Political upheaval distracts from core issues

by The Hon. John Mickel, Strategic Advisor

Published on
October 8, 2018

The recent goings-on in Canberra have monopolised media commentary, dwarfing any serious discussion on the State’s political scene.

The nation’s leadership upheaval has caused concern among the general population and has serious implications for Australian public policy.

Governments have survived leadership changes in the past: Keating vs Hawke, Gillard vs Rudd, and Turnbull vs Abbott, but the speed of recent changes and the government trailing in more than 40 consecutive Newspolls make the Morrison Government’s return a difficult one.

Voters are giving up on the major parties because of the turmoil.

This in turn creates more uncertainty, because of the power minor parties and individuals wield in the Upper House in Canberra and the Senate.

The crisis of confidence in the political system is feeding on itself.

It has also caused a potential sovereign risk for business in developing investment responses to chaotic decision-making. After 10 years, we still have no consistent policy response on energy and climate change despite business putting the case for certainty in both.

Retirement age, superannuation, company tax and pensioner policy have been altered almost on a whim.

For business, it means ensuring there are contacts with both major parties and the significant minor parties which can comprise the Senate. This is a complex web, however Rowland has the national contacts to take the worry out of having to manoeuvre your business through this line-up.

In Queensland, the 2017 state election produced a majority government and a more settled political climate than the previous Bligh and Newman Governments.

There has been an emphasis in this large regionalised state of trying to keep government close to the people — with an accompanying focus on ‘governing from the regions’.

The Premier’s empathetic style has not caused aggravation, while the business ministers Jackie Trad, Cameron Dick, Anthony Lyneham and Kate Jones are forming closer relationships with the business community.

The Premier’s appearance at the annual CEDA State of the State luncheon set out a program for the government over the next few years.

The Opposition is still finding its feet after the retirement of some longer-serving members at the last election. Its performance too has been overshadowed in a brand sense by the upheaval in Canberra.

To be effective at this stage of the political cycle, the Opposition needs to settle into a theme, but its performance of the budget scrutiny at recent Estimates Hearings showed it is struggling with this.

Queensland’s population growth requires infrastructure investment at the same time as the budget needs a credible debt-reduction policy. There are plenty of strengths in the Queensland economy and the lower Australian dollar will drive export momentum.

The next few months politically will be all about Queensland, with a huge focus from the Federal Government and Opposition.

Queensland holds the key to federal government – if a party cannot win sufficient seats in Queensland, it is difficult to win majority government in the nation.