Opinion Pieces

Check out opinion pieces that Murray Watt has written.


December 06, 2017

Elections have many consequences. They can change governments, change policies, and elect all sorts of colourful characters.


For the National Party wing of Queensland’s LNP, the State election result has had another consequence. They’ve woken up to the fact their supporters have deserted them.


There is undoubtedly a message for Labor in the results and we will need to reflect on it. But the numbers clearly show that the LNP vote in Regional Queensland collapsed, with swings of over 10%. 


Across Central Queensland, where Nationals Senator Matt Canavan spent months whipping up an Adani-based scare campaign, the LNP ran third, or even fourth. His efforts failed miserably, and if the State results are repeated at the next Federal election, the LNP will be thrown out of marginal seats like Capricornia, Flynn and Dawson.


Not surprisingly, the Queensland result has caused mass panic from the Nationals in Canberra. For a week now, we’ve seen a flurry of chest beating, with the Nationals threatening to run separate election campaigns to the Liberals, to use different coloured election signs, and even to break up the LNP, returning to the days of separate parties.


But no amount of spin and rebranding will restore the Nationals’ vote in Regional Queensland. Because it won’t repair the damage the Nationals have done to our regions, as Malcolm Turnbull’s coalition partners in Canberra.


When Turnbull opposed Labor’s 22 Parliamentary motions to establish a banking royal commission, the Nationals voted with him.


When Turnbull gave Sydney millionaires a tax cut and jacked up taxes on middle income earners in our regions, the Nationals voted with him.


When Labor tried to reverse Turnbull’s cuts to Medicare, which have driven bulk billing rates in our regions below those of our cities, the Nationals voted with him.


Just this week, after they said things would change, Labor tried to reverse cuts to the weekend penalty rates of up to 120,000 Regional Queenslanders. But the Nationals still voted with him.


Whatever spin the Queensland Nationals might try back home, they can’t make up for failing Regional Queenslanders in Canberra. Whatever fake fights they pick with the Prime Minister between now and the Federal election, Regional Queenslanders will see through it.


Regional Queenslanders are sick of being ignored by politicians who talk tough at home, but roll over to their Liberal masters in Canberra.


They are sick of worse health and education outcomes than the cities, sick of the bungled NBN rollout, and they are sick of the Turnbull Government’s failure to invest in regional infrastructure.


The Nationals represent nine of the ten poorest electorates in Australia. But they only started speaking up about regional jobs, when they started worrying about their own jobs, following the Queensland election.


Regional Queenslanders are onto the Nationals and no amount of spin will change it.



This Opinion Piece was first published in the Gympie Times on Wednesday, 6 December 2017.