Leaders blitz battleground Qld as early poll rumours swirl
An early federal election is looking increasingly likely a political analyst has said, as both the Prime Minister and his Labor counterpart crisscross battleground Queensland simultaneously for the second time in less than two weeks.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese's four-day Queensland candidate blitz will culminate in Cairns today (Monday) with the announcement of Elida Faith as the party's pick in Leichhardt.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be in Brisbane spruiking a major fuel security package, after launching the Queensland leg of his post-Budget sell in Gladstone on Sunday.
With visits to the Sunshine State from both leaders ramping up, Griffith University political analyst Paul Williams said there was now "some chance" of an election being called this year compared to a month ago.
Dr Williams said the Coalition's generally well-received budget and progress on the coronavirus vaccine rollout had helped the government clear the decks for a 2021 election if the PM so chooses.
But the "relatively fragile" government won't have much ammo to attack a refreshed Opposition compared to the 2019 election and could be impacted by a drop in the One Nation vote, which significantly bolsters the LNP's preferences in Queensland.
The coronavirus pandemic "gratitude vote" which saw older, conservative Queenslanders reward Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, could also wear off the longer the Prime Minister waits.
Dr Williams said "on balance" a 2022 federal election remains far more likely.
Mr Albanese, who spent Sunday in Brisbane, has jetted into Cairns to announce Elida Faith as Labor's best chance to unseat long-term LNP MP Warren Entsch.
The former Centrelink worker also contested the seat in 2019, increasing Labor's primary vote by 0.7 per cent.
The margin in Leichardt, at 4 per cent, barely budged at the last election.
Mr Albanese is expected to attack the government's record on social housing builds in far north Queensland and spruik Labor's new energy apprenticeship program, which proposes to train 10,000 young people.
Originally published as Leaders blitz battleground Qld as early poll rumours swirl