Category Archives: Politics
The re-elected Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced her full Ministry on Monday, 11 December 2017, after announcing key economic portfolios a day earlier (see here). Cabinet will be sworn in on Tuesday 12 December.
You can download short biographies of Cabinet members here http://bit.ly/2jsOJMk.
Cabinet has been expanded to 18, and there are three new Ministers, to replace the retiring Bill Byrne and Curtis Pitt who is to become Speaker: the new faces are Di Farmer, Member for Bulimba, Craig Crawford, Member for Barron River, while Stirling Hinchliffe, Member for Sandgate, returns to Cabinet.
Of the Cabinet of 18, 9 are women. 9 are from the Left Faction, 6 are from the Labor Forum (often called “Right” or “AWU”) faction, and 3 are from the Labor Unity (“Old Guard”) faction.
- Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier, Minister for Trade*;
- Jackie Trad, Deputy Premier, Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
- Cameron Dick, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, Minister for Manufacturing
- Kate Jones, Minister for Innovation, Minister for Tourism Industry Development, Minister for the Commonwealth Games
- Yvette D’Ath, Attorney General and Minister for Justice
- Steven Miles, Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
- Grace Grace, Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
- Mark Bailey, Minister for Transport and Main Roads
- Anthony Lynham, Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
- Mick de Brenni, Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology, Minister for Sport
- Shannon Fentiman, Minister for Employment and Small Buiness, Minister for Training and Skills Development
- Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science, Minister for the Arts
- Mark Ryan, Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services
- Coralee O’Rourke, Minister for Communities and Minister for Disability Services and Seniors
- Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
- Stirling Hinchliffe, Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs
- Di Farmer, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
- Craig Crawford, Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
The Premier also announced he appointment of five Assistant Ministers, each with both a policy portfolio and a regional focus:
- Jennifer Howard, Assistant Minister for Veterans Affairs and Assistant Minister of State (Ipswich)
- Glenn Butcher, Assistant Minister for Treasury (Gladstone)
- Julieanne Gilbert, Assistant Minister for State Development (Mackay)
- Brittany Lauga, Assistant Minister for Education (Keppel)
- Meaghan Scanlon, Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development (Gold Coast)
* Corrected from original post
Re-elected Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has on Sunday 10 December 2017 announced part of her new Cabinet ahead of confirmation of the full team.
She has established a four-member economic team of senior Ministers.
The Premier will add Trade to her own responsibilities and she will chair the Cabinet Budget Review Committee, with senior Ministers to hold key economic roles.
- Deputy Premier Jackie Trad will be appointed Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
- Cameron Dick will be appointed Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning and Minister for Manufacturing, with responsibility for Economic Development Queensland and Queensland Reconstruction Authority.
- Kate Jones will be appointed Minister for Innovation, Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games. Minister Jones will also have responsibility for International Education.
In her surprise media release she made extensive mention of Labor’s job-creation credentials and plans, including infrastructure.
The Premier has also announced she has expanded Cabinet to 18, and invited to join it:
- Member for Sandgate Stirling Hinchliffe
- Member for Barron River Craig Crawford and
- Member for Bulimba Di Farmer.
The Premier’s allocation of all portfolios will be publicly announced ahead of the swearing-in ceremony at Government House on Tuesday 12 December 2017, and Labor’s new Caucus of 48 will meet in Brisbane on Monday 11 December.
You can access the full release here: http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2017/12/10/premier-announces-cabinet-economic-team-to-drive-job-growth-across-qld
We need a State Government, we need a Premier, and we need Ministers – but no-one can be absolutely certain yet about who is to be a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly: there are at five or six seats still in doubt, and while Labor says they are confident of achieving a majority in their own right, they (and everyone else) are waiting for final results.
Of the seats where results are clear, no Party yet has a majority of the Parliament.
Postal votes – and possibly recounts – will determine the final outcome of in-doubt seats, and receipt of outstanding postal vote closes at 6.00 pm on Tuesday 5 December. It’s also possible postal votes may overturn current expectations of seat-by-seat results, and throw more seats into the too-close-to-call pile – postal votes are being counted day-by-day, and new tallies in undecided seats are being announced daily.
