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Ask a Reporter: How many people had voted by the time the parties released their costings?

This Queensland election campaign, Brisbane Times is not only reporting on the news of the day, we’re also asking questions on your behalf. Directly.

Is there something you need to know to help you decide how to vote on October 31? Is there an issue you believe has been ignored?

The Queensland election campaign begins today ahead of the October 31 polling day.

The Queensland election campaign begins today ahead of the October 31 polling day.Credit:Brisbane Times

Simply fill in the form to submit your questions and we’ll direct them to who we believe can best give an answer.

We’re going to try to keep the political spin to a minimum in this space, at least as much as it can be avoided in the heat of an election.

Please note that we may not be able to get answers to all of your questions.

Jim asks: Any insight as to what is happening in the seat of Currumbin tomorrow? Will the addition of Palmer as a candidate pushing preferences to LNP MP Laura Gerber further increase what was a narrow margin at the last by-election, or will strong border policy help Labor’s Kaylee Campradt take the seat?

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk campaigning in Currumbin on October 19.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk campaigning in Currumbin on October 19.Credit:Matt Dennien

Queensland University of Technology political analyst, former Labor government minister and former Speaker John Mickel answers: It is all about preferences.

Richard Stuckey will direct preferences to Labor, as will the Greens.

The extent to which voters follow the how-to-vote cards is, in the end, their choice.

Given the numbers of visits by the leaders, Currumbin is one to watch tomorrow night.

A reader (name not supplied) asks: With the COVID-19 election period rather than election day, how many people have voted before election day? How many had voted before each of the major parties had released their costings? I understand that early voting had been on the increase for several elections prior to this one – is it expected that once COVID-19 is under control that we will return to a ‘normal’ election day, or is the election period here to stay?

Hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders have already voted.

Hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders have already voted.Credit:Jono Searle/Getty Images

Brisbane Times PM editor Cameron Atfield answers: When Treasurer Cameron Dick presented Labor’s costings on Monday, 668,447 Queenslanders had already cast their votes at prepolling locations.

By the time his LNP counterpart, Tim Mander, did the same on Thursday, that number had risen to 974,115.

Keep in mind this does not take into account the 905,775 postal votes that had been requested.

As for the “election period” question, early voting was already an established trend in the Before Times, when the word ‘Corona’ still prompted thoughts of a slice of lime in a bottle, and a refreshing drink at the end of a hot day.

At the last state election, in 2017, a then-record 23 per cent of Queenslanders lodged pre-poll votes prior to election day.

Keith Arthy asks: Is there anywhere that Queenslanders can vote in Sydney for the election?

An Electoral Commission of Queensland spokeswoman answers: Electors who are interstate or overseas can telephone vote.

Interstate and international voters can vote via phone.

Interstate and international voters can vote via phone.Credit:Toru Hanai/Bloomberg

This fact sheet has all the details.

You will need to call 1300 912 782 to register before noon tomorrow and vote before 6pm.

A reader (name not supplied) asks: LNP preferencing Greens over Labor might help the Greens more in McConnel than South Brisbane because rich (Malcolm Turnbull-type) Liberals can hold their noses and vote Green compared to middle-class Liberals. That’s why blue-to-green seats are a thing yeah? Is this assumption wrong?

Griffith University political expert Paul Williams answers: Yes, the assumption is wrong.

Greens candidate for McConnel Kirsten Lovejoy.

Greens candidate for McConnel Kirsten Lovejoy.

Notwithstanding the slightly lower primary vote in McConnel, the demographies of South Brisbane and McConnel are very similar.

We shouldn’t think in terms of blue-to-green to red-to-green. Green voters are more likely to live closer to the CBD, have graduated with tertiary qualifications and have exposure to multicultural communities.

If these traits are found in concentrations, there is likely to be an increased Green vote, regardless of whether the seat in held by Labor or the LNP. Indeed, we have seen National-to-Green in northern NSW.

A reader (name not supplied) asks: Did the LNP just admit that New Bradfield Scheme won’t be built for years?

Brisbane Times PM editor Cameron Atfield answers: Yes.

Yesterday, when Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander released the LNP’s costings, he revealed the signature LNP project was 10 to 15 years away.

Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander with the LNP's election costings yesterday.

Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander with the LNP’s election costings yesterday.Credit:Toby Crockford

“We’ve never made an apology that we have a vision for this state. This wasn’t just about creating jobs for the next three to four years, but the next 10-15 years,” he said.

“What it has in our costings is investment in making sure we do the right planning to get this right. We’re talking about major investments from taxpayers state and federally.”

The New Bradfield Scheme has the same general premise as the original, designed by engineer John Bradfield of Sydney Harbour Bridge and (much more importantly) Story Bridge fame.

