Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in senate.' '“ Orson Welles
''Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in senate.' '“ Orson Welles
Unfortunately for Orson Welles, the reality of modern politics is that the popularity of politicians is often connected to how they handle tough issues. Between now and the end of 2019 an election will be held in almost every State as well as Federally.
The first clash will be in Queensland, where record breaking first term Premier Anna Palaszczuk will be challenged by the LNP's Tim Nicholls, finally achieving his moment in the sun.
Anna Palaszczuk was raised in Brisbane, the daughter of long-serving Queensland Labor MP, Henry Palaszczuk, who emigrated from Germany to Australia as a 'displaced person' following WWII.
A student of Arts and Law, Palaszczuk worked as a Ministerial Staffer during the Beattie Government before returning to her legal career.
It was only when her father announced his retirement from the safe Labor seat of Inala at the 2006 election that Palaszczuk decided to stand for pre-selection. Receiving the nod, Palaszczuk went on to win the seat with a 30 point margin.
Following the massive defeat of the Bligh Government in 2012, Palaszczuk was elected unopposed as Leader of the Opposition.
She achieved the seemingly impossible in 2015 as the Newman Government slowly bled to death over three years. With help from independent Peter Wellington, Palaszczuk became the first woman in an Australian State elected Premier from Opposition.
Energy policy '“ The key issue facing most Government's around Australia is securing reliable and affordable energy supply. Palaszczuk faces pressure from the opposition and from the Federal Government as Queensland's electricity prices have risen to 30% above the average of $5,000 a megawatt/hour in the first five months 2017.
Adani Coal Mine - New mining opportunities in Northern Queensland will be vital in turning around the dire unemployment gripping the region. Palaszczuk has thrown her strong support behind the proposed new Adani coal mine to be headquartered in Townsville. However, the Premier has had to stare down opponents of the project from activist groups, the Greens and even Members of her own Cabinet.
Law and Order '“ One of the key battlefronts for the Palaszczuk Government will be convincing voters she still has control when it comes to keeping Queensland safe. There have been politically damaging increases in drug and violent crime, as well as rising youth crime in Northern Queensland.
After years of fighting for his place near the top of the LNP, the 2018 election represents Tim Nicholls moment in the spotlight.
Nicholls moved to Brisbane as a schoolboy in the 70's eventually building a career as a solicitor. His first political gig was as a Brisbane City Councillor, a position he held for six years. In 2006, Nicholls won the seat of Clayfield from Labor and was encouraged to challenge for the role of Liberal Party Leader on more than one occasion, however the numbers never quite fell in his favour.
With the creation of the LNP, Nicholls was appointed Shadow Treasurer, and eventually became Treasurer under the Newman Government. The LNP was plagued by internal recriminations and navel gazing following their surprise defeat at the 2015 election. In May 2016, Tim Nicholls challenged Lawrence Springborg for leadership and become only the third person from the Liberal side of the LNP to hold the post of Leader of the Opposition.
Jobs, jobs and jobs - Nichols key pitch to voters will be to tackle Queensland's unemployment rate, particularly in regional areas. A $100 million youth jobs package, two new casino licences and a regional infrastructure fund from mining royalties are all part of Nicholls' platform. Nicholls will have to tread carefully around the Adani project in North Queensland as the Federal Coalition support the mine and the jobs it will bring.
Family values - Nicholls will make a strong appeal to conservative voters, particularly families, who the polls show are throwing their support behind splinter right wing groups like Australian Conservatives and One Nation. Nicholls has committed to withdrawing Queensland from the controversial Safe Schools program and has committed to leave Queensland abortion laws unchanged.
Law and order - The LNP are pulling out all the stops to paint the Labor Government as having lost control on crime. With a focus on drug crime in the suburbs of Brisbane and youth crime in the North of the State, Nicholls will be hoping voters believe only the LNP can keep their streets safe.
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