OPINION: LNP’s ‘strength’ looks a weakness

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman at the Red Cross HQ in Milton, Brisbane.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman at the Red Cross HQ in Milton, Brisbane. David Stuart

WHAT was Premier Campbell Newman thinking when he accused Labor of taking bikie donations and then said it was up to Labor to prove that was not the case?

In doing so he reinforced deep concerns held by the legal profession and thinking Queenslanders that the VLAD laws' guilt-by-association provisions insult the very basis on which our laws are built.

Criticism of the legislation was painted as support for bikies. It was not.

It was in defence of the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence inherent to our system of justice, and the requirement that the accuser prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Those are principles for which Australians have shed blood and sacrificed their lives.

It is hard not to get the feeling that sometime ago an election strategy based around being tough on bikies, regardless of the legal cost, was hatched.

Strong on bikies quickly led to being strong on the economy through strong choices to sell assets.

Just shy of three years on from when the LNP came to power with a record majority earned off the back of wide

spread voter disenchantment and impatience with an arrogant ALP, it is surprisingly not difficult to see where it all went wrong.

Voters respond negatively to threats and don't like it when politicians think they can be bought.

Need should be prioritised, not simply met on the basis of which candidate an electorate chooses.

Strength can quickly be perceived as bullying. Being strong on the economy should not be at the expense of the individual right to object, whether it be to the social or environmental impact of mining, infrastructure planning or development.

Whatever the future politicians envisage, it can't be pursued to the exclusion of the electorate and their concerns about the present.

That's a course charted by the previous Labor regime to its own ultimate demise.

And you can't have a strong plan with foundations laid on the premise of better financial management, when infrastructure delivery is prioritised on the basis of which candidate an electorate chooses. That's a threat, not a promise.

Queenslanders should ignore politicians and number every box on the ballot paper on Saturday. In doing so you give your vote strength.

If the candidate of your first choice is eliminated, your vote has allowed you to prioritise which of those who remain you prefer.

Whatever the result, government should respect the interests of all Queenslanders.


Topics:  bill hoffman opinion

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