Anna’s ammo to blow away LNP at the State election
IT will be the trick or treat election. Annastacia Palasczcuk will go to the polls on October 31 but Morrison Government policies and her own response to coronavirus have the potential to scare some at the ballot box.
The Queensland economy is on a respirator - it was long sick before the pandemic hit - but that creates opportunities and liabilities for the incumbent and challenger Deb Frecklington.
There are few treats Palaszczuk can offer because of a bedevilled budget but she can use JobKeeper - the payment that provides up to $1500 a fortnight for workers employed by mothballed businesses - to pin her political challengers.
JobKeeper is legislated to wrap up at the end of September - a month before Queenslanders head to the polls.
While it is too early to tell, some business may fold after the scheme ends, giving some newly-unemployed voters pain they did not need, especially as the banks are expected to start asking homeowners to repay their mortgages from September.
And the more generous JobSeeker (the old dole) is also legislated to remain at $1100 a fortnight until the end of September. As a response to the virus, Morrison upped the payment by an extra $550 - meaning there could be a hard landing for millions of Australians from October.
There is also the likely potential for many of those on JobKeeper having to transition to the less lucrative JobSeeker payment.
It gives Palaszczuk the potential ammunition to accuse the LNP of being unfair to Queenslanders - and places pressure on Frecklington to denounce or support the current strategy of the Coalition in Canberra.
But Frecklington's team will argue that strategy will be a distraction from the fact that Queensland's economy needed an economic transfusion long ago. They also believe voters will not be tricked into blaming the state LNP for Federal LNP policies.
However, voters have historically liked Queensland politicians picking a fight with Canberra.
The state LNP want to fight an election on the economy and believe the Palaszczuk Government has no plan, except payrises for public servants and Labor mates.
How Palaszczuk handles the virus from here will be key and it is unlikely she will get a massive, long-term bounce.
Political polling shows most of the credit is going to Morrison and Premiers are in the gun for their administration of the steps to reopening the economy.
How Morrison recalibrates JobKeeper and JobSeeker - which he intends to do - will have some political impact on the state election.
As revealed by The Courier-Mail today, business that start to get money back in the tills - even if they may still be down on pre-coronavirus takings, will likely be weaned off the taxpayer subsidy.
Howe much political capital Morrison has after the pandemic could depend on the success of these two programs.
There is speculation he may slightly increase the rate of Newstart as the country's unemployment rate continues to remain high. That treat will likely have to be delivered before the Halloween poll.
It will not be a winner for most of the base, but it will take some sting out of a fight Labor has been warring on for years.
Palaszczuk did make a political mistake yesterday by claiming the state's borders could be closed until September - that certainly is no treat. While gung-ho leaders rarely stay in jobs for long, one of Palaszczuk flaws is her overly cautious nature.
At a time when most restrictions will be lifted and the Queensland Government needs as much tourism and economic boost as possible, keeping the state an island a month out from an election will give the LNP political firepower.
At a Federal election, it is not all smooth sailing on the economic front either.
Morrison needs the heat taken out of the economic war with China.
It comes as there will be two potential flashpoints today (TUES) with China.
Late last night (Monday), Health Minister Greg Hunt represented Australia at a virtual World Health Assembly meeting on an independent inquiry into the pandemic.
Twenty-seven European member states plus more than 100 countries, including Russia, Indonesia, India, Japan, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, co-sponsored the motion pushed by Scott Morrison. A vote is expected in the early hours of today (TUES).
But where Australia may get a win, some highly-placed sources believe it may lose the fight on the dispute with China over tariffs on barley.
China will decide today (TUES) whether it will impose an 80 per cent tariff on barley, much of it farmed out of Western Australia.
While Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has left the door open to taking the matter to the World Trade Organisation, there is a view among some in Government that China could win on a technicality.
That creates a serious problem for farmers in Western Australia, which has a number of Coalition seats.
Voters are unlikely to punish the Coalition for China's chutzpah and if anything it gives major parties a leg-up.
Labor and the Coalition continued to bleed votes to minor parties and One Nation at the past Federal election.
As Morrison stands firm on China, that is likely to encourage some conservative voters lured to Pauline Hanson to return the Coalition.
It cuts both ways, and some will also like park their votes back to Labor if it stops tearing itself apart on China.
While China - its response to the virus and how it deals with Australian exports, will not play a substantial role in the state election, there is likely to be an undercurrent especially in the regions.
The next few months will be tricky for the Palazsczuk Governnent, the first Australian state facing an election in the wake of COVID-19.
Originally published as Anna's ammo to blow away LNP at the State election