Early Poll Suits Newman, Not Bligh

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Mitchell Collier argues that contrary to popular belief, an early QLD state election will benefit the LNP:

To say that Queensland politics has been turned on its heads by the events of the last week would be the understatement of the millennium.

Campbell Newman’s decision to resign from the Lord Mayoralty of the city of Brisbane and run for premier (Presuming he gets pre-selected in Ashgrove, which he will) is the most audacious move made by a  Queensland politician since Joh-Bjelke Petersen’s doomed ‘Joh for Canberra’ campaign in the 1980s.

The recent Newspoll however strongly vindicates Newman’s decision to run and more importantly, the powerbrokers that facilitated the move. Bligh, who prior to the January floods, was headed for annihilation at the polls, would have beaten Langbroek.

However, Bligh should be very wary about calling an early election, even despite the good Newspoll for her on Thursday.

I believe that an early poll would suit both Newman and the LNP more than it would Bligh and the ALP.

For starters, the poll published last Thursday was taken whilst Langbroek was still leader, so it’s hardly an accurate reflection of the political climate in QLD at the moment.

Secondly, Bligh had promised she would not call an early election. The Premier argues that the events of the last few days ‘change’s things’. This may well seem like a legitimate argument, however, Labor have gone to the last two elections in QLD promising no early election and broken that promise.

This would make it three in a row and that would take away from the credibility of that argument, and in my view, hurt Bligh more that it helps her.

However, the biggest downside of an early election for Bligh, is that it takes away her best opportunity of being able to paint the opposition as a rabble.

Let’s say that Bligh decides to wait till March next year for the election, when it’s due. In the meantime, she can build the perception that the Captain of the Football team is leading the side from the parking lot.

With the right tactics she could well expose the LNP as once again being a rabble, with two different leaders. Peter Beattie did this to damaging effect in the 2006 election, prior to the merger between the Liberal and National parties.

However, if an election is called reasonably soon, then Jeff Seeney gets relegated to the background (something he wouldn’t mind) and Campbell Newman, in both perception and reality, will be the only leader of the LNP.

Add to this the fact that opposition leaders don’t need a long time in the job to win the support and trust of the public, in fact quite the opposite is true. Bob Hawke became opposition leader on the day an election was called and won easily, and Colin Barnett only had a day in the job before an election was called, and won.

As a committed Liberal I want to see a change of government as much as anyone. This has been a poor Labor government and one hot day doesn’t make a summer (regarding Bligh’s leadership during the floods).

The great state of Queensland both needs and deserves to be relieved of Blighism and Campbell Newman is the best man to do it.

Peter Beattie summed it up best when he said it was "either the smartest thing the LNP ever did or the dumbest".

However, I would argue that the answer to the above statement could be largely determined by how the Premier handles this. The battlelines have been drawn and the ball is firmly in her court.

Mitchell Collier  2nd year Journalism/Arts student at the University of Queensland, where he is the assistant editor of the Student Union run magazine, Semper Floreat.