Cam­paign set to tar­get ‘ loony left’ fig­ure­head

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SARAH VOGLER HN McARTHY

LNP leader Tim Ni­cholls has drawn up his bat­tle­lines in his push to win back gov­ern­ment, tar­get­ing power prices, the cost of liv­ing and Deputy Pre­mier Jackie Trad.

His speech at the LNP con­ven­tion in Bris­bane yes­ter­day was as much a pitch to vot­ers con­sid­er­ing One Na­tion as to the party faith­ful.

Mr Ni­cholls dis­tanced him­self from his Can­berra col­leagues and from the as­set sales and pub­lic ser­vice re­dun­dan­cies of the for­mer New­man Gov­ern­ment.

He co- opted the ghost of Robert Men­zies as he painted him­self and his par­lia­men­tary team as the con­ser­va­tive force to lead the state to pros­per­ity, tak­ing aim at poli­cies un­pop­u­lar with the Right and many within the LNP’s base, in­clud­ing the Safe Schools pro­gram and poli­cies such as re­new­able en­ergy tar­gets.

He said any­one con­sid­er­ing a vote for One Na­tion would ul­ti­mately be keep­ing La­bor in power.

He and deputy Deb Freck­ling­ton sin­gled out Ms Trad dur­ing their ad­dresses to the LNP Con­ven­tion in Bris­bane – in the Deputy Pre­mier’s elec­torate – in­sist­ing she held the real power in the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment.

“The real power, we all know, is with Trad, who is the leader of the loony Far Left, un­der siege from the Greens in South Bris­bane and the only job that Trad cares about is her own,” Ms Freck­ling­ton said.

“We have seen the ev­i­dence in what she did to mess up the Adani deal and her plans for our com­mon­sense na­tive veg­e­ta­tion laws.”

Mr Ni­cholls pointed to the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion to go it alone on the $ 5 bil­lion Cross River Rail project in Bris­bane as fur­ther proof Ms Trad was try­ing to pro­tect her own job.

While Ms Trad fea­tured heav­ily in speeches yes­ter­day, it is be­lieved Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk will still be the pri­mary tar­get of the LNP’s cam­paign, with its re­search show­ing vot­ers did not be­lieve she was mak­ing the de­ci­sions.

Mr Ni­cholls said he would re­mind Queens­lan­ders “each and ev­ery day from now un­til the elec­tion of how An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk and La­bor are hit­ting and hurt­ing fam­i­lies and busi­nesses with th­ese out­ra­geous power prices”.

“This next elec­tion, like no other be­fore it, will de­ter­mine the fate of Queens­land for gen­er­a­tions to come,” he said.

“Our pri­or­i­ties and poli­cies can’t and won’t be matched by La­bor, the Greens or One Na­tion. Let me say it again. There will be no deal with One Na­tion, no shared min­istry and no coali­tion. The LNP is the only con­ser­va­tive party that can fix La­bor’s mess.”

Mr Ni­cholls also dis­tanced him­self from in­fight­ing within the Coali­tion in Can­berra.

“I say this, let’s not be dis­tracted. We must re­main fo­cused on the is­sues and con­cerns deep in the hearts of Queens­lan­ders and up­per­most in their minds,” he said.

“My team and I won’t, and we don’t, take our rid­ing in­struc­tions from Can­berra. So at the next elec­tion, Queens­lan­ders have a clear choice. They can sup­port an in­ex­pe­ri­enced La­bor Gov­ern­ment with no plans to build a bet­ter Queens­land or they can back a team that will lis­ten, plan and act to build a bet­ter Queens­land.”

Re­spond­ing for the Gov­ern­ment, At­tor­ney- Gen­eral Yvette D’Ath called on Mr Ni­cholls to do more than sim­ply rule out a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with One Na­tion.

“I hear the com­ments of Tim Ni­cholls that they would not take di­rec­tion from Can­berra but they are not rul­ing out tak­ing di­rec­tion from One Na­tion,” she said.

The speech took place on a con­tro­ver­sial day of de­bate.

For­mer LNP Pres­i­dent Bruce McIver was among mem­bers who helped vote down a mo­tion for Aus­tralia to pull out of the Paris Cli­mate Ac­cord which would have un­der­mined Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull.

The con­fer­ence also voted down a mo­tion to suspend immigration from coun­tries where sharia law is prac­tised and re­jected a push to ban the burqa in pub­lic.

OUR WAY: Tim Ni­cholls speaks at the LNP state con­fer­ence.

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