SUNDAY, 1 NOVEMBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Queensland state election.
SABRA LANE, HOST: Jim Chalmers, good morning. What do you put Labor's victory down to?
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Good morning, Sabra. I think overwhelmingly this is a victory for Annastacia Palaszczuk. She's the people's champion. We saw that last night. People rallied to her in big numbers. So overwhelmingly the victory belongs to her and her team, people like Steven Miles and Cameron Dick and others, but the whole Queensland Labor family's got a lot to be proud of today.
LANE: A lot of people are putting it down to her handling of the pandemic. If the electoral power of pandemic incumbency has rewarded Labor in Queensland, will that automatically happen at the next federal election?
CHALMERS: Not automatically, Sabra. The federal election still might be at least 10 or 11 months away, possibly longer if the Prime Minister's to be believed. We don't know what the circumstances will look like then. Incumbency does matter, it is helpful at the moment, but it depends what you actually do with that incumbency that really matters. I think what Annastacia was able to do was to make difficult decisions, and to explain why they were necessary. She turned out to be right and resolute, and people rewarded her for it.
LANE: Why is it that the ALP is a vote winning machine for Queensland state elections yet it is struggling federally?
CHALMERS: That's the big question, isn't it, Sabra? It is certainly the case, objectively, that we've done much better at the state level than we have been able to do federally. That demonstrates that there are Labor supporters, or people with an open mind to supporting Labor, throughout Queensland; the task for us at the federal level is to mount a convincing case to try and win them over.
LANE: Labor's policy on franking credits at the last federal election was a big issue for the ALP last year. Older voters turned away from Labor, yet it seems that same cohort has gone to Labor right now in this state election for protecting them in this health crisis. How do you convince those voters to stay with you federally?
CHALMERS: It certainly looks like Annastacia Palaszczuk was able to win over some of those voters in big numbers. That's at least what we know anecdotally. We'll have a good case to make to all Australians, including that group that you mentioned. We're talking about trying to make the economy better after COVID than it was before. There was a lot of insecurity for a lot of people and our job is to point out that things can actually be better afterwards; we don't just need to snap back to all the financial insecurity that people felt beforehand.
LANE: The Greens have picked up South Brisbane. They've also retained Maiwar. If the Greens numbers are transposed federally, does that mean you've got a problem?
CHALMERS: The Greens have been a threat to some of our inner city seats around Australia for some time now. It is concerning that we lost South Brisbane. Jackie Trad is someone that I know well, and she'll be a big loss to the parliament and to the party. We've had a challenge there for some time. The most important thing for your listeners to understand Sabra, from my point of view, is that the only reason why the Greens won South Brisbane is because the Liberals preferenced them. There are twice as many Greens in the Queensland Parliament, at least, today because the Liberals supported them. Remember that when the Liberals are going around Queensland pretending they're anti-Green, they actually just gifted them a seat.
LANE: Karen Andrews says that a lot of the old One Nation support has gone back to Labor. What do you think?
CHALMERS: There was a bit of that but I don't think it's quite that simple. One of the really satisfying things from the election and last night was to see the collapse in the One Nation vote. We don't pretend that that's necessarily permanent but it was very heartening to see that vote collapse. While we're at it, it was very heartening to see the almost-complete humiliation of Clive Palmer who threw millions of dollars at this campaign and barely registered in the tally at the end of the night. That's a good thing. It might not be a permanent thing but we're heartened by that.
LANE: Jim Chalmers, thanks for joining AM.
CHALMERS: Thank you Sabra.