Frecklington at risk of replicating Shorten
IF FEDERAL election results were replicated at the looming Queensland state election, Labor would be reduced to just 18 seats.
Addressing party faithful at the weekend, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk claimed underdog status - in what must be a concession that her own Government is stuck in a vortex of risk aversion and playing political defence.
It was a typical (but tiring) Australian political ploy to claim to be the longshot in October next year, and it was jarring given federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese told the state conference the day before on Saturday that Queensland was Labor turf.
But the real underdogs are Deb Frecklington and the LNP. Frecklington is giving it her best and this State Government has handed her a wealth of political fodder.
However, Frecklington could become Labor's Bill Shorten. She could lose what some believe is an unlosable election and Palaszczuk will ironically become one of Queensland's most successful premiers.
Palaszczuk is no Shorten. Many voters despised Shorten or felt they could not trust him. Palaszczuk is not inherently unlikeable, but Queensland's patience is being tested by her lack of will on addressing economic issues but willing to be a warrior for social issues.
The other upside for Palaszczuk is that she has the power of incumbency. And while the LNP had a decisive win in Queensland at the federal election on May 18 - picking up 23 of 30 seats - the issues fought on generally favour the Coalition at a federal level - the economy and national security.
At a state level, there is a focus on essential service delivery - and this is generally where Labor is more dominant. This is why it is unlikely the federal election results will be replicated at a state level.
The LNP has seized on Palaszczuk's political inertia and at the weekend distributed new corflutes, displaying an ostrich with its head in the sand. It said: "Labor leadership. What's that? At least Bill stood for something".
It has become hard for Frecklington to attack Palaszczuk because she is a ceremonial Premier and appears to only wheel herself out when a Hollywood hunk is in town.
The LNP needs just nine seats to win, so a victory for Frecklington is hers for the taking. Those close to Frecklington say she is growing into the role of Opposition Leader and is taking nothing for granted.
She and her team are wounding Palaszczuk by going after Jackie Trad, who is under fire after The Courier-Mail's Steven Wardill revealed the Treasurer failed to publicly declare a property she purchased in her electorate and stood to reap big gains from her Government's plan to build Cross River Rail.
Another LNP corflute went up at the weekend with words screaming over the top of her investment property, "Dodgy Jackie Sold Out".
The LNP's best chances are in Mundingburra, Keppel, Redlands, Aspley, Mansfield, Noosa, Springwood, Whitsunday and Mirani.
Federally, conservative colleagues are hand-wringing, fearing Frecklington won't win. They are war gaming what they could do to help, knowing their agenda in Queensland is being held-up by a disingenuous State Government that has no money and is ideologically opposed to building new dams, opening up new thermal coal mines, investing in coal-fired generations, jettisoning regressive taxes and cracking down on militant union behaviour.
Last week, LNP council, state and federal MPs and senators met for drinks at Parliament House in Brisbane after an invitation from Frecklington. It was a deliberate pitch and concession that they all needed to be on the same page in October next year.
At a Federal level, the LNP will be relying on MPs to remind voters that the infrastructure projects that come online were funded by the Coalition Government not by the state.
While Federal Coalition MPs have celebrated their win, internally they know they need a LNP government in Queensland to help Scott Morrison win a second term.
They know Palaszczuk is not the underdog.
Renee Viellaris is the federal politics editor for the Courier-Mail.