Did Palaszczuk squander her advantage?

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pictured announcing the state election at the Darra Bowls Club. Picture: AAP/Josh Woning
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pictured announcing the state election at the Darra Bowls Club. Picture: AAP/Josh Woning


TIME is gold in election campaigns, whether it's keeping the date a surprise or springing a poll on your opponents when they're not ready.

There are plenty of operators inside the Labor and LNP camps who think Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk squandered what was an advantage she had just after the football finals that she didn't have yesterday.

It was expected Labor might call a poll in the first few days of October with a probable polling date set for next Saturday, November 4.

The LNP heard the rumours and were genuinely panicking. They weren't anywhere near as ready as they needed to be and were still racing to fill their election bank account - something getting harder and harder in these "all politics are tainted" times.

Every day and week Palaszczuk gave the LNP after the beginning of October was campaign capital the conservatives didn't have before.

As the election clock ticked down and the November Saturdays had red crosses drawn on them (November 11 was Remembrance Day and November 18 would have seen the marriage vote dominate that vital last week), the LNP were able to circle the eventual date more confidently.

By mid-October it was going to be either November 25 or December 2 with the latter less likely because it's getting hotter and storms are starting to become commonplace.

Labor strategists were playing it straight during these lost weeks, saying a decision had not been made or even suggesting the Premier might not call a poll until early next year.

Palaszczuk kept up this pretence by protesting late last week it would take something extraordinary to prompt her to call an election before Christmas.

By Sunday morning she had something extraordinary, which was always going to be the case - any politician can justify just about anything, given half a chance.

A famous case of last minute political nerves ended very badly when the British Prime Minister in 2007, Gordon Brown, called off a fully planned campaign.

Brown had been PM for a few months and he was expected to seek his own mandate after the popular Tony Blair retired.

Everyone thought Brown would win easily but he shied at the gates, never regained momentum and, when the election was held, Labour lost and conservative David Cameron was in Downing Street.

Topics:  Annastacia Palaszczuk qldelection2017

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