Gleeso: The cult keeping Trad in power

 

TREASURER Jackie Trad is the Miley Cyrus of politics. She came into Queensland Parliament like a wrecking ball, but all she finished up with, like Miley, was a high-profile divorce with her colleagues after being naughty.

Make no mistake, Trad is about to cost Labor not just the federal election but the Queensland poll as well.

Her influence on Bill Shorten, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Labor headquarters and the unions has unravelled spectacularly over the past 12 months.

Trad's anti-coal messaging before the May 18 poll was crucial to Labor losing a swag of seats in central and north Queensland.

The comical way in which the State Government used the black-throated finch to stop the Adani mine - and later reverse that decision after Shorten lost - was the most transparent bout of political opportunism seen in many years.

Adani would be dead, buried and cremated, if that's your thing, had Shorten won. Period. Trad's extraordinary fall from grace is linked to Labor's antiquated and clunky factional system, which bequeaths too much power to the factional leader that controls Cabinet and Caucus.

 

Treasurer Jackie Trad in Question Time recently. Picture: Glenn Hunt/AAP
Treasurer Jackie Trad in Question Time recently. Picture: Glenn Hunt/AAP

 

Trad leads the Left, the faction that likes to cosy up to the Greens on social justice issues like abortion, coal and climate change, vegan activism and gender equity.

They are more like a cult than a political party, disciplined to worship the leader at all costs. And therein lies the problem for Annastacia Palaszczuk.

She's not dealing with clear heads. They are drunk on power, comfortably numb reclining in their ministerial leather chairs.

Protected by the political numbers they enjoy, the unions who fund their campaigns and emboldened by hubris, arrogance and a cavalier attitude to decision-making, Labor's Left faction has run riot in Queensland.

They have shifted Queensland significantly to the Left, terrorising farmers with vegetation management laws, allowing unions to ride roughshod over construction sites, blocking coal projects, adding 45,000 extra public servants, raiding the state's super funds, allowing debt to balloon... all while the economy sinks to become the worst of the mainland states.

The last Queensland government to set similar poor fiscal standards was the Left-controlled Bligh government, and we know how that finished.

It was that mindset - "we're untouchable'' - that led to Trad patronisingly telling miners to reskill before May 18.

The delusion that Queensland - which by the way takes $5 billion a year in coal royalties - could survive as a state without coal was under way.

 

 

Poor old Bill Shorten got caught up in all this nonsense. Assured by Labor headquarters in Queensland that his vote in the Sunshine State was safe, he marched on, telling the good folk of Rockhampton one thing and the Green-tinged voters of St Kilda another.

Instead of winning seats like Herbert, Capricornia, Flynn and Dawson, Labor got creamed. Trad's jig was up. Queenslanders had rejected her anti-coal, anti-aspiration rhetoric.

And that was all before the so-called "Gabbagate'' integrity scandal, where she told voters that her husband hadn't consulted her before buying a $700,000 house.

I asked a man with a bank balance that could buy Tasmania over Christmas if he'd consult his wife before a $700,000 purchase.

"Absolutely,'' he said.

"She wants to know what I pay for a mango.''

Trad was the minister responsible for a $6 billion project that went through the suburb her husband bought the house.

Did anyone say conflict of interest?

Her crime was that she didn't declare it. The Crime and Corruption Commission now says any Minister who does what Trad did faces jail under new pecuniary declaration rules.

The message out of all of this is clear: Politics is about standing for something.

And right now Annastacia Palaszczuk is seen by voters as weak because she hasn't despatched Trad to the back bench. Her personal satisfaction numbers have never been worse.

 

 

Under premiers like Bjelke-Petersen, Goss, Borbdige, Beattie and Newman, Trad's ministerial swipe card would have been cancelled the day she admitted the purchase.

And if the boot was on the other foot - had it been Trad as premier and Palaszczuk as deputy in these circumstances - Trad would have ruthlessly, mercilessly, brutally lopped her head off. That's the thing about the Left faction. They take no prisoners. The good thing is regional Queenslanders are awake to their nonsense.

The only way Palaszczuk can win the October 31 election is to call the union bosses in and say, "I'm running this show'' and Jackie has to go.

If she doesn't, Queenslanders will be tempted to make the decision for her, despite LNP leader deb Frecklington's own polling woes.

There's a message here for federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.

Labor can't win the next election unless they win regional Queensland.

The Left faction - of which Albanese is a member - is on the nose, particularly on coal. Jeremy Corbyn anyone?

The ginger Right faction Otis group within federal Labor know only too well the party must change course on coal.

As a former Labor premier once told me, "Socialism doesn't work in in Queensland.''

 

 

 


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