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LNP sets agenda ‘too late’ in Qld election

Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington is finally setting the agenda in the Queensland election but it may be too late, analysts say.

The LNP and the minor parties have been largely starved for attention by a well-oiled Labor Party machine over the first two weeks of the campaign.

In the third week Ms Frecklington has taken the initiative and enlarged her profile, making big spending promises and announcing a controversial youth curfew plan in two northern cities.

Griffith University political scientist Paul Williams says the LNP leader is realising she has nothing to lose.

“She should have done that all along,” he told AAP.

“She’s had a good week in terms of personal performance, but it could be too little too late.

“It all comes back to making a powerful case for change and it hasn’t been made.”

With one week until polling day, University of Queensland political scientist Glenn Kefford said the LNP had fought back after a fortnight of distractions.

The main diversion was an investigation into Ms Frecklington’s fundraising dinners involving property developers.

“They’ve tried to take back the agenda, and tried to drive the agenda, which Labor had really controlled for at least the previous fortnight,” Dr Kefford told AAP.

Dr Williams said regardless of who was setting the agenda it had been a very low-energy campaign, which he said favours Labor.

Like the LNP, minor parties are also struggling, he said.

The Greens have not performed any publicity stunts, businessman Clive Palmer is struggling to gain traction and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has been restrained.

The only federal visit was from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who sank without a trace, Dr Williams said.

“This election is remarkably dull,” he said.

“Queensland state elections are almost always colourful. This one’s not.”

A Newspoll on Friday night showed Labor ahead in two marginal southeast seats – Mansfield and the LNP-held Pumicestone – but trailing in the south Townsville seat of Mundingburra.

Both Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Ms Frecklington will campaign in the southeast on Saturday, but Dr Williams said there’s a growing feeling that voters are content with the status quo and aren’t really paying attention.

“Voters may be sleepwalking to the polls,” he said.

Dr Kefford said Queenslanders may have already made their choice or voted early, which wasn’t good for Ms Frecklington’s chances.

The electoral commission said 580,000 people had already voted by 3.30pm on Friday, while 880,000 have applied to vote by post.

Labor on Saturday nevertheless kept the pressure on the LNP, championing their $1.83 billion in road and transport policy promises in Far North Queensland while attacking the LNP’s record under the government of ex-premier Campbell Newman.

Labor has pledged fully-funded Bruce Highway upgrades including a new inland route, improvements to the Peninsula Development Road and funding for the Cairns Ring Road.

“Labor builds, the LNP cuts. We saw that when the LNP’s razor gang under Campbell Newman and his Assistant Minister Deb Frecklington cut $1.6 billion from our roads, cutting projects like the $24 million Cairns bus station project,” Transport Minister Mark Bailey said in a statement.

Labor on Saturday also pledged an additional $10 million for the expansion of services at the Lyons Street Diversionary Centre for public intoxication in Cairns.

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