Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has reused a 10-month old jobs growth announcement in a bid to sound upbeat in the face of a high-profile defection.
Queensland’s premier is remaining coy about a former ministerial colleague’s bid to join the Labor Party as he re-announced a 10-month old jobs growth forecast.
Former assistant health minister Chris Davis had wanted to run for Labor against Premier Campbell Newman in his own inner-Brisbane seat of Ashgrove.
While Labor is ruling out preselecting Dr Davis for Ashgrove, the Australian Medical Association’s former Queensland president confirmed he had applied to join Labor on Saturday – a day after quitting the Liberal National Party.
“I have joined a party that’s committed to listening to the people of Queensland and clearly got feedback last weekend in Stafford,” he told the ABC.
The government lost last weekend’s Stafford by-election with an 18.6 per cent swing against it, following Dr Davis’s resignation from parliament in protest at changes to political donation laws.
The political bloodbath in the electorate adjoining the premier’s own seat has resulted in several government backflips, which included restoring bipartisan support for appointments to the Crime and Corruption Commission.
But Mr Newman declined on Sunday to comment on Dr Davis’s switch to Labor or explain if his resignation from parliament was a factor leading to some policy reversals.
“I’ve made all the comments I’m going to make today on him,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
Labor’s Queensland secretary Anthony Chisholm said the party would not decide Dr Davis’s membership application until mid-August.
“I can’t pre-empt the decision of the administrative committee – that’s up to them,” he told the ABC.
The premier has tried sounding positive, following the by-election drubbing.
He did this on Sunday by re-announcing a September 2013 forecast that 13,000 new disability sector jobs would be created in Queensland by the time the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolled out in July 2019.
“What’s new is we’re saying today that the NDIS is basically cranking up across the country,” he said.
Following the premier’s appearance at a Cerebral Palsy League picnic, the Labor opposition accused Mr Newman of recycling an old announcement in a bid to revive his image.
“This is old news from a desperate premier who’s trying to save his own job and save his seat in Ashgrove,” opposition health spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller told reporters.