Ultimate guide to the state election



 

From the promises of jobs to the questions that leaders refuse to answer. Here’s your ultimate guide to Queensland political party policies ahead of the 2020 state election.

 

BIG FIVE POLICIES:

 

Labor

 

Build a second M1

 

Introduce legislation to legalise euthanasia

 

Hire 9,475 frontline health staff

 

No new taxes

 

Hire 2,025 new police personnel by 2025

 

LNP

 

Build a New Bradfield Scheme

 

$300 rego rebate for every registered vehicle owner

 

Partner with the private sector to fast track surgeries

 

No new taxes

 

Four lane the Bruce Highway and build a second M1

 

 

JOBS:

 

Labor: The Palaszczuk Government has steered clear of

committing to a jobless target if it wins the October 31 poll. They claim their

“economic recovery plan” will support 55,000 jobs.

 

LNP: The LNP has set an ambitious unemployment target of 5 per cent, with the aim to reach it before the end of the next term of government.

 

BUDGET:

 

Labor: Labor has promised to hand down a Budget by the week

of November 30. It is yet to release its costings (despite attacking the LNP

over it), but has promised to fund their pledges with $4bn in borrowings. They have also ruled out asset sales, tax hikes and cuts to the public service.

 

LNP: They have ruled out asset sales, tax hikes and cuts to

the public service. And have committed to aiming towards a Budget surplus by

about 2023-24. But they are yet to release their costings and say how they will

pay for their plan.

 

 

CRIME

 

 

Labor: They want to hire an extra 2025 police personnel over the

next 5 years in what they say is the biggest investment in 30 years. At least 150

new officers would be deployed to each region across the state. Premier

Annastacia Palaszczuk has previously said the regions had been asking for more police on the beat.

 

LNP: An LNP government would trial a night time curfew in

Townsville in a bid to crackdown on youth crime. There would be a curfew of 8pm

for kids aged 14 and younger. And there would be a curfew of 10pm for kids aged 15 to 17.

They have also promised to boost Crime Stoppers’ funding by $1.5 million.

 

EDUCATION:

 

Labor: They have promised to hire 6100 teachers and 1100

teacher aides over the next four years at a cost of $2.2bn. But more than half

of those positions would be replacements, boosting classroom teacher numbers by

2,190.

 

LNP: The LNP have promised to hire an additional 3350

teachers and 760 teacher aides over the next four years at a cost of $1.05bn.

They say these figures don’t include replacements, which they would also hire under their plan.

 

 

 

HEALTH

 

 

Labor: A re-elected Labor government would hire 5,800

nurses, 475 paramedics, 1,500 doctors and 1,700 allied health professionals.

They claim the cost of the commitment would come from the existing health

budget.

 

LNP: They have pledged to hire 4500 more nurses, doctors,

paramedics and allied health workers, costing taxpayers $1.3bn. An LNP

government would also invest $300 million to “fast-track” surgeries, by

partnering with the private sector.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT:

 

Labor: Invest $40 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef including through eco-tourism to create more than 200 jobs across Queensland. Funding package includes $10.1 million for upgrades to National Parks and World Heritage Areas. Will also consult on expanding the ban on single use plastics

 

LNP: Pledged $60 million to stimulate the recycling sector to turn Queensland into the “Recycling State”. An LNP government would also introduce a voluntary fishing license buyback scheme, implement a ReefSafe labelling policy for seafood sustainably sourced from the Great Barrier Reef and deliver three new artificial reefs to support recreational fishers.

 

 

COLOURFUL QUOTES:

 

“I don’t need someone to hold my hand for a week.” –

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s veiled swipe at Scott Morrison’s week long visit to

Queensland, where he campaigned with Deb Frecklington.

 

“I can guarantee that Jackie Trad will never be in my

Cabinet.” – Deb Frecklington’s dig at Labor, when Annastacia Palaszczuk faced

questions over Ms Trad’s future.

 

“I think this guy’s got to grow up, I really think he does.” – Scott Morrison’s swipe at Steven

Miles, after the Deputy Premier accused the PM of taking a week off the job to

campaign with the LNP.

 

“I cannot be any clearer, minority governments don’t work.” – Annastacia Palaszczuk, who ran a minority government between 2015 and 2017 with the support of independent MP

Peter Wellington.

 

 

“Minority government can work. It can work, it just requires a lot of work.” –

former premier Peter Beattie, who ran a minority between 1998 and 2001 with the

support of the same independent MP Peter Wellington.

