The Inside Word

State Politics Update – March 2024

February was a big month for Queensland State Politics and March is expected to be somewhat subdued. Political parties are focusing almost all attention on the local government elections on March 16, which puts state government politics on the back burner, at least for the first half of the month. Two key state by-elections (Inala and Ipswich West) will also coincide with local government elections, more on their implications later.

Parliament resumed for a solitary sitting week in February, the first opportunity for Premier Miles to set out the Government’s legislative priorities and for the Opposition to apply the blow torch to the leadership change.

For the Government, there were four priorities of note. On energy, legislation was introduced to enshrine the Premier’s new target of 75 per cent emissions reduction by 2035 and the Battery Booster program was announced just before Parliament resumed. On housing, the Premier used Parliament to emphasise the Homes for Queenslanders plan. On transparency, the Premier released taxpayer-funded polling from the past four years, undertaken by his predecessor while also announcing changes regarding the release of cabinet documents and a review of the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

The last priority, however, is the most important – crime. The murder of Vyleen White in Redbank Plains was, is, and will continue to be damaging to the Government, clearly reinforcing the Opposition’s key messaging. While the Premier, in contrast to his predecessor, is openly talking about the issue and addressing it across the state, the Government is playing catch-up on community concern. Other developments, such as Cabinet Minister Scott Stewart having his home broken into and the resignation of the Police Commissioner last week, paint a picture of a government not in control and behind the curve.

In our conversations, we still hear dogged optimism and determination from Government members. The Premier continues to be perceived by colleagues as engaging well with the public and media and is openly and clearly working on priorities most important to the community. Government members are also encouraged that progress is being made in key portfolios. For the Opposition, discipline in messaging and exercising patience are still hallmarks. The by-elections coming up in Inala and Ipswich West will be crucial tests in Queensland politics. While some recent state-wide polling has both parties tied for support, our inside take is that seats close to Redbank Plains will see significant swings against the Government, despite polling day coinciding with local Government elections. Inala, on a 28 per cent margin will be retained but when it comes to Ipswich West (14.3 per cent margin), nothing should be taken for granted. Outcomes from these by-elections will heavily influence the speed and shape of government policy in the areas of crime and cost-of-living in the lead up to the State Budget.

Sign Up

Subscribe to our newsletter