Early Queensland election points to political instability in Australia
31 October 2017
Queensland state Labor Party Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last Sunday called an election for November 25, sending voters to the polls several months early, with an election campaign to last less than four weeks. The decision has clear national implications, and provides an insight into the underlying social and political crisis across the country.
Via the snap election, the Labor Party in Queensland and nationally is seeking to capitalise on the disarray of the Liberal-National Coalition federal government in the wake of last week’s High Court ruling disqualifying National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and four other MPs. While the supreme court did so on the reactionary nationalist basis that the five MPs technically held dual citizenships, the verdict has also exacerbated the fragility of the one-seat majority Coalition government.
The election could signal a new stage in the decay of the two-party system that has prevailed in Australia since World War II.
After three years of pro-business and “law and order” policies to boost police powers, Palaszczuk’s government has opened the door for the extreme right-wing, anti-immigrant Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party to possibly win enough seats to hold the so-called balance of power in the next Queensland parliament.
Such a development could boost One Nation’s capacity nationally to exploit the acute distress in working class and regional areas of the country. Like Trump and similar outfits in Europe and New Zealand, Hanson’s party specialises in diverting discontent over falling wages, unemployment and under-employment in xenophobic and divisive directions. It seeks to scapegoat…