 

“Of course they will do whatever they need to try and form government and I think for her to

suggest otherwise is completely disingenuous.” – Greens MP Michael Berkman on

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s claim that she won’t do any deals in a hung parliament.

 

“No, Campbell Newman.” – Deb Frecklington, when asked if she’s afraid to speak the former

premier’s name.

 

 

LNP & LABOR MYTHS BUSTED:

 

What they have claimed:

Labor is warning of public service cuts under an LNP government.

Ministers are even being driven around in a bus emblazoned with ‘Don’t Risk LNP

Cuts’.

 

What we know:

The LNP have repeatedly insisted they will not make cuts to the public service –

as well as sell assets or hike taxes. They have said their costing will be

released before October 30.

 

What they have claimed:

The LNP has claimed the Labor government is the only government in the

country that won’t be delivering a Budget this year.

 

What we know:

Labor have promised to hand down a Budget in the week of November 30 if they

are re-elected on October 31.

 

What they have claimed:

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington

have both claimed they will not do any deals if they fall short of a majority

at the October 31 poll.

 

What we know:

Ms Palaszczuk made the same claim at the 2015 election, before she went on to

form a minority government with the support of independent MP Peter Wellington.

 

THE ELECTORATES THEY HAVE VISITED:

Annastacia Palaszczuk:

Day 1 – Lytton

Day 2 – Trager

Day 3 – Townsville, Mundingburra

Day 4 – Barron River

Day 5 – Currumbin

Day 6 – McConnel

Day 7 – Pumicestone

Day 8 – Maryborough

Day 9 – Gladstone

Day 10 – Rockhampton

Day 11 – Kawana, Caloundra

Day 12 – Caloundra

Day 13 – Macalister (Campaign launch)

Day 14 – Gaven

Day 15 – Coomera

Day 16 – Burdekin, Townsville

Day 17 – Mulgrave

 

Deb Frecklington:

Day 1 – Bonney

Day 2 – Nudgee

Day 3 – Cairns

Day 4 – Townsville

Day 5 – Theodore, Currumbin

Day 6 – Mansfield, Bundamba

Day 7 – Hervey Bay

Day 8 – Redcliffe

Day 9 – Whitsunday, Townsville

Day 10 – Mundingburra

Day 11 – Algester, Miller

Day 12 – Pumicestone, Glass House

Day 13 – South Brisbane (Campaign launch)

Day 14 – Lytton, Oodgeroo

Day 15 – Keppel, Rockhampton

Day 16 – Townsville, Barron River

Day 17 – Gaven, Mudgeeraba

 

THE QUESTIONS THEY WON’T ANSWER:

1. How will Labor spend its $4bn in borrowings?

Labor has committed to $4bn in borrowings, but is yet

to fully spell out how it will spend it. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has

promised that Treasurer Cameron Dick will release those details before polling

day.

2. Will Annastacia Palaszczuk or Deb Frecklington stand down as leader if both parties fall short of a majority?

Neither leader could answer this question. They have

both promised to do no deals if their parties fall short of a majority. Could

they step aside to let someone else in their party do that deal? We don’t know.

3. How will the LNP fund their election promises?

The party has ruled out cuts to the public service, asset sales or tax hikes to pay for its promises. And they are also aiming for

a Budget surplus within the next four years. They say their costings will be

released next week.

 

TOP THREE CONTROVERSIES:

 

A calculated move by Labor to release old Facebook posts made by LNP’s Mundingburra candidate Glenn Doyle derailed the LNP’s campaign for days. Mr Doyle copped criticism for seemingly questioning the virtue of women’s education and linking death and famine as a way to beat climate change.

 

Whether or not high-profile former frontbencher Jackie Trad would be returned to cabinet became a major sticking point for Labor after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the unions ended up in a biffo over who determines the makeup of the ministry.

 

Deb Frecklington courted controversy after allegations, which she denied, her own party had referred her to the electoral commission over concerns about the possibility of illegal property developer donations finding their way into LNP coffers.

 

PREFERENCES:

The LNP controversially declared the party would preference Labor last across the state, a move Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk branded a “recipe for chaos and instability”. The LNP’s preference plan, in effect, would put the Greens above Labor, a move that will have the biggest impact in Jackie Trad’s seat of South Brisbane.

Labor, as is tradition, placed One Nation last on its how-to-vote cards though a number of Labor candidates were given a slap on the wrist after being caught telling voters to put the LNP last instead.

Katter’s Australian Party and One Nation have struck a preference swap deal, with both minor parties putting each other second.

