Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says he’ll walk away from some of his controversial reforms to show voters he’s listening to them.
The Newman government will undo some of its controversial reforms to try to show Queensland voters it’s listening to them.
After a savage defeat at Saturday’s Stafford by-election, the government will no longer force convicted bikies to wear pink uniforms, or serve their time in solitary confinement.
It will also restore the bipartisan appointment of the chair of Queensland’s crime and corruption watchdog.
And a controversial trial of budget estimates hearings, that saw them compressed over two days, will be abandoned and the old system spanning seven days will be reinstated.
The government has also promised to hold talks with the judiciary, after anger over the appointment of Tim Carmody as the state’s new chief justice.
But the government will press on with its asset sales agenda.
Premier Campbell Newman said the changes would show voters, and others, he was listening to their concerns.
“We recognise that there are things we have done that have annoyed or upset Queenslanders,” the premier said after a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
“I’m sorry today, if I’ve done things that have upset people.”
He said he wanted to repair relations with members of Queensland’s legal fraternity.
“I want to repair those relationships,” he said.
“People want those arguments to cease and desist.”
Labor’s Dr Anthony Lynham won the seat of Stafford, which neighbours Mr Newman’s electorate of Ashgrove, with a huge swing of 18.6 per cent against the LNP.
Griffith University political analyst Paul Williams now predicts a 10 to 12 per cent swing against the LNP at the next election.
He believes the LNP will manage to hold onto power, but Mr Newman will lose his seat.
“Given we’ve seen double-digit swings … in the greater Brisbane area, the arithmetic just doesn’t add up for someone to hold a seat that’s on less than six per cent,” Dr Williams said on Monday.
“They (the LNP) will have to have a leadership succession plan in place now, and not have a public bloodbath in March or April.”
The LNP’s Chris Davis sparked the Stafford by-election when he said he could no longer be part of a government that would not stomach dissenting views, and quit parliament in May.
He had challenged the Newman government’s changes to political donation laws and to Queensland’s crime and corruption watchdog.
After the by-election, Dr Davis said the premier should heed the message from voters and go to an early election.
“You can’t govern with that degree of dissatisfaction and uncertainty,” he told the ABC.
But Treasurer Tim Nicholls said that wouldn’t be happening, and the government would work harder to communicate its message and to listen to voters.