A university policy professor says Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s decision to call for a snap election could be in response to “simmering” public criticism and falling popularity.
The Liberal National Party leader announced the state election will fall on January 31, with voters heading to the polls weeks earlier than expected.
The University of Queensland Professor of Public Policy Kath Gelber, told The New Daily there had been significant public backlash to major changes made by the LNP.
“The wave of popularity that bought their government into power is over,” Professor Gelber said.
“The significant cuts to the public service generated a lot of public reaction, and also to his anti-bikie laws.”
Professor Gelber said political commentators predicted an election was looming because the LNP’s support at the polls had plummeted late last year.
She said the LNP responded and went into “campaign mode”, launching an advertising strategy about the party’s initiatives, with healthcare and hospital waiting times the focus.
And it might just work.
Professor Gelber said she was not sure if a short campaign period of just 26 days would make much difference in the end, with the LNP holding 73 out of 89 seats, and Labor just nine.
“The Opposition is so small they would have to pick up a number of seats, they could create a swing, but I don’t think they will win,” she said.
However, a Newspoll published in The Australian at the weekend found support was evenly split between the LNP and Labor on a two-party preferred basis.
Mr Newman also faces a stiff challenge in his own seat of Ashgrove.
Labor candidate Kate Jones, who held Ashgrove from 2006 to 2012, announced in September she planned to recontest the seat.
A spokesperson for Ms Jones said the former MP was too busy to speak to the The New Daily when approached for an interview.
Acting Federal Opposition Leader Tony Burke said Prime Minister Tony Abbott remained “box office poison”, a term Victorian Liberal strategists used to describe him before their state election loss in late 2014.
“Campbell Newman is doing everything he can to try to time an election in a way that has people thinking about Tony Abbott as little as possible,” he said.