 

EARLY VOTING:

Pre-polling votes as at 3.30pm Thursday: 459,000

Postal votes issued: 898,062

Electronically assisted voting: 800.

Polling booths open on October 31: 1425

 

 

Originally published as Ultimate guide to the state election





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Nest of ‘murder hornets’ in Washington state 1st in US: Officials


Entomologists plan to eliminate the Asian giant hornet nest on Saturday.

Washington state entomologists discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the United States this week, officials said.

The “murder hornets” were first spotted in the state late last year, and entomologists have since been on alert for the massive insects, which can devastate honey bee populations.

After weeks of trapping and searching, Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists located what they said is the first nest of its kind in the U.S., in Blaine, north of Seattle near the Canadian border.

The nest was found after four live hornets were caught this week in traps the agriculture department set up in the area. Entomologists were able to attach radio trackers to three of the hornets, and one of them led them to the nest — located in the cavity of a tree on private property — Wednesday afternoon, officials said. The team observed dozens of hornets entering and leaving the tree.

The property owner gave the agency permission to eradicate the nest and, if necessary, remove the tree, officials said. The agency was unable to eliminate the nest Friday due to bad weather and plans to try again Saturday, officials said.

Entomologists said they expect to extract anywhere from 100 to 200 hornets from the tree based on findings from thermal cameras. The plan is to extract the insects using a vacuum, the agency’s managing entomologist, Sven Spichiger, said during a press briefing Friday afternoon.

“We will be jamming foam into the entrance and Saran-wrapping it so that we can control the release of hornets from the nest,” Spichiger said. “This will allow us to do the vacuum extraction in a little bit more controlled environment.”

The hornets typically nest in the ground, so the discovery of the nest about 8 feet up in the tree cavity was unexpected, Spichiger said. He did note that there is a possibility that this is not the real nest and that the hornets have “robbed a honeybee nest.” But “that is unlikely,” he added. Entomologists were looking to confirm it was the nest on Friday.

The first confirmed detection of an Asian giant hornet in the U.S. was in Whatcom County, Washington, in December, with two verified reports of the insect near Blaine. Two were also discovered in British Columbia, Canada, last fall.

Since then, 20 hornets have been caught in Whatcom County, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Spichiger said there is a “very good possibility” there is more than just this one nest in the area, given the evidence they have so far. The agency plans to keep the traps up through the end of November. “That should tell us a little more,” he added.

Hundreds of traps have been set throughout Washington by state agriculture department staff, scientists and others, in an attempt to eliminate the pest. The world’s largest hornet, at 2 inches, the apex predator can kill an entire honey bee hive in just hours. With bee populations already in decline in the U.S., in what’s known as “colony collapse disorder,” the hornets pose another threat to the ecosystem if they become established over several years.

“Unfortunately, managed honeybees we use here have no natural defense against them,” Spichiger said. “Stopping this cold is very crucial.”

“You should be cautiously optimistic that we’re still only talking about Whatcom County at this point,” he later said.

For humans, the hornet’s sting is more painful than that of a typical bee or wasp, and people are advised to use caution near the insects and not attempt to remove or eradicate nests themselves.

Native to Asian countries including China and Japan, it’s not known how the hornets arrived in the Pacific Northwest, though through international cargo is one theory.



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Former Wallabies star David Pocock retires, opens up on ‘dire’ state of Australian climate change action


Pocock said he felt compelled to take off the boots and dedicate his time towards addressing climate change. “It’s pretty dire, in terms of ambition and moral leadership on climate change,” he said.

David Pocock has called time on his professional career. And taken aim at Australia's politicians.

David Pocock has called time on his professional career. And taken aim at Australia’s politicians.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“Particularly in a country where we probably stand to gain the most from action on climate. In terms of building a renewable, super power economy.

“We stand to lose more than any other developed country, in terms of inaction. We’re just so vulnerable. And that’s going to affect our farming areas and so much of this incredible country.”

Asked why he believes there has been insufficient action addressing climate change, Pocock pointed to one key factor.

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“Vested interests in the fossil fuel industry. That has turned (climate change action) into a political thing,” he said.

“This shouldn’t be about politics. This is about a liveable future and looking after ourselves.

“We lead the world in extinctions, we’re doing a horrendous job of looking after dangerous species and it may seem like a real fringe issue to a lot of people but at the end of the day, we’re part of this nation. If this nation goes down, we go down with it.”

