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A mistimed writ by the Queensland Premier?

January 24th, 2015

I wrote at the beginning of the week that the Queensland election would be an interesting test of the power of radio talk host Alan Jones and the initial verdict is that he is capable of turning the subject of political debate even if the impact on actual voting is less certain. Without Jones’ intervention with a daily one hour session on Brisbane station 4BC, questions of the influence of big money on government decisions would not have featured in the campaign. The local media have spent three years largely ignoring questions about the Liberal National Party method of governing but Jones has forced them to change that.

Premier Campbell Newman spent this week dodging questions from his once subservient media chooks based on allegations that Alan Jones has aired. It has thrown his planned low-key, summer campaign strategy quite off the rails. That might not matter (see Alan Jones and the Springborg farm made for titillating listening for my guess on the subject) but Premier Newman is clearly worried. How else to explain his recourse late in the week to legal action for alleged defamation?

If this was a classic stop-writ, and it appears to have been, it has not worked as planned. Rather it has given the mainstream Queensland media an opportunity to give the allegations another kick along. Perhaps the LNP strategists are finding from their research that this morning’s Newspoll in The Weekend Australian is reflective of public opinion.

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Or perhaps not. Pollster Mark Textor took to Twitter last night to suggest his followers have a look at some ANU research into marginal seat polling. (Read from the third message upwards.)

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Textor views on polling deserve to be taken seriously but I do wonder about the likely accuracy of this one:

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So far the market has been largely unmoved by campaign developments and opinion polls. The Owl’s election indicator still has the LNP clearly as the probable election winner.

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