Greetings Daily Kos Elections, I am someone who has been religiously reading Daily Kos Elections and also the old Swing State Project. I have recently signed up to become a life member and now I thought it would be time to introduce myself and start my first diary. Thanks to David Nir and co for making it such a great site.
Anyway, I thought I would make you guys aware of a strange attack on gay marriage... Or at least an attack on same sex civil unions as that is technically all we have (but the ad refers to gay marriage). What is strange is that it is an add against the conservative leader of the Liberal National Party (LNP), Campbell Newman. He is personally pro gay marriage but is campaigning to repeal same sex civil unions because that is the party platform of the LNP.
This is not what I was originally going to write my first diary on, but it seems like a topical issue on DKE (and my brother is gay, as is the brother of the bigot who produced the add!). Ordinarily however I find Queensland politics a little boring, and prefer the US elections. ehstronghold does some excellent work on the Qld elections though.
Please excuse this dodgy first attempt at a diary. All feedback appreciated !
The Ad in Question
The attack add is from Bob Katter's Australia Party against the leader of the Liberal National Party, Campbell Newman. Basically he attacks Newman for not standing up to minority groups and shows a picture of two men together presumably naked although it is pixelated. Here is the link:
A very childish attack add, but then he is a bit of a simpleton. He has a gay half brother who is quite vocal in his disapproval of the add.
Despite the fact that the ad hasn't been played very much, it has gone viral and essentially been given a massive boost of free (if hostile) media.
Background on Campbell Newman
It must be a bit strange to many of you that the leader of the Conservatives can be pro-gay marriage but this is readily understandable as they have been beaten every time they try and put up some arch conservative. Newman is a very forceful character (ex-army) but failed to convince them to change the party platform on this issue. He has been somewhat unconvincing about repealing the recent legalization of civil unions for same sex couples in Queensland (marriage is a federal issue, civil unions a domain of the states for some reason). He has been making contradictory statements, swearing to certain evangelical groups he will repeal the legislation, and making far more moderate statements at other events.
Background on the Homophobic Bob Katter and Henchmen
Bob Katter Jnr is a Federal MP who has started up Katter's Australia Party.
The basic aim of the new party on social issues is to be more conservative than the LNP, and on economic issues be like the old protectionist section of the Labor Party.
Bob Katter Jnr is the last remaining Minister from the government of Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson (a very conservative and corrupt State Premier of Qld). Katter left the State parliament for a Federal seat.
Joh, Katter's old boss, ruled Queensland with an iron fist through the use of the Bjelkemander. Basically he rigged the seats through malapportionment so that there was far too many rural seats. He was thoroughly corrupt and after he was forced from office, he was eventually put on trial for corruption. He escaped justice because of one juror (the foreman), Luke Shaw, who forced a mistrial by refusing to agree with the guilty verdict (in Queensland the verdict has to be unanimous).
In 1992 it was revealed that the jury foreman, Luke Shaw, was a member of the Young Nationals and was identified with the "Friends of Joh" movement. A special prosecutor announced in 1992 there would be no retrial because Sir Joh, then aged 81, was too old.Luke Shaw, the author of the add in question is a jury tamperer who helped Katter's old boss escape prison by getting on the jury despite having a clear conflict of interest. This outrageous stunt turned out to not actually be illegal at the time (a loophole that has been closed).
Electoral Impact Prediction
So what effect will this issue have on the election ? It will probably have a negligible effect on most seats, but will likely affect the outcome in a couple. It will be interesting to see what the polling will show, but it will likely ensure a negligible vote for Bob Katter's Australia Party in urban areas (so most of Queensland's population).
As can be seen from a recent diary by ehstronghold, Campbell Newman is trailing in the seat of Ashgrove. To win the seat, both Campbell Newman and Kate Jones must appeal for the 2nd preference votes of the Greens Candidate (who is pulling 5.5%) or the Katter's Autralia Party Candidate (who is pulling 2.8%).
The Greens have gay marriage as part of the party platform so anyone voting for the Greens as a first preference is very definitely in favour of the recently introduced civil unions (so they are not just about the environment, they are a full social justice party)
The Greens Federal Leader, Bob Brown is a prominent gay rights campaigner (he himself is gay). Labor of course introduced the Civil Partnerships Act 2011 so gay rights is already an election issue.
My prediction is that if Campbell Newman starts ramping up the anti gay rhetoric he will lose this left leaning seat. However by not ramping up the anti-gay rhetoric the LNP will likely lose some rural seats to Katter's Australia Party.
However it is likely that it will help one of the two sitting members who have joined Bob Katter's Australia Party. Shane Knuth who represents the rural seat of Dalrymple, actually won the seat by unseating a former One Nation Member at the last election - Results from Dalrymple. One Nation was a similar far right party who were anti immigration, anti gay marriage, anti any other thing that people like to do. In fact Knuth's brother also won a term as the One Nation member for the seat of Burdekin which is a rural seat next to Dalrymple.
It seems likely that by the party releasing this ad, Knuth's chances of avoiding a competitive battle with a far right candidate for the seat decrease.
One seat that it is a key issue is in Mt Cootha - Seat of Qld Labour Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser. The legislation was a blatant political stunt to save the hide of Labor Deputy Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser who has a very left wing seat (Mt Cootha) with the Mt Cootha Election Results showing a 23% vote for the Greens. The legislation was seen as a way for Fraser to stop losing votes to the Greens candidate. Sorry to say that the legislation was a cheap electoral stunt rather than a brave move to do what is right, but I guess a win is a win. I think this add, despite being aimed at Newman will help Fraser keep his seat as it will drive socially liberal voters towards Labor.
I think the anti-gay attack add from maverick conservative Bob Katter could have a significant impact on the Queensland State Election, despite the fact that it will have a marginal impact in most seats.
This is firstly because it could affect the outcome of two of the most important races, that of Conservative LNP Leader Campbell Newman, and Labor Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser. Secondly for a handful of truly rural seats in the State, Katters's Australia Party could win a few seats and deprive the LNP of safe seats, requiring them to win more seats off Labor to get a majority.
I have no polling to back this up... but will watch and see how the election unfolds.
Now time for me to go to sleep !