While Pocock is passionate about climate change and its impacts on Australia, he first wants to make a difference in a community dear to his heart through the Rangelands Restoration Trust, a charity in his native Zimbabwe that works to restore ecosystems.

“Our aim is to restore land people rely on. We’re trying to build a model where people are benefiting and able to make a living from the place that they live,” he said.

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“And doing that in a way that creates habitat for wildlife.

“We’re faced with climate change, a loss of biodiversity and so this looks to address both of those through carbon sequestration, regenerating degraded land and increasing biodiversity by actually creating a local economy and businesses that get income from tourism or well managed livestock or whatever that may be.

“I’m keen to keep learning and try to build something that will be scaled and hopefully replicated in the future.”

Pocock declined to offer his thoughts on the Wallabies’ stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, given he is no longer a member of the team.

“I think it’s really up to the playing group,” he said.

“They’re the ones that are wearing the jersey and they’re the ones that have the decision to make as a team or as individuals. They should do what they want to do.”

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Russian hackers targeting state, local networks


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials said that Russian hackers have targeted the networks of dozens of state and local governments in the United States in recent days, stealing data from at least two servers. The warning, less than two weeks before the election, amplified fears of the potential for tampering with the vote and undermining confidence in the results.

The advisory from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency describes an onslaught of recent activity by a Russian state-sponsored hacking group against a broad range of networks, some of which were successfully compromised. The alert released Thursday functions as a reminder of Russia’s potent capabilities and ongoing interference in the election even as U.S. officials publicly called out Iran on Wednesday night.

The advisory does not identify by name or location those who were targeted, but officials say they have no information that any election or government operations have been affected or that the integrity of elections data has been compromised.

“However, the actor may be seeking access to obtain future disruption options, to influence U.S. policies and actions, or to delegitimize (state and local) government entities,” the advisory said.

U.S. officials have repeatedly said it would be extremely difficult for hackers to alter vote tallies in a meaningful way, but they have warned about other methods of interference that could disrupt the election, including cyberattacks on networks meant to impede the voting process. The interference could continue during or after the tallying of ballots if Russians produce spoofed websites or fake content meant to confuse voters about election results and lead them to doubt the legitimacy of the outcome.

A broad concern, particularly at the local government level, has been that hackers could infiltrate a county network and then work their way over to election-related systems unless certain defenses, such as firewalls, are in place. This is especially true for smaller counties that don’t have as much money and IT support as their bigger counterparts to fund security upgrades.

Officials have nonetheless sought to stress the integrity of the vote, with FBI Director Christopher Wray saying Wednesday, “You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.”

On Thursday, Chris Krebs, the head of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said officials don’t have reason to believe that hackers were looking for election infrastructure or election-related information, and aren’t aware of any activity “that would allow them to come anywhere near a vote.” He said the alert was issued in regard to the scanning of county networks for vulnerabilities, not specifically to the targeting of elections.

“The election-related risk is the fact that they were in or touching an election system,” he said.

The threat from the Kremlin was mentioned but not especially emphasized during a hastily called news conference on Wednesday night, when officials said Russia and Iran had obtained voting registration information — though such data is sometimes easily accessible. But most of the focus was on Iran, which officials linked to a series of menacing but fake emails that purported to be from a far-right group and were aimed at intimidating voters in multiple battleground states.

John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, said the operation was aimed at harming President Donald Trump, though he didn’t elaborate on how.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against five Iranian entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, for attempting to influence U.S. elections.

Despite Iran’s activities, Russia is widely regarded in the cybersecurity community as the bigger threat to the election. The U.S. has said that Russia, which interfered in the 2016 election by hacking Democratic email accounts and through a covert social media effort, is interfering again this year in part through a concerted effort to denigrate Trump’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.

U.S. officials attribute the recent activity to a state-sponsored hacking group variously known as DragonFly and Energetic Bear in the cybersecurity community. The group appears to have been in operation since at least 2011 and is known to have engaged in cyberespionage on energy companies and power grid operators in the U.S. and Europe, as well as on defense and aviation companies. Aviation networks are among the entities that officials say were recently targeted, according to Thursday’s advisory.

According to the advisory, the hackers have obtained user and administrator credentials to enter the networks and moved laterally inside to locate what they felt would be “high-value” information to steal. In at least one breach, officials say, the hackers accessed documents related to network configurations and passwords, IT instructions and vendors and purchasing information.

As of October 1, the advisory said, the hackers have exfiltrated data from at least two servers.