Once postal votes are all in and all counted, the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ – see http://www.ecq.qld.gov.au) will determine whether they need further recounting in any seat – they’ve been doing check counting all along, so a full recount will be reserved for the very closest seats. That might take a day or two, or ECQ may determine there is no need.
If there’s no recount needed, it’s only after Tuesday the various Parties with members in the Assembly (Australian Labor Party, Liberal National Party, Katter’s Australian Party, One Nation Party, and perhaps the Greens) will hold meetings to determine who controls the Parliament and the Government, and who takes on which roles.
If Labor has a majority, we can expect a meeting of the Labor caucus in the days immediately after 5 December – and immediately after the caucus meeting we could expect a returned Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to announce her new Cabinet.
If Labor doesn’t have a majority, depending on how far short they fall it may take several days for a majority coalition to be stitched together – or possibly a minority Government – so we may not know who is our Government, and who is Premier, and a Minister, until the week of 11 December.
The Brisbane Times website has a pretty good summary of where things are http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland-election-2017-results and they keep it reasonably up to date.
But, be cautious – there’s only 72.2% of the votes counted so far, and the notional two-candidate count in some seats has counted the wrong two candidates!
Ben Rau from the Tallyroom has an excellent summary of the current status of counting as at Sunday 26 November 2017, including seats likely won and lost for each of One Nation, the LNP, Katter Party and Greens. You can access his summary here http://www.tallyroom.com.au/32465.
Now the State election has been called – see https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/queensland-state-election-basics/ – the Government moves into what is called “Caretaker Mode”.
Caretaker Mode is all about both maintaining public sector impartiality, and ensuring no decisions or commitments are made which will bind a new, possibly unwilling Government, post-election.
Many public servants interpret this incredibly widely – far more so than is intended or appropriate, and this can be a real nuisance for anyone trying to do business with the State Government.
Official guidelines for the conventions which apply during the caretaker period are set out in the Cabinet Handbook, section 9, here https://www.premiers.qld.gov.au/publications/categories/policies-and-codes/handbooks/cabinet-handbook/caretaker-conventions.aspx.
- Caretaker conventions are merely conventions and not binding at law – but are nearly always adhered to;
- Caretaker period starts the moment the election is called and lasts until either te result is clear or a new Government appointed;
- Things to avoid during the caretaker period: appointments of significance, implementing new policies, entering into major contracts or undertakings;
- Normal Departmental operations are to continue, but with care to ensure there’s no presumption about who will win the election;
- Departments should not at Ministerial request develop new policy initiatives;
- Opposition access to public servants is through requests to the Minister and any such discussions are confidential, but public servants may not discuss the merits of policy options with the Opposition and should keep no official notes;
- Departments prepare two sets of briefing documents for the incoming Government: one for a returned Government, and the other for a new Government;
- All Cabinet documents are readied for destruction;
- All Bills in Parliament lapse and must start again from scratch after the election, and any Acts not yet proclaimed by the Governor must await the intentions of the incoming Government. In some circumstances subordinate legislation may be approved;
- The Premier will determine whether Government advertising campaigns continue – anything highlighting the role of Ministers or covering matters of political controversy are usually stopped;
- Ministers generally don’t go to Council of Australian Governments meetings which occur during the caretaker period.
Here’s a downloadable PDF file for your reading pleasure, courtesy of Ethical Consulting Services! http://bit.ly/2hnbr4p
Here are three reasons it’s historic:
- it is the last time the Government gets to pick the Election Day – after this one, Queensland moves to a fixed, four-year election term;
- it is the first time preferences will be compulsory since 1992, when they were made optional*; and
- the number of seats has been increased from 89 to 93, which means to win Government a party or coalition needs 47 or more seats.
