One Nation has the whip hand now—put ’em last!
More than two decades ago it was PM John Howard whom, in fear of a rising One Nation Party, began the pernicious practice of advocating that all parties put One Nation last on their how-to-vote cards. One Nation is a racist, redneck rabble was the message, and it was effective. Mr Howard’s wonderful advice will now be used in the Queensland elections soon to be called. Labor and the LNP will feel the pain that beset One Nation all those years ago. “What goes around, comes around.” To the chagrin of John Howard who chirps loudly today.
One Nation plans to direct preferences against all sitting MPs at the looming Queensland election after Pauline Hanson’s key adviser admitted that the party had blundered by trading votes with the West Australian Liberals in March.
Source: News Corp
One Nation’s preference: put all sitting MPs last
The move is a blow for the Liberal National Party, which needs a strong flow of preferences from One Nation to offset the votes it has lost to Senator Hanson’s resurgent party.
Her chief of staff, James Ashby, said One Nation intended to put sitting MPs from the ALP and LNP last on its how-to-vote card and there would be no comprehensive deal with the Tim Nicholls-led opposition in Queensland.
“That was a mistake we made as a party,” Mr Ashby said of the preference swap that backfired on both One Nation and the WA Liberals at the March 11 state election in the West.
“The preference deal did nothing for either side. All it did was cause heartache … and we won’t be repeating it.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ruled out a preference swap with One Nation and is adamant Labor would neither seek nor accept support from the Hanson party to form government in the event the state election delivered a second successive hung parliament.
Queenslanders are due to go to the polls early next year, but Ms Palaszczuk still has the option of calling a snap election in the lead-up to Christmas, with the most viable dates being November 18 or November 25. Published opinion polling shows that One Nation is on track to win seats and seize the balance of power as voters turn their backs on the major parties.
Sydney radio presenter Alan Jones, whose top-rating breakfast program is broadcast into Queensland, yesterday threw his support behind Senator Hanson, declaring on air: “She is now the only hope for democracy in Queensland.”
A recent ReachTel poll had One Nation on 18.1 per cent of the vote statewide, putting it within reach of a top-two finish in seats outside metropolitan Brisbane where its support is clustered. Potentially, the preferences of the third-placed party, either direct from the LNP or through leakage from Labor, could then push One Nation across the line.
In seats where One Nation ran third or lower in the count its preferences could still be decisive, especially for the LNP. The breakdown of the September 29 ReachTel poll for The Sunday Mail in Brisbane and Sky News shows they split 76.7 per cent to 23.3 per cent in favour of the LNP — significantly higher than the carve-up in Western Australia, where the Liberals got about 60 per cent of One Nation preferences against 40 per cent for the ALP.
Both ReachTel and the September 6 Newspoll for The Australian show the major parties’ primary vote in Queensland plumbing historically low levels. ReachTel’s survey of 4038 voters had Labor on just 32.1 per cent, while in Newspoll it was 37.5 per cent, down slightly on the 2015 election result that delivered minority government to Ms Palaszczuk. The LNP slumped to 34 per cent in Newspoll, from 41.3 per cent at the last election, and was on a primary vote of 30.6 per cent in ReachTel.
The two polls were mirror opposites on the crucial two-party-preferred vote, in part reflecting differences in how the preference flows were modelled. Newspoll gave Labor an election-winning lead of 53-47 per cent over the LNP, while in ReachTel the LNP was ahead, 52-48 per cent.
While Ms Palaszczuk has slammed the door on One Nation, Mr Nicholls has left open the possibility of a seat-by-seat arrangement to swap preferences. Mr Ashby, however, said there had been no approach yet from the LNP to him, Senator Hanson or One Nation’s campaign leader in Queensland, former LNP MP Steve Dickson.
“There are only three people that anyone can speak to about preferences,” Mr Ashby said. “They certainly haven’t spoken to me, Pauline or Steve Dickson about the seats they want to shore up with the help of One Nation … we’ve had more contact from people within the Labor camp.”
In preferencing sitting MPs last, One Nation is following past practice in Queensland, where its heyday was the 1998 state election that netted it 11 seats on a statewide vote of nearly 22 per cent.
Mr Ashby said the party had preselected 56 candidates for the 93 state seats that will be up for grabs when Ms Palaszczuk fires the starter’s gun on the election. One Nation’s candidates are mainly in regional and non-metropolitan parts of the state.
But in an escalation of the niggle with Mr Nicholls, he said One Nation would target the LNP leader in his safe inner-Brisbane seat of Clayfield.