John Hultquist, the director of threat intelligence at FireEye, said Energetic Bear moved to the top of his worry list when the cybersecurity firm observed it breaking into state and local governments in the U.S. that administer elections, due to it having targeted election systems in 2019.

Hultquist said he does not think Energetic Bear has the ability to directly affect the U.S. vote but fears it could disrupt local and state government networks proximate to the systems that process votes.

“The disruption may have little effect on the outcome. It may be entirely insignificant to the outcome — but it could be perceived as proof that the election outcome is in question,” he said. “Just by getting access to these systems they may be preying on fears of the insecurity of the election.”

____

Associated Press writer Frank Bajak in Boston, Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and Ben Fox in Washington contributed to this report.



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Secy. of State Pompeo outlines efforts to contain threat from communist China


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:22 AM PT – Thursday, October 22, 2020

The United States has continued to stand-up to the People’s Republic of China with officials working to eradicate communist propaganda.

In a press briefing held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed reporters on the growing threat of Chinese aggression. He announced his latest efforts to form a long-term dialogue between the U.S. and the EU in order to protect global stability against communist ideology.

“This Friday, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell and I will launch the U.S.-EU dialogue on China,” said the secretary. “I’m confident that the discussion will deepen our long-term engagement with EU friends on this important issue.”

Pompeo also announced the State Department will designate six Chinese media companies located in the U.S. as foreign missions in a bid to battle the spread of communist propaganda on the home-front more effectively.

“We’re pushing back on the Chinese communist propaganda efforts here at home, too,” he stated. “Today I’m announcing the State Department is designating the U.S. operations of six China-based media companies as foreign missions…they are all substantially owned or effectively controlled by a foreign government.”

Pompeo went on to the slam the Chinese Communist Party by accusing the regime of failing to abide by international rules and backing down on its commitments to other nations as well as global organizations.

The official stressed with the U.S. working with other “free nations” around the globe, more progress can be made to thwart threats raised by Communist China.

RELATED: Secy. Pompeo addresses first U.S.-UAE strategic dialogue





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Thailand revokes state of emergency after failing to quell massive pro-democracy protests



Thailand on Thursday rolled back an emergency decree aimed at ending months of protests against the government and monarchy that had only inflamed anger and brought tens of thousands of people onto Bangkok streets.

A government statement published in the official Royal Gazette said it would mean an end to measures that include bans on political gatherings of five or more people and publishing news that could affect security.

“The current violent situation that led to the announcement of the severe situation has eased and ended to a situation in which government officials and state agencies can enforce the regular laws,” the statement said.

The only specific incident given for the ban was one in which Queen Suthida’s convoy was jeered by protesters, but it came after protests that are the biggest challenge in years to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Protesters who have given Mr Prayuth a three-day deadline to quit said that withdrawing the measures was not enough.

“He’s still seeking to stay in power while ignoring all the people’s demands. The emergency decree shouldn’t have been issued in the first place,” Sirawith “Ja New” Seritiwat, one of the leaders, said.

Dozens of protesters – including many of the most high profile protest leaders – were arrested during the crackdown.

Among them was Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon, who was released on Thursday after being arrested a day earlier.

Ms Patsaravalee, 25, told reporters after being freed that the court had deemed the charges were not serious and that she still needed to attend classes and exams, so bail was granted without having to submit any guarantees.

Protesters say Mr Prayuth rigged an election last year to keep hold of power he seized in a 2014 coup.

He says the election was fair. Protesters accuse the monarchy of enabling years of military domination and want to curb the king’s powers.

The palace has a policy of making no comment to media.



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U.S. State Department approves $1.8 bln in potential arms sales to Taiwan -Pentagon


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WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of three weapons systems to Taiwan including sensors, missiles and artillery that could have a total value of $1.8 billion, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Reuters reported last week that the White House was moving forward with five separate sales of sophisticated military equipment to Taiwan with a total value of around $5 billion.

Among other weapons systems, Wednesday’s formal notifications to Congress were for 11 truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), for an estimated cost of $436.1 million.

The notifications also covered 135 AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) Missiles and related equipment made by Boeing Co, for an estimated $1.008 billion, and six MS-110 Recce external sensor pods made by Collins Aerospace for jets, at an estimated cost of $367.2 million.

Reuters reported in September that major weapons systems sales were making their way through the U.S. export process, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China and concerns rise about Beijing’s intentions towards Taiwan.

Beijing considers the island a wayward province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary. (Reporting by Mike Stone and David Brunnstrom in Washington, D.C. Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown)



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