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Queensland election: One Nation question dogs LNP in leaders’ debate

Amy Remeikis reports in The Guardian (17.11.17) on the Courier-Mail/Sky News ‘People’s Forum’ held in Brisbane, at which the two major party leaders, plus One Nation’s Steve Dickson, faced questions about key campaign issues ahead of next weekend’s state election.

‘Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the LNP forming an alliance with One Nation to take government would be an “embarrassment…to the world”, as LNP leader Tim Nicholls continued to struggle to answer how he would deal with a hung vote.

‘The question of whether or not the LNP would accept One Nation’s support to form government has dogged Nicholls’ attempts to rebrand both himself, and the party, in the wake of the Newman government.

‘In an increasingly fraught election campaign, which is approaching its final week, Labor has seized on the LNP decision to directly preference One Nation ahead of Labor in 50 of the 61 seats it is running in, as proof a deal has been done between the two parties.

‘Standing in front of an audience of 100 undecided voters, chosen by Galaxy polling for the leaders’ debate in Brisbane hosted by Sky News and News Corp, Nicholls was repeatedly asked whether he would take One Nation’s support to form government and was heckled for failing to give a straight answer.

‘… The [LNP’s] preference decision helped Labor to reset its message after a week and a half of missteps, mostly centred around Palaszczuk’s announcement she would veto any Naif funding for Adani.

‘Labor uses every opportunity it has to talk about the “chaos” a One Nation balance of power would create and when asked if Labor would do a deal with One Nation, Palaszczuk’s direct answer earned her one of the biggest cheers of the night.

‘“Uh, no,” she said, prompting audience applause.’

LNP leader Tim Nicholls under pressure over One Nation deal

The Australian Financial Review‘s Mark Ludlow reported on the leaders’ debate, observing that LNP leader Tim Nicholls is increasingly uneasy about questions over the possibility of relying on One Nation support to form government.

‘Queensland Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls was heckled by an audience of swinging voters after failing to answer a question about whether the party will form government with One Nation if there is a hung parliament after the November 25 election.

‘In the only head-to-head event of the state election campaign, Mr Nicholls said he would “deal with the parliament we are dealt with” when asked about working with One Nation after next Saturday’s poll.

‘Labor has ruled out any deal with One Nation which is shaping as the party which could hold the balance of power if the ALP or the LNP cannot win government in their own right.’

Premier wins forum on experience

The Courier-Mail‘s Steven Wardill reported on the leaders’ debate, suggesting that the Premier’s experience clearly won out over her LNP and One Nation rivals.

‘Annastacia Palaszczuk crisscrossed regional Queensland holding town hall meeting in the months before the state election campaign. That experience showed at last night’s Sky News/Courier Mail People’s Forum. The Queensland Premier emerged the clear winner. She demonstrated why she remains a popular leader despite the foibles of her Government. Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls had the best of the opening addresses, with a personal story of his family’s passage to Queensland and how he’d like to return hope to the state. And One Nation’s Steve Dickson made all sorts of promises – that pleased some of the swinging voters in the crowd – although without any details about where all the money was coming from.’

Leaders go head to head in debate

The Australian‘s Charlie Peel reported his impressions of the party leaders’ performances in the ‘People’s Forum’ debate.

‘The Adani Carmichael mine, government debt and whether the major parties would work with One Nation dominated the first debate of the 2017 Queensland election campaign.  Hosted by David Speers, the Sky News and Courier-Mail people’s forum covered territory mostly explored in the first three weeks of the campaign.  But on live television and under the glare of 100 undecided voters in the audience, there was no wriggle room for the politicians.

‘Labor Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk, Liberal National Party Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls and One Nation state leader Steve Dickson all struggled to answer questions about whether and how they would tackle spiralling debt.  Mr Nicholls’ lowest point was his inability to say outright whether he would take support from One Nation in forming government.  The Premier struggled to adequately explain the reasoning behind her decision to veto a federal loan to Adani to build a rail line to the Carmichael mine.  After the debate, 60 per cent of the audience said they would likely vote for Labor, 12 per cent supported the LNP, 10 per cent One Nation and 18 per cent were still undecided.’

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