Will Annastacia Palaszczuk promises win voters?
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has promised voters that she will cut $50 from Queenslanders’ electricity bills for the next two years.Tech savvy politician is fast becoming the new mandarin of Australian politics, as a massive surge in first-time voters and rapid smart phone take-up make for a potent political mix ahead of looming state election.Social media is expected to play its biggest role yet in Queensland and Palaszczuk knows that. Palaszczuk has taken notice of online trends, increasingly identifying Queenslanders’ love affair with social media as critical to their electoral chances.She has announced a AusD$300 million aimed at making energy more affordable. In addition to the $50 discount, Queenslanders will be able to apply for a rebate of $300 to purchase energy efficient appliances according to her. But why the energy promises? Palaszczuk has seen how social media is used for political agendas by various political parties and candidates.Queensland is a youth-orientated society and there has always been a special political role for youth in society and technological dexterity is magnifying their political influence as Palaszczuk has proved.However, let’s just talk about the promises aspect of the elections. Promises are a huge part of politics and democracy. After all, political candidates need to get their faces and ideas out there, and candidates with more promises geared towards common man are thought to have more chance of winning. Virtually all winning candidates are always ahead in the polls prior to election day but thats not the case in Queensland. It is apparent that energy promises provides an indicator of Palaszczuk understanding in the electorate. With so much promises flowing into an election, campaign regulations have continually been reformed over the last two decades and voters are taking note. Goal is to keep promises from being used to influence voters and policies. It is not naive for Palaszczuk to think that individuals and corporations in energy sector in Queensland give money out of kindness. They expect something back, like access to policy shaping power that can benefit them as happened in 2006 when the then Queensland Premier Peter Beattie sold off the retail arm of Energex, a state-owned company.
Palaszczuk claims she is willing to create a publicly-owned company to compete against the private retailers if they do not lower power prices but will that change mind of Queensland voters who feel its her time to go?In my view, political promises have little or no effect on voters valuation of the long-term and this raises another question on the value of political morality.Generally, political battles attract promises like magnets. One way of looking at it is that they provide politicians and voters a way to build relationships with candidates and parties rather. Essentially, voters are betting on candidates and expecting the fulfillment during the candidates’ tenure, that is, if they win.Watching Palaszczuk make such a desperate promise, it seems like in major state elections promises in Australia are rapidly becoming more relevant. Misplaced focus on identity politics and heavy emphasis on social issues are synonymous with Queensland campaigns. In my view, its a strategy that will work excellently to attract millennials but they are not the only voters in Queensland.A likable and popular incumbent, Palaszczuk is thought to be sure winner for another term. While her brash and outspoken brand of politics is a breath of fresh air, it may not be the winning strategy. What do Palaszczuk campaigns have, if you ask me? They are populist, politics for the common man in Queensland. Identity politics is no longer cool and is alienated in most parts of the state where people just want good jobs, affordable energy prices and food on the table. Palaszczuk electricity inspired and calculated message will likely sway the voters despite her shaky tenure. In the wake of populist politics, promises are gaining power than ever before. Gone are the days when ideologies would almost guarantee an election victory. Queensland voters know exactly what they want and identifying their wants and needs are worth more than any political ideology and perhaps thats why Palaszczuk could win.