Food for thought: Thousands of different ways our Premier could have spent your money

It’s surprising that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk needed to spend almost $400,000 to poll Queenslanders in the run-up to the 2024 state election. As Madonna King writes, her constituents are making their dissatisfaction well known.

Nov 16, 2023, updated Nov 17, 2023
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appears to be heading for an iceberg but is too stubborn to change course.  (AAP Image/Darren England)

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appears to be heading for an iceberg but is too stubborn to change course. (AAP Image/Darren England)

For the price Annastacia Palaszczuk is paying for secret polling, she could give thousands and thousands – 11,428 in fact – Queenslanders with a sick child a free 24-hour hospital parking voucher this Christmas.

Or she could gift 4705 homeless Queenslanders a tent. A bit of bargaining at Bunnings and a bulk buy would almost definitely mean there would be thousands left over for sleeping bags and pillows too.

Last year 27,665 students visited a Foodbank Queensland school breakfast program; most arriving at school hungry, and unable to learn.

Imagine what could be served up with $400,000 extra!

Because that’s almost the amount of money – your money – that the Palaszczuk Government is outlaying to poll us on our views.

And I’d bet my bottom dollar – for free – that every single one of us would believe that any of those endeavours above – free parking or helping the homeless or providing food for children – would be a better spend than a swag of polling the government refuses to reveal.

Of course the only fact that can be drawn from all of this is that it is a political poll, aimed at trying to win voters over to Labor, and perhaps even to the Premier who is clinging to her job with a margin no politician would enjoy.

Annastacia Palaszczuk has made the point that it is not uncommon for governments to undertake surveys. That is true.

But for that to be genuine and a fair use of taxpayers’ money, surely the survey – and its results – should be shared with all those who might benefit from it. And voters are just one of those stakeholders.

The fact that the polling will also be constant and targeted up until next year’s election means it wouldn’t pass a pub test in any marginal electorate – although it certainly passes the duck test – that is, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s almost certainly a duck.

This polling will be shared within Labor circles, including Cabinet, making a mockery of all of us trying to make ends meet, and shows no acknowledgement of the struggle so many are going through to fund rent and mortgage repayments, food, electricity bills and petrol.

Indeed, $400,000 would go a fair way at the petrol bowser too, and be a fitting way of acknowledging not all Queenslanders travel in the backseat of a flash car, with a driver whose job is to ensure the petrol tank never runs empty.

What is worrying many Labor MPs and their staff – especially those in marginal seats who might need to look up the address of their local Centrelink office next October – is that the decisions the party is now making are so far removed from the lives of their constituents.

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

That hasn’t always been the case, and many MPs make the point that no-one needs to be paid $400,000 to highlight those issues making life so difficult for so many.

Indeed, sitting in their electorate offices, as many MPs do each week – crime continues to top the list in city areas, along with the cost of living, and widespread shambles across both the health and education portfolios.

Wouldn’t the $400,000 be better off directed at one of those issues?

Party officials believe Labor could possibly win the next election with someone other than Annastacia Palaszczuk at the helm; but will almost definitely lose if she refuses to vacate her office.

It’s fair to think she is banking on a big budget war chest that will open a few months before that poll, delivering her the boost to cross the line first.

Or perhaps the Chief Health Officer and predictions of a Covid Christmas have given her a glimmer of hope too, with her pandemic management so widely applauded previously.

Perhaps Annastacia Palaszczuk thinks that if we are all wearing masks again, her Christmas stocking will fill with popularity.

But that card has become a bit tired, and voters know that “disaster management’’ – whether it’s COVID, bushfires or floods – isn’t a long-term vision to improve their futures.

A Christmas sleigh packed with masks will bring more Ho-Hums, than anything else. And this time, it’s almost impossible to see it as a gift for Labor, or its current leader.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy