All you need to know as major parties launch campaigns

 

Annastacia Palaszczuk has vowed to help the unemployed, struggling schoolchildren, working families and the dying as she unveiled a multi-billion dollar pitch to Queenslanders ahead of early voting starting today.

The big-spending Premier made a plethora of promises at yesterday's Labor launch, including committing to introduce voluntary assisted dying legislation to the parliament in February if she is returned to power on October 31.

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk bumps elbows with her deputy Steven Miles during Labor’s campaign launch in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk bumps elbows with her deputy Steven Miles during Labor’s campaign launch in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

That pledge, which reversed an earlier decision to carefully consider the results of a Queensland Law Reform Commission review in March, came as she poured $171 million into improving palliative care and spoke of the "deeply personal" experience of losing a loved one.

Ms Palaszczuk, who recently lost her beloved grandmother, said she wanted to do more "to provide greater comfort and dignity for people approaching the end of their lives".

She said she believed people should have "all the options available" and she would give her MPs a conscience vote when the laws were debated, with the QLRC now asked to report back sooner than March.

"Leadership means being able to take the hard decisions, not just the easy decisions, and that's what I'm doing today," she said.

The surprise commitment came amid $2.56 billion worth of new announcements at the party's launch in working-class Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, where speakers celebrated the government's success at managing the COVID health crisis and asked voters to consider how Queensland would have fared under an LNP government that opened the borders.

With Labor firmly placing its handling of COVID as its central pitch to voters, Ms Palaszczuk failed to mention any achievements over her past two terms of government, choosing instead to spruik her plan to come out of COVID "stronger" and "more secure".

As Ms Palaszczuk arrived, a dramatic video montage played showing news reports covering the spread of COVID-19, international border closures, the Ruby Princess, Victoria's second wave, and clips of Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and other LNP colleagues calling for the borders to reopen, contrasted with the Premier saying she would risk losing the election "if it means keeping Queenslanders safe".

 

 

Wearing a Labor-red suit jacket, Ms Palaszczuk earned several standing ovations as she laid out her announcements in rapid succession.

They included free TAFE courses and apprenticeships for under 25s for in-demand jobs in agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, early childhood education, aviation, electrical and automotive, costing $21 million.

Mental health care would get a $100 million boost to ensure every primary and secondary state school student has access to a psychologist, youth worker, behavioural specialist or other professional if they needed it.

Labor would spend $8 million to create "homework hubs" at 120 state schools where teacher aids will supervise children to alleviate the pressures on working parents.

The Premier confirmed $2.2 billion to hire 6100 teachers and 1100 teacher aids to match growing student numbers and $20 million to set up paid internships to attract aspiring teachers from other fields, as revealed in The Sunday Mail.

And Ms Palaszczuk pledged $40 million for advanced manufacturing hubs in a continued push to grow Queensland's manufacturing capabilities in the wake of the pandemic.

Apprentice Sage Maxwell takes a selfie with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Apprentice Sage Maxwell takes a selfie with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Harking back to its working-class roots, Labor held its launch at the industry and union-backed Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre, to which it has previously given $24 million in funding.

About 100 socially-distanced attendees watched from the floor, including the Premier's parents and federal Labor president Wayne Swan, while another 500 streamed from home.

Taking to the stage after speeches from her "rock" and deputy Steven Miles and four "ordinary Queenslanders" - an apprentice, a nurse, a small-business owner and a senior who heralded her handling of the COVID crisis - the Premier said voters had "a very clear, and very important choice" to make.

"This election is a choice between the stability of a Labor Government that has made the tough decisions and the right calls in hard times," she said.

"Or the chaos of an unproven, untrustworthy opposition who have been wrong every time it's mattered."

Deputy Premier Steven Miles earlier reminding Queenslanders of the tough but correct calls Labor had made in the 263 days it had been battling COVID, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Ms Frecklington and others "ganging up" on them.

"The Premier has put the health and jobs of Queenslanders first," he said.

"Even when it felt like everyone was ganging up against us … we are safe here in Queensland, because Annastacia Palaszczuk kept us strong."

