WARNING: Preference plan could cause government dysfunction
LONG regarded as their political nemesis, The Greens party will receive a leg-up from the LNP in the 2020 State Election, opening up the door to government dysfunction according to the Labor Party.
On Tuesday, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington revealed her party would preference Labor candidates last in all seats at the October 31 election because of the Queensland Government’s failure to approve the expansion of New Acland coal mine on the Darling Downs – a process delayed by ongoing legal action.
Labor’s Queensland Senator Murray Watt said a decision like this had never been seen in Queensland and it could have unintended consequences as the state looked to rebuild following the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Right now, in Queensland, as well as the rest of the country, we face a very, very uncertain time post-COVID, with the state of the economy and an extended recession,” Senator Watt said.
“But this decision from the LNP risks bringing into place in Queensland a ragtag coalition of LNP, One Nation, Greens, Katter and Palmer to run our state at a time when, more than ever before, we’ve needed stability.
“So that is a massive risk to the Queensland economy and a massive risk to Queensland as a whole to have that kind of ragtag coalition trying to run a government at a time when we need stability and certainty around the economic future of our state.”
Senator Watt said this decision raised big questions for the federal leaders of these parties. “How does Mr Morrison explain that his party in Queensland is preferencing – in every single seat across Queensland – a party that has accused domestic violence survivors of fabricating their stories, that has spent decades vilifying Asians and Muslims and other Australians and has lined up with anti-vaxxers during and before the COVID pandemic?” he asked.
“How does Mr Morrison explain that decision of his party in Queensland? How does Mr Frydenberg explain the decision of his party in Queensland to preference an anti-Semitic party in every single [seat] in Queensland?
“And as for the Nationals, who spend their entire time going around accusing the Greens of being job destroyers, well, now they’ve decided to preference the Greens ahead of Labor in every single seat in Queensland.
“For every time that they go out there, Matt Canavan, George Christensen, Michelle Landry, the whole lot of them saying that the Greens are the worst people in the world and are going to bring the roof down, now they’re actually deciding to elect more Greens to the Queensland Parliament.”
CQ’s federal members of parliament Queensland Senator Matt Canavan and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry justified their party’s new-found support for the Greens.
Senator Canavan asserted the LNP had not done any deals with minor parties on preferences.
“The only major party to do that will be the Labor Party who will once again do a deal with the Greens on preferences,” he said.
“The LNP is right to put Labor last because they are worse than the Greens.
“Both Labor and the Greens want to shut down coal mining but only Labor has the power to do it as we have seen with their refusal to approve 500 jobs at the New Acland mine.”
Ms Landry said it was up to the voter to select who they wished to vote for in order of preference.
“Voters can choose to follow a party’s ‘how to vote’ cards or they can choose not to,” Ms Landry said.
“The decision for the LNP to place Labor last on their how to vote cards is in no way an endorsement of the minor parties.
“This election is about the binary choice of who can best manage the economy – and Labor can’t be trusted with the economy in a recession.
“Let’s not forget Labor has no budget and no plan for Queensland.”
Rockhampton MP Barry O’Rourke accused the LNP of “actively working to get both Greens and One Nation candidates across the line in what seems to be a cynical but bizarre ploy to scrape together a minority government”.
“We need a strong, stable government to continue our economic recovery, which is why we will all be working hard to get Annastacia Palaszczuk MP and Labor re-elected,” Mr O’Rourke said.
The LNP’s candidates for Keppel, Adrian de Groot and Rockhampton, Tony Hopkins, defended their party’s preferencing decision.
Mr de Groot said they were asking all Queenslanders to give the LNP their first preference.
“The LNP has ruled out deals with minor parties. It was Labor’s late-night change to the Electoral Act that forces voters to number every square,” Mr de Groot said.
“You shouldn’t have to vote for a party or candidate you don’t want to vote for.
“It is up to each voter how they allocate their preferences, a how to vote card is just a suggestion so that people complete a formal vote.”
Mr Hopkins said no decision would be made in Rockhampton until they saw the full list of candidates.”
“My supporters are telling me that there is little difference between Labor and the Greens and both deserve to be at the bottom of the pile,” Mr Hopkins said.
“We need to change the government. The only way to change the government is to vote 1 for the LNP.
“Don’t waste your vote on minor parties.”
North Queensland First Party leader Jason Costigan also took aim at his former party’s decision.
“More Greens MPs are now expected to sit in the Queensland Parliament, thanks to the LNP,” Mr Costigan said.
“How? Well, after the LNP’s shock decision this week to promote them up the batting order in terms of preferences at the 2020 State Election, it’s almost a given that The Greens will go from just one MP to two or three.
“What do our farmers, graziers and miners think of that?
“We have made no preference deals and will definitely be putting The Greens last in every seat.”