The Inside Word
July State Politics Update
August is shaping up to be a fiery month for Queensland Parliament, with two weeks of Budget Estimates Hearings ahead of sittings resuming next week, providing a tangible opportunity for the Opposition to get departmental data from critical areas such as housing and health.
The context for these sitting-weeks includes the AFR’s reporting of a state election poll-lead for the LNP, and the Federal bi-election result in the seat of Fadden – where Labor’s primary vote remained at 22 per cent and saw the LNP campaigning heavily on the state issue of crime.
The Government, which to its credit has kept the health portfolio relatively under-control, has started to turn-around housing policy delivery and has also announced a review into residential care. So, while the Government is behind, our conversations have been telling us that there is still a strong belief within the Government’s ranks that the next election could be won.
The political situations in other states might also hold lessons for Queensland. The Victorian Government’s decision on the Commonwealth Games came as a huge shock and reinforced the view that big sporting events and facilities are not an automatic strength for incumbent governments. The Queensland Government’s budget position is far stronger, however there will be increased scrutiny about any budget blowouts on related Olympics infrastructure. On the other side of the country, the polling in Western Australia, if accurate, shows that the departure of a trusted leader in calm circumstances can still be a catalyst for large changes in voting intentions.
For the Government, expect reinforced messaging about cost-of-living, job creation and action on housing supply. The Opposition will use estimates to try and score key blows in areas such as health, housing and the Olympics and will otherwise be emboldened to continue its rhetoric that crime is out-of-control.