Welcome to this month’s edition of the Inside Word - and what a full political agenda we have.
Last month saw challenges in the New South Wales Coalition with the major rift between Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Nationals Deputy Premier John Barilaro over vegetation management and koala habitats. Mr Barilaro had threatened to take his Nationals team to the crossbench over the issue, though retracted from that position. These events took their toll with Mr Barilaro now on four weeks personal leave. Whilst the Victorian state lockdown restrictions have been relaxed by a notch, pressure remains intense on Premier Dan Andrews and his colleagues over the management of the COVID-19 hotel quarantine. We saw the resignation of former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos from her Commission and as a member of parliament, and the lining up of several key public servants as the target in the blame game.
Staying with State politics, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has visited the Governor and the election starting gun has gone off. Courier Mail reported polling shows a two-point lead to the ALP over the LNP on a two-party preferred basis. This poll highlights the public’s satisfaction with the Premier’s handling of COVID-19 and is a four-point reversal from the previous poll which had the LNP ahead. The SAS Group has prepared an election brief and policy summary for clients which we will update throughout the campaign.
Then we have the budget of all budgets! Just six months ago we were looking forward to a surplus budget and Commonwealth debt reduction. Today we are facing a trillion dollar hole in 2023-24 as the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg set the course to protect jobs and rebuild the economy. These are, as they say, unprecedented times.