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Australia Queensland election race heats up as voters size up the candidate and party choices

23:50  20 october  2020
23:50  20 october  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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A record number of political parties and candidates are in the running for this month's Queensland election — offering voters more choice than ever and threatening to undercut traditional party support.

In the inner-city seat of South Brisbane, former deputy premier Jackie Trad admits she is in the fight of her political life.

The electorate has been in Labor hands for decades, but rising Greens support has plunged Ms Trad into peril.

The polarising MP — who has been cleared of two Crime and Corruption Commission investigations — is facing stiff competition from Greens candidate Amy MacMahon.

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Griffith University political analyst Professor John Wanna said preference flows could allow the minor party to seize victory.

"The Greens have run close twice now and the big difference this time is the LNP is preferencing the Greens ahead of Labor," Professor Wanna said.

"[Jackie Trad] is obviously very nervous … she's got a very unpopular image certainly outside the electorate, though it's not perhaps as unpopular in the electorate."

West End Community Association president Seleneah More said "big ticket" concerns like climate action, environmental protection and development had caused residents to change their voting habits.

"The Labor margin has been sliding progressively across all levels of government, across all candidates, in this seat," Ms More said.

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"The major parties have made decisions that have been in the interest of [the] private sector, at the expense of community interest.

"All of that leads to lack of trust and erosion of confidence in public institutions, and voters have gone: 'let's give someone else a go'."

The Greens are also campaigning hard in the central Brisbane electorate of McConnel and are fighting to retain Maiwar in the city's inner-west.

'The best government will thrive off diversity'

In parts of regional Queensland, Katter's Australian Party (KAP) and One Nation are threatening to split the vote.

Townsville cafe owner Elly Carpentier said she was backing the KAP because of the party's focus on regional and agricultural issues.

"People who speak for our smaller regions — they're on the ground floor, they're seeing the issues that we're fighting day-in, day-out," Ms Carpentier said.

"The best government will thrive off diversity … and minor parties will challenge the larger parties in the ability to open up debates.

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"Every leader needs to be challenged, otherwise we become stagnant and we can't move forward."

The KAP has three seats in Queensland Parliament but Professor Wanna said the party could pick up several more, putting them in a strong position to potentially hold a balance of power.

One Nation, which currently holds one seat, is fielding candidates in all but three electorates across the state.

Professor Wanna said the party had not been campaigning nearly as strongly as in 2017.

"[One Nation leader] Pauline Hanson hasn't really been visible yet — they haven't had much media attention up here," he said.

Meanwhile, businessman Clive Palmer has invested in an advertising blitz for his United Australia Party (Clive Palmer's UAP).

Like the 2019 federal election, Professor Wanna said it seemed Mr Palmer's goal was to run an anti-Labor "spoiler" campaign rather than win seats.

A record 12 political parties and 597 candidates are competing for Queenslanders' votes in the October 31 poll.

Despite the possibility of a hung parliament, both Labor and the LNP have emphatically ruled out deals with crossbenchers if they fall short of a majority.

"It's part of the cosmetics of going into an election campaign," Professor Wanna said.

"You rule it out and then when the people have spoken — if it is a hung parliament — then you get down and deal with it."


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usr: 0
This is interesting!