A handful of reasons why LNP scandal arrived at worst-possible time

The still-unfolding LNP donations and developers scandal impacts the election campaign in five important ways, writes Dennis Atkins

Oct 14, 2020, updated Oct 14, 2020
LNP leader Deb Frecklington has sought to clarify her conversations with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington has sought to clarify her conversations with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

First and most significantly for the LNP, it represents a big opportunity cost for an Opposition party that is behind in the polls and struggling to get its messages through to voters.

The issue has overwhelmed the LNP’s major positive announcement for this second week of the campaign – a $300 a vehicle cash handout for registration holders. The party has had its public appearances and free media opportunities hijacked by a negative story that doesn’t look like it’s over yet.

Second, the scandal has broken just a week before voting starts and could deter people from having a second thought of voting for the LNP at just the time this attention window is wide open.

Next, it highlights internal divisions within the LNP that erupted in June and July when a group of Clive Palmer-aligned officials and party associates sought to blast Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington out of her job. That appeared settled by mid-August but is now back on display.

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Fourth, the LNP’s close ties to developers has been thrust on to the campaign agenda which is both against the grain of where the Opposition wants the conversation to be and prompts a negative sentiment among voters.

Last, the issue has given Labor and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk cover from its own negative issue that emerged this week – the possible return to Cabinet by scandal magnet and former party deputy Jackie Trad.

Palaszczuk has moved to smother the issue by ruling out any return by Trad should she prevail in her South Brisbane fight to the death with the Greens. This has been made easier because the LNP has rolled out a bigger and fresher scandal.

Voters these days bake in bad behaviour by politicians but that doesn’t mean these kinds of scandals have no impact. They do – directly and indirectly – and the LNP will pay a price for having this dead cat drop on the campaign trail this week.

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