The inland irrigation project proposed dams, tunnels, pipes and pumps to divert water from the lush north of the state to more parched areas of Queensland.

Boris asks: What COVID-19 safe measures is ECQ using for Election day on Saturday? Also, is it advised we bring our own pen like the March elections?

An Electoral Commission of Queensland spokeswoman answers: The Election Service Plan is here.

You can bring your own pen or pencil if you wish.

You can bring your own pen or pencil if you wish.Credit:AFR

This details how the ECQ has planned for a COVID-safe election to provide safe and easy access for electors to vote.

The ECQ suggests:

  • Plan the way you’ll have your say.
  • Decide where and when you’ll vote.
  • Bring your Voter Information Card if you have one – the VIC makes voting quick.
  • Stay 1.5 metres apart.
  • Use hand sanitiser.
  • Bring your own pen or pencil is you wish.

Also, check out the Voting With Ease video below.

A reader (name not supplied) asks: With the LNP preferences being directed towards One Nation, I fear a hung Parliament could result with One Nation dominating the cross bench. Is this a likely scenario? And which is more likely … a Labor Premier dependent on One Nation support or an LNP Premier?

Griffith University political expert Paul Williams answers: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation will not win a second seat; it will struggle to hold Mirani.

Pauline Hanson is tipped to have less of an impact on the 2020 state election than she did in 2017, when One Nation picked up one seat.

Pauline Hanson is tipped to have less of an impact on the 2020 state election than she did in 2017, when One Nation picked up one seat.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

It will therefore not dominate the crossbench. Indeed, given Labor has long preferenced One Nation last, there is zero chance of Labor reaching out to PHON for support, especially when the Greens and independent Sandy Bolton are available.

Katter’s Australian Party is likely to hold their three seats and therefore be a variable in any crossbench negotiations the LNP or Labor would offer, should either major party fall short of 47 seats.

Sven asks: What happens to pre-poll or postal votes of people who pass away before election day?

Brisbane Times PM editor Cameron Atfield answers: If their vote has been cast, then it will be counted.

Early voting has been open since the start of last week.

Early voting has been open since the start of last week.Credit:Jocelyn Garcia

Jim asks: With the renewed calls for North Queensland to become a separate state, what is the actual process and requirements for a new state to be added to Australia?

Constitutional law expert Anne Twomey, from the University of Sydney, answers: Section 121 of the Constitution says the Commonwealth Parliament may admit new states to the Commonwealth, imposing such terms and conditions, including with respect to representation in either House of Parliament, as it thinks fit.

North Queensland statehood is, constitutionally speaking, no easy task.

North Queensland statehood is, constitutionally speaking, no easy task.Credit:Graphic illustration

In addition, section 124 requires the “consent of the Parliament” of an affected state. So both Parliaments must consent, and the use of the term “Parliament” indicates that this needs to be done by legislation.

But it is possible that other constitutional provisions would apply. Any action in splitting off part of a state to become a new state will affect borders. Section 123 of the Constitution says that the Commonwealth Parliament may alter the borders of a state, with the consent of the state’s Parliament and the “approval of the electors of the state voting upon the question”.

Doubts have been expressed about whether section 123 would apply to the creation of a new state under sections 121 and 124 – but even if it is not technically required, those doubts would drive public agitation for the holding of a vote.

One of the major problems is that, since federation, a new state has never been created. This means that we have no court precedents to rely upon and we don’t really know exactly how sections 121, 123 and 124 work together.

The Constitution guarantees the “original states” (being those that joined at the time of federation) equal Senate representation and a minimum of five seats in the House of Representatives, regardless of their population.

If a state were to be divided in half or cut into thirds, there could be a dispute as to which of the resulting states was the “original” state, with guaranteed rights, or whether all parts would lose those rights. For example, if Queensland was carved up into three states, could it really be claimed that one of those three parts was the “original state”?

David asks: How do you see the One Nation preferences playing out this election given almost all preferences were directed to the ALP at the last election and helped to re-elect the Labor government?

Griffith University political expert Paul Williams answers: The premise of this question is wholly wrong.

One Nation did not deliver the ALP victory in 2017.

One Nation did not deliver the ALP victory in 2017.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

One Nation voters did not preference Labor overwhelmingly. Indeed, 90 per cent of One Nation voters ignored how-to-vote cards in 2017.

In the small number of seats where One Nation did preference Labor, 60 per cent of those preferences went to LNP.

In those seats where One Nation directed preferences to LNP, just 30 percent went to Labor.

The suggestion that One Nation preferences re-elected Labor in 2017 is absolute nonsense.

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