This week, many thousands of Queenslanders eschewed the time-honoured Australian tradition of queueing in the hot election-day sun – a flurry of political paraphernalia in one hand, democracy sausage in the other – to cast their vote for the next Queensland government in pre-poll stations across the state.
Now with just over a week to go until election day, the record turnout at early voting centres suggests that the choice is solidifying for many Queenslanders.
We already knew that the LNP in power would be a recipe for backroom dealing and dysfunction, a circus of extreme right-wing parties, and that Deb Frecklington’s premiership would detour Queensland back to the cuts and chaos we saw under Campbell Newman.
In the days before those Queenslanders were casting the first votes in this election came more of the ugly race rows, alleged illicit developer donations, and sexism that have become commonplace in the Frecklington LNP.
So it was probably a relief for the LNP leader to escape to her hotel ballroom campaign launch over the weekend; a chance to reframe the election; a chance to refocus her energy on Queenslanders, and on delivering for the workers, businesses and communities affected by the pandemic and recession.
In her address to the party faithful, instead of resetting the debate and putting Queenslanders front and centre, Deb Frecklington banged on about Labor and Annastacia Palaszczuk.
No big positive vision for our state. No proper plan for jobs. No united team ready to take the reins of government.
A campaign built around tearing down the success of all Queenslanders in limiting the spread of this virus and talking down the leadership shown by Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor where the big “new” idea was a glorified Bruce Highway upgrade that only a week later didn’t even get a mention in the Federal Budget and turned out to be nothing more than a case study.
Imagine aspiring to lead our state in a time of crisis and the best you can come up with is a case study.
If the consequences for Queenslanders weren’t so potentially severe, it would be laughable.
Thankfully, this is an election, and Queenslanders have a choice.
This year has reminded us of the good that strong, compassionate leadership provided by Premier Palaszczuk can do for our state. It can keep our families safe, shield us from the worst of the economic downturn, invest in our communities, and prevent the vulnerable from being left out and left behind.
Queenslanders can be rightfully proud of what we have achieved together in this difficult year. Our recovery can be broad, driven by new ideas, and led by the calm, compassionate Palaszczuk Government, or wrecked by the bitterly divided and dysfunctional Frecklington LNP – the choice is now in the hands of voters.