Qld Should ‘Keep Ship Steady’: Premier Palaszczuk

By AAP
October 24, 2020 Updated: October 24, 2020

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has implored Queenslanders to stay the course with her Labor government at next week’s election, saying their lifestyle amid the COVID-19 pandemic was “the envy of other parts of world”.

With one week remaining until polling day, Palaszczuk maintained pressure on Deb Frecklington’s Liberal National Party opposition, championing $1.83 billion in road and transport policy promises in Far North Queensland.

Palaszczuk on Oct 24 also declared a re-elected Labor government would inject $7.5 million into the FairPlay voucher program for sport registration fee subsidies, and would turn 148 hectares of land at Currumbin into an eco-parkland.

She told reporters that Queenslanders should “keep the ship steady” amid the pandemic.

“I want Queenslanders to think long and hard about the lifestyle they’re enjoying—we are the envy of other parts of the world at the moment because we are able to enjoy our lifestyle when other people are locked in their homes,” Palaszczuk said.

Her remarks come as analysts suggest Frecklington is succeeding in setting the agenda for the October 31 election, but it may be too late.

The LNP and the minor parties have been largely starved for attention by a well-oiled Labor Party machine over the first two weeks of the campaign.

Frecklington has this week taken the initiative and enlarged her profile, making big spending promises and announcing a controversial youth curfew plan in two northern cities.

The LNP leader on Saturday promised to upgrade Old Cleveland Road in Brisbane’s east, forming part of a $1 billion “congestion-busting stimulus program” for southeast Queensland.

“This upgrade is another part of our plan to supercharge the economy and lead Queensland out of recession,” Frecklington said in a statement.

Griffith University political scientist Paul Williams said Frecklington is realising she has nothing to lose, and needs to make a powerful case for change.

“She should have done that all along,” Williams told AAP.

“She’s had a good week in terms of personal performance, but it could be too little too late.”

Williams said regardless of who was setting the agenda it had been a very low-energy campaign, which he said favours the Labor incumbent.

Like the LNP, minor parties are also struggling, he said.

The Greens have not performed any publicity stunts, businessman Clive Palmer is struggling to gain traction and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has been restrained.

The only federal visit was from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Queensland state elections are almost always colourful. This one’s not,” Williams said.

A Newspoll on Friday night showed Labor ahead in two marginal southeast seats – Mansfield and the LNP-held Pumicestone – but trailing in the south Townsville seat of Mundingburra.

The electoral commission said 580,000 Queenslanders had already cast their ballot by 3.30pm on Friday, while 880,000 have applied to vote by post.

Earlier on Saturday, Labor also pledged an additional $10 million for the expansion of services at the Lyons Street Diversionary Centre for public intoxication in Cairns.

Angelo Risso and Marty Silk in Brisbane