Is Labor’s attack dog off the leash or just barking up the wrong tree?

Deputy Premier, Health Minister and LNP-bête noire Steven Miles is playing pandemic politics by telling people it’s against official advice to delay voting until Saturday week.

Oct 22, 2020, updated Oct 22, 2020
Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the latest Covid outbreak may not peak for weeks. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the latest Covid outbreak may not peak for weeks. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

He has taken a loose remark from Deb Frecklington about people waiting to vote until after the Opposition has released its costing late next week and sought to turn it into a health policy stumble by the LNP leader.

Challenged to detail how her party was paying for its multibillion-dollar suite of promises, Frecklington said people could wait until after the LNP had released its costings to cast their votes.

Miles scrambled to the moral high ground – as moral as any ground is in this unedifying contest – and claimed it was arrogant for Frecklington to urge people to wait to vote.

Saying early voting was in place to keep democracy going during the pandemic, Miles turned this into official advice and claimed Frecklington was acting recklessly.

The Electoral Commission (ECQ) website gives plenty of advice about voting, whether it’s early, by post, absentee or even by phone. There’s help for anyone who wants to vote this week or would rather wait until the gazetted polling day, October 31.

The ECQ says the COVID-safe plans used for polling booths were the same as those in place at the local government elections at the end of March when everything went smoothly without any adverse consequences.

“There was no recorded infection spike following the local government elections,” says the official advice. “The ECQ follows health direction from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer and implements actions on her advice.”

No mention anywhere that people should get in and vote early – there’s not even encouragement to do so.

Miles wants to bring together two policy points the Government sees as potential vulnerabilities for the LNP – economic management and pandemic health advice.

What Miles is suggesting is shameless and doesn’t stand any serious scrutiny. However, with a relentless attack hound like Miles roaming the boundaries of this election, every remark becomes fair game.

The old adage for politics is “what would it look like on the front page?” Perhaps in this election, the LNP should ask, “How would Steven Miles twist this?”

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