June 15th 2019


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Anthony Albanese: NSW left factional warlord takes charge

EDITORIAL Religious freedom: the political and legislative challenges

CANBERRA OBSERVED Will Bill Shorten emerge from the shadows again?

FEDERAL ELECTION Queensland voted for jobs, life and country

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Keating's 'nutters': Don't blame the messenger

ECONOMICS AND SOCIETY Health policy is not immune from neoliberal infection

HUMAN RIGHTS Canada accepts Asia Bibi and family as refugees

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Families keeping the faith: the Benedict and other options

IDEOLOGY Feminist claims for equality, Part 1: The context

HISTORY OF SCIENCE Faith and reason and Father Stanley Jaki, Part 3: More on science and ancient cultures

LIFE ISSUES Families, youth boost crowd at WA Rally for Life

MUSIC Muse of delight: The laugh ascending

CINEMA Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion

BOOK REVIEW Pioneering aviator's flights and fancies

BOOK REVIEW Catholic resistance in a forgotten war

BOOK REVIEW AFA patron's long life of public service

LETTERS

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal, June 5-6, 2019: An account from the live streaming

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FEDERAL ELECTION
Queensland voted for jobs, life and country


by Luke McCormack

News Weekly, June 15, 2019
  • The ALP threatened freedoms of faith-based schools and changes to tax incentives in Australian investments and housing
  • Chief reason for the big swings was the dishonest behaviour of the State and Federal ALP over mining projects for the Galilee Basin

While the Coalition’s successful polling in other states is worthy of close examination, again, it was Queensland that largely determined the outcome. Put simply, Queensland voters elected a government that offered less threats to jobs, income and cost of living; and that offered greater hope for new jobs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s clear and consistent messaging, with an energetic, friendly demeanour, was a major factor in the Coalition’s success. Compared with Mr Shorten’s less enthusiastic, slogan-driven, at times sarcastic approach, Mr Morrison appeared a much more positive candidate for the many swing voters who base their vote on “the vibe” and the performance or personality of the leaders.

The ALP ran with a risky policy platform that included attacks on freedom for faith-based schools, the reintroduction of funding for radical sex-education programs (that seek to normalise transgenderism), the tightening of caps and thresholds for superannuation, and changes to tax incentives in Australian investments and housing. Add to these Labor’s unrealistic renewal energy target (RET) and equally unrealistic electric car sales target. For many Queensland drivers, the mere thought of having to charge a battery-powered car for trips around our enormous and dispersed state is laughable.

United Australia Party’s (UAP) large advertising blitz weakened the Labor vote by the use of clever messaging focused on security and economic threats. In particular, it criticised Labor’s approach to Chinese Government-backed business in Australia, and cast Mr Shorten as “shifty”.

Surprisingly, the UAP did not win a Senate seat in Queensland, but the adver­tising certainly drowned out Labor’s. It will be interesting to see whether the Coalition will borrow some of UAP’s messaging or policy direction in the near future.

Some 8.7 per cent (200,000) of Queensland voters had a strong attachment to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party (PHON). Despite recent bad publicity over disgraced candidate Steven Dickson, PHON increased its first-preference votes by 3.4 per cent for House of Representatives candidates.

In the Senate election for Queensland, the PHON vote is currently at around 9.8 per cent and Malcolm Roberts is likely to be re-elected to the Senate after his previous departure over citizenship issues.

The earthquake

The big story lies within the heart of our big state, around city centres like Rockhampton and Mackay (the electorates of Capricornia and Dawson). Big swings were recorded against the ALP and towards PHON, UAP and the LNP. The result was a two-party preferred (2pp) swing towards incumbents Michelle Landry and George Christensen of 10-11 per cent.

 

Clarity on so-called preference deals

Despite all the election commentary it is worth remembering that the only “preference arrangements” that really take place is what a voter does with his or her pencil on the ballots. Journalists often report on preference “deals”, but nowadays that only impacts those pesky pieces of paper offered to voters as they near a polling place – the how-to-vote cards.

Much was made of Clive Palmer’s UAP deal with the Coalition, yet there was under-reporting of his party’s dismal turnout of volunteers to help at polling booths. This is important, as how-to-vote cards (leaflets or emails or texts) from a party are merely suggestions. If you never see this how-to-vote advice, then the “deal” has no impact on you. In other words, if a party or candidate doesn’t have a small army of volunteers to hand these out, then the preference “deal” has no bearing at all in the mind of the voters at that polling place.

 

The chief reason for the big swings was the dishonest behaviour of the State and Federal ALP over mining projects for the Galilee Basin. Labor reneged on its previous support of the Carmichael (Adani) project. Shorten promised instead a pooled redundancy scheme to get workers out of dirty coal jobs and into new jobs.

The Australian Workers Union and the CMFEU declared open war with their ALP federal leaders during the election campaign, which indicated there would be an electoral problem for Labor. Nor was Labor helped by former Greens Senator Bob Brown, who, with his protest caravan, travelled from Tasmania all the way to North Queensland to “Stop Adani”, only to be greeted by hostile local residents.

So, Labor is now reduced to just five seats in Queensland, four south of the Brisbane River plus Blair, centred on Ipswich. The only ALP incumbent who did well on 2pp figures was Terri Butler in Griffith, where the Greens received 24 per cent of first preferences.

It is noteworthy that only two LNP incumbents received 2pp swings against them: Warren Entsch and Trevor Evans. Both had been strong supporters of redefining the meaning of marriage.

Other factors at play

Pro-woman pro-life groups, with the support of the National Civic Council, campaigned in nine marginal Queensland seats against Labor’s policy to force public hospitals to perform abortions to full term or lose funding. Queensland’s Cherish Life used radio ads, leaflets, social media, newspapers and digital media to promote the message, “Put Labor Last”.

Furthermore, Shorten had also promised a plebiscite on whether Australia should become a republic. Queensland voters, back in 1999, polled the strongest “No” vote against a republic in the referendum held under Prime Minister John Howard. Queenslanders for a Constitutional Monarchy (QCM) campaigned against Shorten’s proposal in the electorates of Longman (won by LNP), Blair (almost won by LNP) and Dickson (held by LNP despite GetUp campaign). QCM methods were simple, humble even, but the message was potent.

The National Civic Council in Queensland welcomes a Coalition win and the return of Bob Katter, member for Kennedy. The NCC will lobby the Federal Government to support the building of more dams; support a new HELE coal-fired power plant; expand the sugar-to-ethanol industry; expand our fishing industry; end funding of propaganda that promotes transgender theory to children, and end unfair tax and child-care arrangements that punish families that prefer parent care.

Luke McCormack is national vice-president of the National Civic Council.




























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