Palaszczuk’s second term government gets pass mark
It is symptomatic of the way the Palaszczuk Government operates that it ends 2018 with roughly the same electoral support that allowed it to scrape over the line at last year's state election.
The final YouGov Galaxy Poll for the year had Labor pegged at 36 per cent, meaning barely more than one in three Queenslanders rank the Government as their first choice.
In fact, it has now been over three years since Labor's support had a "four" in front of it.
Still, Labor's vote has not diminished like other incumbent administrations around the country, while the LNP's support has remained lacklustre since One Nation burst back onto the scene 18 months ago.
That status quo broadly reflects how the Palaszczuk Government goes about the business of governing. Neither decisive nor divisive, the second-term administration gets the basics right while resisting the temptation to tackle issues that alienate voters.
This year the Government has ticked off some large social reforms, such as abortion laws. However, the fiscal side of the story looms large.
An uptick in infrastructure spending, mostly to construct the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, has heralded the introduction of five new taxes.
The waste levy might be dressed up as environmental reform. But given much of the money will be siphoned off for other spending. this just demonstrates the Budget's precarious position.
If coal royalties recede, Queensland is exposed, given the Government has dodged its responsibility to reduce debt.
Yet, despite a penchant for playing it safe, there have been several examples of hubris since Labor gained a majority.
Renaming Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, attempting to rebadge a stand at Suncorp Stadium, arrogantly hindering Budget estimates hearings and stripping funding from Katter's Australian Party betray a false belief that there's a large well of goodwill towards the Government.
Today's biannual Courier-Mail Report Card reflects this.
For the third successive year no minister has achieved an "A", but there are no "F" marks either. And the Government gets a solid "C".
It might not inspire, but the Palaszczuk Government has repeatedly proven it doesn't need to.
Has turned small target strategy into an art form. The year was dominated by a social agenda, including decriminalising abortion. The Government still lacks an economic agenda beyond hoping the private sector fixes the problems. No ministerial sackings but a threadbare program has spawned some dumb and indulgent decisions.
Premier and Trade
In the seven years since she assumed the Labor leadership, Annastacia Palaszczuk has morphed into a consummate professional. However, being in government often appears to be the goal rather than the vehicle for reform. Talking about jobs and infrastructure doesn't make them materialise. Must ensure hubris doesn't take hold.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
A top performer, Trad seems to be finding the job she wrestled off Curtis Pitt harder than she might have imagined. High unemployment, growing debt, a building backlog and wafer-thin surpluses reliant on coal royalties has left her up-beat message about Labor's fiscal management and economic diversification somewhat muddled.
State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
The former "department of grunt", as it was known during the Beattie years, is back with a bit of gusto courtesy of Dick. The former Bligh government minister finally has the economics portfolio he's lusted after and he is making the most of spruiking the positives. Grant giveaways have been problematic.
Innovation, Tourism, Commonwealth Games
The Government's most capable retail politician. However, Jones is often a saleswoman without something worthy to sell. The botched Commonwealth Games closing ceremony blotted her copybook. Labor could use her gift of the gab in a bigger portfolio when it finally finds some reform it is willing to do.
Given a second turn at Attorney-General after a lacklustre 2017, D'Ath has rebounded. While stripped of the role spearheading abortion reform, she has tackled longer sentences for child killers, lemon laws and Blue Cards. The courts saved her from a fail after being blindsided by the potential release of rapist Robert Fardon.
Health, Ambulance Services
Tackling rural maternity services was the high point. However, the poisoned chalice portfolio proved toxic again when he naively dived into renaming the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital. While beat-ups have abounded, a more competent minister would have thought through the consequences and put renaming a hospital on bypass.
Education, Industrial Relations
Defending teachers cutting class to protest about something that has nothing to do with their job was a poor look. Same goes for her mixed messages about union indoctrination in schools. While Grace performs well on education issues, her blind spot for her union comrades will continue to be exploited by opponents.
Transport, Main Roads
Private email scandal continued to dog Bailey. But he got moving on a few important road projects thanks to some overdue contributions from Canberra. Rail reform is slow going and the Government must find a way to fund more projects beyond just whingeing about why others need to pay for them.
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
Lynham has continued well with the resources side of his portfolio, opening up gas for the domestic market. However, he has shown little energy for the new electricity part of his portfolio. The Government's reverse auction Renewables 400 initiative seems to have stalled after bids were lodged over a year ago.
MICK DE BRENNI
Housing, Public Works, Digital Technology, Sport
A massive blowout in the cost of Townsville Stadium because of the Government's local purchasing policy is a scandal. All the talk about stopping subcontractor rip-offs have not materialised into anything yet. And the review of tenancy laws seems to be a sham consulting process with the decisions preordained.
Employment, Small Business, Training and Skills
Solid work convincing big mining companies to pay their small suppliers within 30 days. However, the last report's prediction that Fentiman would struggle for relevance is proving right. Needs to get on with the job of making TAFE a viable tertiary institution in the face of mounting competition from the private sector.
Environment, Science, Arts
Sinking of the HMAS Tobruk was a disaster worthy of a full-blown investigation. Enoch's poor efforts arguing the merits of a new waste levy saw her sidelined at times. The introduction of Queensland's container deposit scheme has been passable, although questions remain over the lack of collection sites.
Police, Corrective Services
After the "No Body, No Parole" scandal, Ryan just doesn't seem to have recovered his confidence. Recently he found himself tangled up in spin and then contradicted by the Premier about Gold Coast police numbers. Overcrowding prisons remain a powder keg which could blow up his Cabinet career.
Communities, Disabilities, Seniors
With much of her duties assumed by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, O'Rourke certainly hasn't been overburdened with responsibility. However, unlike many lower order ministers in the past who were unaware of their limitations, the Mundingburra MP has avoided scandal, or any controversy for that matter.
Furner made a hash of shark attacks in the Whitsundays, first saying drum lines were the answer and then insisted they wouldn't work. Obviously still hasn't made that call to Henry Palaszczuk to find out how to make this portfolio, which is never a natural fit for Labor, work for the Government.
Local Government, Racing, Multicultural Affairs
After returning to the ministry, Hinchliffe probably thought he had a low-profile portfolio after being run over by #railfail. Alas, that hasn't been the case. The Ipswich City Council sacking dragged on for too long and the issue of the racing fraternity crying poor should have been sorted sooner.
Child Safety, Youth, Women, Domestic and Family Violence
Yet to be really tested in this trouble-prone portfolio. There is internal chatter that a few of Farmer's staff aren't happy. With much of the reform work underway before she arrived, the Minister now must ensure child safety response times improve. Needs to work on parliamentary performances.
Fire, Emergency Services
Why Queensland needs a stand-alone Minister for Fire Trucks remains a mystery. Still, Crawford has done a decent job so far. He's set about reviewing the different streams of emergency services and overlapping management and sorted out brawling between the two volunteer coastguard organisations. He's also ridden around in fire trucks.