New or updated enrolments close on 3 November, and nominations of candidates close on 7 November. If you need to update your enrolment the best place to do it is via the links on this page: www.ecq.qld.gov.au/voters-and-voting/enrolment.
Because the number of seats has increased, electoral boundaries have been changed all over the place. Here’s a table of changes driven by new boundaries, from psephologist Antony Green www.abc.net.au/news/elections/qld-redistribution-2017/#ChangeTable.
Green’s analysis of the political impact is here www.abc.net.au/news/elections/qld-redistribution-2017/#PoliticalImpact, and his new electoral pendulum is here www.abc.net.au/news/elections/qld-redistribution-2017/#Pendulum.
You can access his overall guide to the election here http://www.abc.net.au/news/qld-election-2017/.
… and here’s a link to the latest polling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queensland_state_election,_2017#Opinion_polling.
* Corrected – thanks to Cameron Milliner for noticing the error!
Last week several business organisations, including one of which we’re members, echoed calls from Liberal-National Party Leader Tim Nicholls, and demanded the Palaszczuk Labor State Government call an election immediately.
Apart from this echo chamber, it’s hard to detect any groundswell of demand for an immediate election – it’s due by 5 May, and the (usually but erroneously presumed three-year) Parliamentary term isn’t up until late January 2018 (the anniversary of the last election) or more appropriately 14 February (the anniversary of the Palaszczuk Ministry) – or, legally and correctly, 5 May*.
Premier Palaszczuk has said several times she intends the election will be in 2018.
There are always constraints in choosing an election date, and here are some presently operative in Queensland:
- The Queensland election process must take a minimum of 26 days, from announcement (issuing of the writs) to Election Day – incumbent parties normally give little more than the minimum notice, for tactical advantage;
- Don’t look like you’re calling it early for expediency or advantage – voters aren’t dumb and can usually see through that;
- Don’t cut across
- football finals (in this case, AFL and NRL, which expire on 30 September and 1 October, respectively);
- school holidays (which commence from 17 November for year 12 students, from 24 November for years 10 and 11, and 8 December for the rest) because
- so many people are away and will get cranky at the inconvenience of voting, and
- if voters are away they will mostly miss appreciating the value of all of that money you’re spending on election ads …
… schools mostly resume on 22 January 2018;
- Christmas and New Year;
- The Commonwealth Games run from 4 to 15 April: if the Government changes in the month before the games, or there is campaigning across the games, there will be major distraction from the Games and this may harm the success of the game;
- If you announce an election between Christmas (really, mid-December) and Australia Day, you will either cause chaos because so many Members of Parliament and public servants are away, or you’ll tell them they can’t take leave which gives the game (and tactical advantage) away:
- Members of Parliament, and particular Ministers, take their holidays between the last Cabinet meeting of the year and the first of the next year – the Monday nearest Australia Day: if you call an election before Australia Day, you’re doing it while many sitting Members of Parliament are still away – that’s arguably quite unfair to non-Government MPs;
- The Queensland public service shuts down from Christmas Eve (this really commences in mid-December) until late January, say Australia Day;
- Most polling places are in school halls or similar, and it can be an incredible nuisance to get proper access to school halls during school holidays;
- The Party in power hasn’t finished selecting all of its candidates yet, although the few remaining are not in highly targeted seats;
- And, as Michael Todd reminds us: after this election Queensland moves to four-year fixed terms, with the election on the last Saturday of October (starting in 2021) – choosing a late October/early November date tends to bring this election into alignment with the future.
These things in combination mean the election could be announced
- Anytime up until 2 October, for a 28 October Election Day, if the Premier is prepared to explain why it can’t be next year as she has previously said, or
- Anytime up until 9 October, for a 4 November Election Day, with the same proviso, or
- Not between 10 October and Australia Day for the reasons advanced above, and
- Not for a date after 10 March, to avoid the Commonwealth Games and their build up, and
- Just possibly after an early Cabinet meeting on 22 January, for 17 February, or
- More likely, sometime in the two-and-a-bit weeks after Australia Day, for an Election Day of 24 February, 3 March, or 10 March.
