: A new era in Queensland politics

A new era in Queensland politics

Allan Ardill

Queensland’s 54th Parliament was elected on Saturday 24 March 2012. The LNP won a clear majority of seats in the unicameral legislature. It holds 78 of the 89 seats while the ALP was left with just seven seats. Bob Katter’s Australia Party won two seats and the remaining two seats are held by independents. The LNP waited nearly 14 years to gain office and, given the massive victory, no-one can claim the LNP lacks a mandate for its policies. The Newman-led LNP government promised to: ‘grow a four pillar economy’, ‘lower the cost of living for families by cutting waste’, ‘ deliver better infrastructure and better planning’, ‘revitalise front line services for families’, and ‘restore accountability in government’. Each of these core promises was supported by several policies listed on the LNP website (http://lnp.org.au/policies).

How the LNP will translate these promises into legislation will prove crucial to its success.

Already, complaints have started to mount after broken promises in relation to car registration and women’s legal services, on top of cuts to AIDS council funding, a spat with UNESCO over the Barrier Reef, complaints from writers about the abolition of the Premier’s literary award, criminalisation of altruistic surrogacy for gay and lesbian couples, reduced status for same-sex relationships, and proposed public sector job cuts of around 20 000 jobs. Some critics claim the job cuts are based on ideological rather than financial grounds given that debt levels are below 10% of revenues. Some of the positive steps taken by the new government include the appointment of the first female Speaker, amendments to Animal Care and Protection Act (not the changes mentioned in the DUAO column in AltLJ 37(1)), and the apology given by the Premier to Wik Mungkan, traditional owners, when he handed title back to them.

Crime has also received plenty of attention in the early days of the new Parliament with bills to strengthen penalties for several crimes. Meanwhile, the coal seam gas industry conflict between farmers and miners continues, and the government has promised to wind back the Wild Rivers Act. It has also introduced a bill to cut what it calls ‘greentape’. So it seems even in the absence of a strong opposition, there are likely to be many stakeholders keeping an eye on law-making by the new government.

ALLAN ARDILL teaches law at Griffith University.

(2012) 37(3) AltLJ 208
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