Anna Bligh. Photo: Glen Hunt
No one has seen the like of it: a government conceding defeat – no, a wipeout – before an election. Labor Premier Anna Bligh’s beleaguered Labor government in Queensland has rolled out an advertising campaign which accepts that it will be smashed on Saturday, but which pleads for mercy.
The campaign across newspapers and TV has a simple message: there’s a landslide on, but hold the boulders. Labor’s advertisement in the Brisbane Courier-Mail yesterday said it all.
In big print, it ran a newspaper headline reading: ”LNP on track to defeat the Labor Bligh Government in a landslide”.Featuring a picture of the Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman, the advertisement exhorted voters – ”Don’t give him too much power”.
It was the ultimate in the political craft of beseeching underdog status. The truth – and the problem – is that Ms Bligh’s government has occupied underdog status for many months.
Public polls for more than 18 months have placed her and her government as a near-unbackable outside chance to hold government, with the notable exception of the period after last year’s Queensland floods, when Ms Bligh emerged as the popular ”mother of Queensland”.
Only this week, she offered herself again as the caring and sharing Premier while meeting victims of a new and devastating storm in Townsville and Mackay in north Queensland, but it appeared not to be enough.
Besides, the former Brisbane mayor and Ms Bligh’s competitor for the job of premier, Mr Newman, also turned up at the disaster sites, offering the same assistance.
Bookmakers and punters’ dollars told the story. Bookies were yesterday putting the Liberal National Party’s odds of winning the election on Saturday as shorter than Black Caviar’s chances of winning the next sprint race.
The Sportsbet agency assessed the odds yesterday: the LNP’s chances of winning the state election are now at $1.02, while Labor’s are at an astonishing $12. In short, toss away your money. Ms Bligh moved on yesterday to the Gold Coast, trying desperately to hold on to seats that in any other period would appear to be safe.
Mr Newman was back in the most hotly contested seat in the state, Ashgrove. Mr Newman, who doesn’t yet have a seat in Parliament, must win Ashgrove if he is to become premier. He offered himself for a photo opportunity in a local shopping centre as a man who could throw a decent pizza base. With the sort of bookies’ odds being offered, and even the Labor campaign asserting that he would be the next premier, he could probably have served a burnt espresso and got away with it.
Article source: http://www.theage.com.au/national/bligh-raises-the-white-flag-in-qld-election-20120321-1vkco.html
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