'Premier to blame as scales tip toward LNP'
Annastacia Palaszczuk flunked a basic sincerity test this week over revelations of secret polling that challenged her claims she only takes health advice from Jeannette Young, the Chief Health Officer.
To her dismay the embarrassing disclosure also thrust Labor svengali Mike Kaiser back into the spotlight, suggesting a jobs-for-the-boys philosophy still rules in the party.
The Premier's handling of the controversy, or her mishandling of it, tilted the electoral scales in favour of the LNP.
Two polls suggest the LNP's Deb Frecklington will lead the next Queensland government.
Palaszczuk only has herself to blame. This week she was putting out bushfires on all fronts. Labor was already losing the lockdown debate after a pregnant mother from northern NSW, unable to get clearance to come to hospital in Queensland, lost one of her twins after an arduous journey to Sydney.
The ground shifted a bit more when a daughter was denied her right to attend her father's funeral even though she comes from Canberra where there had been no known COVID-19 cases for more than 60 days.
Palaszczuk arrogantly and callously upheld strict entry rules even as Hollywood celebrities and AFL stars jumped the usual quarantine measures.
Clive Palmer summed up the public mood in a powerful ad in The Courier-Mail on Wednesday attacking Palaszczuk and Young. "Shame on Both of You", he shouted. "Senseless border closures cause pain, suffering and economic turmoil."
Despite what some of the left-leaning morning commentators on 4BC will have you believe, Clive Palmer was right.
Palmer is also right, in my view, for suggesting the Palaszczuk border lockdowns are unlawful because they breach guarantees in the federal Constitution of freedom of movement between states.
Palaszczuk's cover was blown on Wednesday when it was revealed her department has been hiring pollsters at your expense to gauge voter "sentiment" about her government's COVID-19 restrictions.
The Australian revealed Palaszczuk spent more than $528,000 on coronavirus polling in recent months and hired political strategist Mike Kaiser to help frame the state's COVID-19 economic recovery.
Kaiser was ALP state secretary, and later the member for Woodridge when he became ensnared in electoral rigging allegations and resigned in 2001. At the time Kaiser was a shining star in the ALP and many believed he was treated harshly with the allegations against him dating back 15 years before he won his seat in the Legislative Assembly. I tend to agree. He was a very young man at the time and he paid a huge price for his wrongdoing.
But he recovered. Premier Anna Bligh later made Kaiser her chief of staff on a salary package of $268,000.
Kaiser's return to Palaszczuk's team would naturally arouse the interest of even the most incurious reporter.
But the Premier rudely rebuffed legitimate questions. Earlier, she told journalists to take a cold shower for daring to suggest that spending half a million plus on polling in the lead-up to the election was a bit rich.
Vital questions remain unanswered. Palaszczuk has stacked her department with an unknown number of press secretaries, policy advisers and fixers, so why must she pillage the public purse to bring in more outsiders for advice?
It is known that consultancy firm KPMG was awarded a confidential $275,000 contract on May 7 to provide "advice to (the Department of Premier and Cabinet) on the development of an economic recovery road map". Surely there are already enough public servants in the Treasury to come up with a recovery blueprint. If there aren't, we are in even more trouble than I imagined.
It was also revealed this week that Ipsos Public Affairs carried out polling for Palaszczuk's department.
This is puzzling. Palaszczuk and her minders have repeatedly said the Premier relies solely on advice from Dr Young in making decisions about border restrictions and the government's response to coronavirus.
Expensive polling suggests otherwise. Her sincerity is now in question.
Des Houghton is a media consultant and former editor of The Courier-Mail, the Sunday Mail and the Sunday Sun.
Originally published as Premier to blame as scales tip toward LNP