elections. You just have to be careful what by-elections you pick.
By-elections can be a turning point. The Ryan by-election in 2001 was one such. As a result of this by-election John Howard reversed unpopular decisions, demonstrated he was listening, won the subsequent Aston by-election and the following federal election.
Campbell Newman is not displaying the same characteristics. His response to the by-election loss is to say that he has heard the message from Queenslanders but he is going to keep doing what he has been doing:
“We’ve heard you, we understand how you feel, and I pledge this evening to continue to work hard,” Mr Newman told LNP supporters at a party function on Saturday night.
“In fact, we will redouble our efforts to improve this state and to take it forward with a bright future.”
Anastacia Palasczcuk is now in the same position Newman was before the last election – she is the premier-in-waiting.
Voters complain that they didn’t know what Newman was going to do. That was because journalists never asked him.
It is to be hoped journalists won’t make the same mistake this time.
I’m tired of the “Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for…” stickers. Maybe you didn’t, but we, collectively, did, and we can’t disclaim responsibility for our vote because we were too stupid to ask relevant questions.
The government is about to change, so now the opposition has to explain how it is going to fix the state’ economy.
“What we did last time”, is not a sufficient answer.