Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad visiting Paniyiri in Brisbane. Picture: Peter Wallis
Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad visiting Paniyiri in Brisbane. Picture: Peter Wallis

Qld suffers while Labor and LNP slumber

OPINION

IT SOUNDS glib, but the 2019 national election was a watershed moment and nowhere more so than here in Queensland.

Sure, Bill Shorten and his team failed to produce a policy package that was understandable and acceptable to most people in this state (a point many didn't recognise during the campaign, including this very fallible columnist).

The post mortem on Labor's national campaign and its impact and importance in Queensland will occur over the months ahead.

However, there is a more urgent need to shake things up politically in this great state.

Big changes are needed in Queensland politics if the Labor Party and the LNP are to have any future and there's going to be genuine progress in the economy and the community.

The state government under Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad really has no point.

It is a government in search of a purpose.

The government doesn't seem to do much, which is a good thing because those few things they do attempt they stuff up.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: AAP/Darren England

The federal election was a crystal ball for Palaszczuk and her lazy colleagues.

It's not a pretty picture but they could turn things around by actually building an agenda.

They need to stop dithering and hiding behind weasel words on big development issues, especially mining the Galilee Basin.

They also need a new relationship with the union movement that moves beyond being a lucky dip stand for officials who want a comfy spot on a board, an armchair ride into parliament or a free ticket to policymaking forums.

It's been extraordinary to listen to senior Labor shadow ministers over the past five years say, after visiting the state government in George Street, the trade union affiliation of a ministerial office was more important than any policy being discussed.

Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad visiting Paniyiri in Brisbane. Picture: Peter Wallis
Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad visiting Paniyiri in Brisbane. Picture: Peter Wallis

The state government also needs to establish a relationship with business - any relationship.

At the moment many business leaders and individual entrepreneurs can't get in the door of ministerial offices and when they do it is only to listen to do nothing ministers and staffers tell them why things can't happen.

At the same time ministers who deliver services should buy dictionaries and look up the words service and delivery.

After getting over the shock of discovering what this phrase means they should start getting services up to scratch and deliver for the public.

It is not rocket science.

On the Conservative side, LNP leader Deb Frecklington needs to step up or stand down.

No one can remember anything she's said she took over from Tim Nicholls.

Frecklington has an easygoing presence that should work but she seems handicapped by three things.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: AAP/Richard Gosling
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: AAP/Richard Gosling

She doesn't live in Brisbane - or any of the other big media markets in Queensland.

This shouldn't be a deal breaker but it means you have to work harder to get your message across.

In the LNP, she leads a political organisation that's more of a camel than a thoroughbred racehorse.

Internal and personality differences must be dealt with.

Last, the LNP parliamentary party has been out to lunch instead of developing new and relevant policies for Queensland.

Frecklington's deputy Tim Mander has a profile you'd need a well-resourced search party to locate.

If these people demonstrate in the coming few months they can't do the job they are put there to do, the people who run the parliamentary LNP caucus should find replacements.

They then should do those things that oppositions are supposed to do day in, day out.

They have to build an alternative agenda for Queensland and start holding the do-nothing Palaszczuk Government to account.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Deputy Leader Tim Mander at a post election media conference at Government House. Picture: AAP/Richard Gosling
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Deputy Leader Tim Mander at a post election media conference at Government House. Picture: AAP/Richard Gosling

Surveying politics in Queensland, it's impossible to think of a time when there's been at the same time such a bad government and an equally bad opposition.

It's often said the Palaszczuk Government is blessed for only one reason - they face no scrutiny.

Through the rolling dumpster fire of woeful transport performance (especially the impossible to miss rail-fail), ramping of ambulances at hospitals and shortages of hospital beds and staff and the lack of a plan to tackle debt or have a funded agenda to deal with the infrastructure deficit.

Pointing out the failures and the mistakes in state politics is a simple task and the answer to the question of what's to be done is just as simple.

The Labor Government and the LNP Opposition just have to turn up to work and do their day jobs.

Since the January 2015 election, covering all that's happened since, both sides have been collectively asleep at the wheel.

Dennis Atkins is The Courier-Mail's national affairs editor. Email: dennis.atkins@news.com.au



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