Sunday, 30 July 2017

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk claims underdog status in Queensland election race

Updated about 11 hours ago

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has tied Queensland's LNP and One Nation together and claimed underdog status, as she appealed for a "working majority" at the upcoming state election.
In her last speech to a Labor state conference before the next poll, Ms Palaszczuk ignored Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls' repeated denials of any intention to join forces with Pauline Hanson's party.
"We will face a mighty coalition between the LNP and One Nation — make no mistake, the LNP will enter into coalition with One Nation," she told the meeting in Townsville.
"Like [boxer] Jeff Horn, we will go into our coming election fight as underdogs."
After two and a half years in minority government, Ms Palaszczuk has started campaigning for a majority in her second term.
"The next election will test all of us here," she said.
"Last time, we climbed Mount Everest against all the odds.
"This time, with the LNP in partnership with One Nation, the battle will be just as hard.
"In the next term of Parliament I need a working majority — I can't have the LNP or One Nation standing in my way."
Mr Nicholls said he expected "the mother of all scare campaigns from the Labor Government".
"I've made it abundantly clear — time and time and time again — there will be no coalition with One Nation," he said.
"This is a dirty tactic by a Government that doesn't have its own record to run on and a Premier who doesn't have a vision for the state."

'Buy Queensland' policy unveiled

Ms Palaszczuk also used her speech to promote her new Buy Queensland policy, in a bid for business and union support.
Government agencies and corporations will give priority to local suppliers, even if the price is higher, and in defiance of Australian trade agreements.
"Our new procurement strategy is unashamedly a Buy Queensland one," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"No longer will we be constrained by free trade agreements that have seen jobs go offshore or interstate — we are going to go our own way.
"We are not talking about wholesale protectionism — we are talking about putting Queensland first."
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) voiced their support for the State Government's policy, despite acknowledging critics could view it as anti-competitive and restrictive.
CCIQ general manager for advocacy Kate Whittle said even if the Government paid more for a service, Queensland taxpayers would still be getting value for money.
"The chamber sees it as levelling the playing field, so that small businesses who employ over 2 million Queenslanders can compete on service and not just undercut on price," she said.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten also made an unashamedly Queensland pitch to the Townsville conference, with a reference to local hero Johnathan Thurston and a promise to increase statewide disaster recovery funding and build a flood levee in Rockhampton.
Mr Shorten also said north Queensland would benefit from $1 billion in tourism infrastructure from the Northern Australia fund under a federal Labor government.
"You are a beautiful, marvellous welcoming state," he said.
Federal Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said Ms Palaszczuk's plan to "buy Queensland first" would jeopardise the state's strong economic growth.
"You cannot open up international markets, you cannot boost export opportunities for Queensland products, you cannot do that and close off internal competition in Queensland," he said.
"It's just not possible and all it results in are fewer opportunities for our exporters.
"We want to make sure Queenslanders are getting best value for money — that's what government procurement is about."

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