Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman says the LNP is doing Labor a favour ahead of the upcoming state election by treating him as “he who must not be named” and by “hiding” their own positive track record.
- Mr Newman said the LNP made a “big mistake” in hiding away from his government’s positive track record
- Labor continues to link the Opposition back to Mr Newman’s sacking of 14,000 public servants
- Experts say in trying to put the Newman government behind them, the LNP has made itself an easy target
Speaking on ABC Radio Brisbane‘s election podcast Matters of State, Mr Newman said the LNP had “made a big mistake over the last five years”.
“What’s happened since 2015 is the Labor Party have been given free rein to define 2012 to 2015 as a bad period,” Mr Newman told host Steve Austin.
Mr Newman said the Coalition’s treatment of that period and his time as premier was akin to that of Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort, or “he who must not be named”.
“It’s like Harry Potter and Voldemort … he whose name shall not be mentioned,” he said.
“That’s the nonsense that’s been allowed to flourish.”
Mr Newman said, “You have to define your opponents”, and the LNP had instead let themselves be defined by Labor.
“That is now a noose around their necks, politically.”
Labor has tried to link Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington — who was assistant minister to Mr Newman at the time — back to the former LNP premier and the sacking of 14,000 public servants.
It is a legacy political commentator and research assistant at the University of Queensland Chris Salisbury said Ms Frecklington and the LNP were keen to put behind them.
“The 2015 election results, I think, still haunts the LNP to a great extent,” Dr Salisbury said.
“The negative sentiment that was expressed at that election against the Campbell Newman government, and indeed Campbell Newsman in the seat of Ashgrove, gave voice to the displeasure at what was seen to be cuts to essential services and the sacking of public servants that weren’t necessarily heralded before the 2012 election.
Mr Newman said this strategy would have backfired against Labor, had the LNP challenged the assertions “about bad things happening between 2012 and 2015”.
“Deb Frecklington was part of a government that actually kicked criminal motorcycle gangs out of the state and the crime stats went down by 15 to 20 per cent,” Mr Newman said.
“Another one that the LNP should have been campaigning hard on was the health system: surgery waiting times were improved dramatically.”
Dr Salisbury said despite Ms Frecklington being a prominent leader in her own right, as the first female leader of the LNP in Queensland, she had failed to establish a persona that removed any association with the previous LNP government.
“Deb Frecklington, and she’s not alone in this regard, has struggled to craft a public image beyond what voters already knew of her from the time of the Newman government.”
The ABC has contacted Ms Frecklington’s office for comment.