 

 

 

Frecklington locks in on unemployment

Deb Frecklington has pledged to get Queensland working again, pointing to the state's economic woes and high unemployment rate that she claimed have plagued the bottomline since before COVID-19.

In a speech to party faithful that almost solely focused on the economy, the LNP Leader said this election would be a turning point for Queensland.

"It's about who can lead Queensland out of this recession," she said.

The campaign launch, held at the Emporium Hotel in Jackie Trad's marginal seat of South Brisbane, was considerably smaller than previous elections because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Only a handful of MPs and candidates attended with former premier Rob Borbidge, senior federal Minister Peter Dutton, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, former party president Gary Spence and acting president Cynthia Hardy also in the crowd.

Sir Leo Hielscher and Sir Frank Moore, who mooted the new Bradfield Scheme which the LNP has adopted, were also there.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington with husband Jason at the official launch of the LNP state election campaign. NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington with husband Jason at the official launch of the LNP state election campaign. NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

Ms Frecklington spruiked already-announced promises like the New Bradfield Scheme and widening the Bruce Highway, but there were no new announcements to help tackle the state's unemployment rate which this week rose to 7.7 per cent.

Lauding the party's recovery plan as being "bold and ambitious" - a phrase which the LNP uses daily - Ms Frecklington said it was based on four foundations; investing for growth, unleashing Queensland industry, supercharging the regions and securing childrens' future.

"It is now decision time and it is a very important decision," she said.

"This state election will be a turning point for this great state, the next government will be in power for four years, not three, and those four years will be critical to Queensland's economic future."

Flagging the state's unemployment rate, which is the highest in the country, Ms Frecklington said the LNP's economic plan would create 150,000 jobs while reaffirming the party's commitment to resources, dams, manufacturing, defence and health.

And she took aim at Labor for telling "more ridiculous lies" about how the LNP would manage health care, referencing a man called Ray who hurt his shoulder and had been "let down by Labor's mismanagement".

 

 

She also reiterated there would be no new taxes under an LNP Government with Deputy Leader Tim Mander to deliver a budget within the first 100 days if elected.

Mr Mander slammed the Palaszczuk Government in the wake of Queensland's unemployment rate.

"We have the worst unemployment rate in the nation, because we have the worst state government in the nation," he said.

"And what we need to do … is to look at this state government's record."

Mr Mander took aim at Labor for thinking "returning to an operating surplus is a quest that is unachievable" and for not setting an unemployment target.

"If you don't set a target, you obviously don't have a focus and you're not committed to that task," he said.

He said Ms Frecklington had a vision for Queensland.

"I am so proud to be her deputy, I'm so proud to be working alongside her with the fabulous team of MPs that we have … and the high quality candidates that we have right throughout the state as well," he said.

Deputy LNP Leader Tim Mander. NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall
Deputy LNP Leader Tim Mander. NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

While there were no new announcements, Ms Frecklington revealed a flyover of the LNP's New Bradfield Scheme.

"Is the New Bradfield Scheme bold? You bet it is, but I refuse to let Queensland be at the bottom of the economic ladder," she said.

Sir Leo told The Courier-Mail the scheme was a big opportunity for a big result and that it was one way to help fix the economy.

"We are talking about collecting water from the wettest part of Australia and taking it to one of the driest parts of Australia, all within Queensland," he said.

"All those towns out there would become cities.

"Why shouldn't we do it?"

Sir Leo, who is a former under treasurer and Queensland Treasury Corporation chair and who is credited with being one of the architects of the modern Queensland economy, said the LNP would build the project, while claiming he didn't think Labor would.

"They (Labor) don't build dams and things like that," he said.

Sir Frank said John Bradfield, who mooted the original Bradfield scheme in the 1930s, was a man of immense vision.

"The world couldn't cope with his vision, it was beyond them, but the technology of today has caught up with his vision and that's why it will be enormously successful this time," he said.

 

 

 

Originally published as Everything you need to know as major parties launch campaigns

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