Chalmers will have two more upcoming budgets to win over her Queensland voters and help Palaszczuk do the same before the next state election, by which time she will become Queensland’s longest-serving premier since World War II, and the federal party will prepare for the next election itself.
The budget recognizes that there is hard work and dark clouds ahead. Chalmers suggested that there is the conversations will be around taxes. Energy prices and inflation are also headwinds unlikely to ease next year.
Earlier this month, Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman criticized the state’s opposition record for the term, in which it has not introduced a single bill to Parliament (compared to nine between the Greens and Katter’s Australian Party and eight under former LNP leader Deb Frecklington).
Given that the composition of deputies practically condemns non-governmental bills to the dustbin, the actions of the opposition indicate that it is directing resources elsewhere.
Almost the only focus is on the state’s health care system, which, like others across the country, faces public pressure and limited funding and labor shortages. A complex field with a real impact on people’s lives, it is ripe for political attacks by any opposition.
Queensland is no exception. Led by leader David Crisafulli, the LNP has held more than 26 “health crisis town halls” to hear from residents often harrowing stories.
It emerged this week that women who had lost their babies were still being treated in maternity wards at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, despite suggestions by Health Minister Yvette D’Ath in November that the measure was only temporary. This prompted repeated calls from the LNP for her dismissal.
After a the start of the parliamentary term affected by the pandemicthe opposition also highlighted problems of integrity in government until they were crevealed by the state anti-corruption service.