The Queensland Premier (and her staff) has not been consulted in the drafting of this article, and nor has she consulted us!
Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk has restated her intention the next State Election should happen in 2018. In anticipation, blogger Ben Rau of The Tally Room has updated and published his seat by seat analysis.
If you are interested in the next Queensland election, it is well worth subscribing to his blog, and you can do that via an email subscription box just to the right of his post.
You can access his excellent analysis here www.tallyroom.com.au/32057, and can look at the seats listed alphabetically, via a pendulum, or via a clickable map.
Ben intends to publish a post summarising the impact of the redistribution of seat boundaries, and a deeper analysis of key seats, in the immediate future.
Scott Ludlam’s announcement he’s not eligible to be a Senator www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/greens-mp-scott-ludlam-forced-to-quit-senate/news-story/c92e91f84c9db4abc3d11e92eb96abf5 throws plenty of juicy but well-answered questions into the public arena, but because Australian journalists and commentators are too often badly trained and do little research, most will get their facts wrong.
Here’s some fast facts:
- Scott can’t resign from the office of Senator, because he’s not a Senator: his ineligibility means his election was invalid and he’s never lawfully been a Senator. You can’t resign from being something that you’ve never been.
- Declaration of the poll, on each of those occasions he’s been elected and reelected, by the Australian Electoral Commission doesn’t make him a Senator if he never was eligible; the AEC doesn’t have the power to inquire into eligibility – they simply require candidates to declare they are eligible.
- Because he can’t resign, someone – probably the AEC – will need to start a Court of Disputed Returns action in order to have Scott’s election declared invalid and a recount ordered.
- Or, he could try to take his seat in the Senate* at the next sittings, or re-occupy his Senate office, or take his next Senate pay cheque, in which case someone – probably the Liberal Party or National Party – would seek an injunction to prevent it, which would eventually have the same outcome as a Court of Disputed Returns action.
- Because Scott isn’t resigning, the casual vacancy mechanism relating to mid-term replacement of Senators isn’t activated and The Greens don’t get to nominate a replacement.
- The recount mentioned above will probably see the third candidate on The Greens’ Senate ticket at the last election – Jordon Steele-John – declared elected.
- In theory, Scott has a debt to the Commonwealth of all of the salary he has been paid, and all of the expenses of his office. Normal practice is that the debt is calculated, demanded, and then waived. However, others have different ideas: www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/16/george-brandis-attacks-scott-ludlam-and-says-he-could-be-forced-to-repay-debt.
- This is a guy who has been doing what has generally been acknowledged to be a good job**, is hard-working, and is open about having suffered depression, and these revelations will have come as a huge shock; all of his staff, too, are now without jobs or income: so even those who dislike The Greens intensely might wind back the gloating a little.
The ABC’s Antony Green makes additional interesting points here http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2017/07/scott-ludlam-resigns-what-happens-to-his-senate-seat.html.
The Senate may initially be harder to predict until a new Senator is appointed – probably months away – but things will be easier for the Government in the interim:
Of the 75 Senators post-Ludlam, 29 are Coalition, 26 Labor, 8 Greens, 4 One Nation, 3 Xenophon Team, and one each to Liberal Democrats (Leynholm), Justice Party (Hinch), Australian Conservatives (Bernardi), Jacqui Lambie Network, and independent Gichuhi (who is ex-Family First); usually, to secure Senate passage, the Government will need nine votes from amongst the 20 cross-benchers, and Labor needs 12. Prior to the Ludlam revelation, the Government needed ten and Labor needed thirteen.
Prior to the Ludlam revelation, the Government needed ten and Labor needed thirteen. The smaller number will make it easier than before, for the Government to stitch together nine further votes and hence a Senate majority, because they will have to wrangle fewer of the cross-bench votes, and complicated ideologies and personalities, so to do.
* Of course he won’t: he’s not that dishonest or stupid. Many friends say he is quite nice.
** Political disagreements aside, of course.