Female foes take Qld into election battle

Queenslanders will vote in October between Deb Frecklington (L) and Labor's Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Queenslanders will vote in October between Deb Frecklington (L) and Labor's Annastacia Palaszczuk.

A global pandemic has left Queensland's economy in tatters and Jackie Trad, the political force who once steered it, has lost her power.

But political analysts say Annastacia Palaszczuk could still lead Labor to victory over Deb Frecklington's Liberal National Party when voters hit the polls in October.

It will be the first state election in Australia where the leaders of both major parties are women.

The political foes have fought separate battles since Queenslanders voted in 2017, but they've also clashed on one issue: Ms Trad.

The former deputy premier and treasurer resigned from her ministerial responsibilities last week amid a second Crime and Corruption Commission investigation.

The government has distanced itself from the integrity scandal to avoid an election campaign cloud, University of Queensland Professor Katharine Gelber said.

The downfall of Ms Trad, a formidable force within Labor, is almost all the Liberal National Party has talked about in parliament this week.

She maintains she has done nothing wrong and has laid low, confirming on Facebook she will run in South Brisbane again.

"We've had politicians go through pretty significant scandals before and also go through pretty significant low points in their political career only to be resurrected at a later time," Prof Gelber told AAP.

"It's certainly too early to write her off as a politician."

Ms Trad's biggest threat outside parliament is the Greens, who are looking to lift their vote with Amy MacMahon, the same candidate who diminished Labor's margin in 2017.

A third term for Labor means the government must avoid tripping over itself again.

The COVID-19 pandemic has bolstered its chances of a win.

"It's looking much more positive than it previously was for Labor, even six months ago," Professor Gelber said.

"The consensus was that Labor would have been very, very lucky to get in in October and that they were pretty on the nose, but I think that the current situation has changed that a bit."

Voters cling to what they know in a crisis, however the LNP has its own edge, with much of its base in the bush and a perception of better economic management.

But they have struggled to influence debate and positing as conservative with the cash box while Scott Morrison throws billions into subsidies and welfare to keep Australia afloat could prove difficult.

"It's going to be hard for the LNP to cut through with a message that they're better economic managers given that the policies being adopted by both parties in all the states are pretty much identical," Professor Gelber added.

Australians have also tired of the negative campaigning that chews away at confidence in politics and pushes policy dialogue to the back seat, Griffith University's Dr Tracey Arklay said.

"The capacity for the opposition, whether that's Labor or Liberal, to come in and attack and use fear campaigns is something that I think is tragic," she added.

"It makes it really really difficult to get radical change even if radical change might be really needed."

She wants parties to pivot away from personal attacks and focus on what they will bring to the table.

Mary Crawford, who held the federal seat of Forde for Labor from 1987 to 1996, said parties will need to think hard about how to address unemployment in Queensland's north.

Communities there struggled before the global pandemic hit and parties must go further than giving their ear, the Queesland University of Technology political analyst said.

"Often people think that by being listened to that means you're taking on their solution and that's not always the case," Dr Crawford added.

"The difficulty is ... if the answers were so simple we'd all have had them a long time ago."

Australian Associated Press