Sloppy politics, indiscipline and high-handedness has made it much harder for the Queensland Newman Government to sell the necessarily harsh medicine – and a dangerous populist is cleaning up:
Two years after scoring the biggest election win in Australian history, the latest Newspoll shows the LNP is trailing Labor by 49 per cent to 51 per cent after preferences, a swing of almost 14 percentage points since the victory.
Primary support has plummeted from the 49.7 per cent support it received at the March 2012 election to just 32 per cent — including an 8 per cent fall since the previous Newspoll in March.
But the latest voters to abandon the Newman government are not turning to Labor — the state opposition’s primary support has declined by 2 per cent to 34 per cent in the past three months.
Instead, support for independents and, to a lesser extent, Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party, has jumped from 15 per cent in March to 24 per cent, with the Greens remaining static on 8 per cent.
This is a government that has a good story but seems unable to tell it. The economy is turning around, with growth forecast to double next year and a surplus on the horizon. The health and education sectors are free of the scandals that plagued them under Labor.
But the pugnacious Premier has turned off many voters with his “with me or against me’’ tone. In February, Newman privately conceded his government had “scared people’’ with its public service cuts and last year’s crackdown on bikies…
There was [lately] the brawl with doctors over contracts, with lawyers over bikies and worrying changes to the Crime and Misconduct Commission and political donation laws and, finally, with the judiciary over the new chief justice.