- The Courier-Mail
- February 11, 2014
CAMPBELL Newman’s decision to stick to his guns on anti-bikie laws against a concerted campaign by lawyers and judges has put the jobs of dozens of Liberal National Party MPs in peril – including himself.
A new Galaxy poll, conducted exclusively for The Courier-Mail, reveals 30 seats are at risk – including his own seat of Ashgrove – as the Newman Government suffers a rapid fall from grace and the Premier’s popularity continues to plummet.
Much of the administration’s ills are intimately linked to the crackdown on criminal gangs, with Queenslanders increasingly opposed to the new anti-bikie regime.
Mr Newman yesterday told the LNP’s first party room meeting of the year the laws were working to break down the illegal activities of the gangs and put their members behind bars.
“Our war against criminal gangs is yielding positive results,” he said.
However, Galaxy chief David Briggs said the poll results revealed the laws had not proved popular.
“Campbell Newman’s decision to take on the motorcycle gangs is proving costly, with support for the LNP and his own satisfaction dropping since late last year,’’ he said.
“Opinion is now divided on whether the laws were needed in the first place, and the majority of Queenslanders are of the opinion that Mr Newman has done a poor job introducing the new laws.’’
Conducted late last week, the poll of 800 Queenslanders found the LNP’s primary support had dropped to 41 per cent, a 4 per cent slide since November and an almost 9 per cent decline since the 2012 election.
Labor picked up most of the disenchanted LNP supporters in a clear sign there is no evolving love for Clive Palmer’s United Party.
On a two-party-preferred basis, the LNP now holds a 53 per cent to 47 per cent lead over Labor, which compares to the 62.8 per cent to 37.2 per cent result just two years ago.
The LNP’s 9.8 per cent fall on a two-party-preferred basis would wipe out the 30 government members with margins of less than 10 per cent if the result fell uniformly, threatening the Newman administration’s ability to govern in theirits own right.
Mr Newman’s own inner-Brisbane electorate of Ashgrove would be one of the seats to fall in a dramatic display of how the Government’s recent fortunes have floundered.
However, Queensland’s optional preferential voting system has long favoured the side with the higher primary support, as occurred in 2009 when a lead of less than 1 per cent delivered Labor 15 more seats than the LNP.
According to Galaxy, the gap between the number of Queenslanders dissatisfied compared to satisfied with Mr Newman’s performance widened to 13 per cent.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s personal numbers also suffered, with the number of people satisfied with her efforts equal to the number dissatisfied. However, Ms Palaszczuk closed the gap slightly on Mr Newman’s lead as preferred premier from 13 per cent to 11 per cent.
Much of the LNP and Mr Newman’s dramatic decline can be linked to the bikies debate, which for months has attracted blanket media attention following condemnation from lawyers and the judiciary.
The laws include restrictions on members of prescribed gangs riding in groups of three or more and tough prison sentences. Galaxy found the number of Queenslanders opposed to the laws climbed from 37 per cent to 45 per cent in three months with Labor supporters the biggest detractors.
The number in favour dropped from 56 per cent to 48 per cent.
While 41 per cent of respondents believed the laws were “about right”, the number of people who thought they were too tough jumped from 41 per cent to 50 per cent.