LNP call to ‘punish’ Premier for making you vote
THE LNP is calling on Currumbin by-election voters to punish Annastacia Palaszczuk at the ballot box after she ordered the poll and council elections to go ahead tomorrow in the face of the deepening coronavirus crisis.
Ms Palaszczcuk has rejected calls for the elections to be postponed, despite increased restrictions introduced by the National Cabinet and the closure of the state's borders.
The LNP sent a text message to Currumbin voters on Friday urging them to make a pre-poll protest vote against Labor.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk has said the election must happen," the text reads.
"Use your pen and send Labor a message. Vote 1 LNP in Currumbin and number every box."
The Currumbin by-election is being held in tandem with the council election to find a replacement for long-serving LNP MP Jann Stuckey who resigned last month, citing mental health issues.
Barrister Laura Gerber is contesting the seat for the LNP while Labor's candidate is P & C Association identity Kaylee Campradt.
Polls have put Ms Campradt slightly ahead.
A by-election is also being held in the Ipswich seat of Bundamba to replace veteran Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller.
For voters in the council elections, a leading Gold Coast human rights advocate has offered to defend any elderly Queenslanders fined for not voting, for free, while a candidate in the controversial election is offering to pay people's fines if they choose not to vote for safety reasons.
Ron Behlau, partner at coast law firm Behlau Murakami Grant, said it was 'simply not fair' that those most at risk of contracting the coronavirus should be forced in to public to cast their vote.
The veteran lawyer is a member of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and serves on the executive committee of the Griffith University Innocence Project.
Mr Behlau's father, a 79-year-old pensioner and his mother, 64, are in the high-risk category and he said he was petrified about the elderly being forced to vote at the Queensland Local Government elections tomorrow.
"Pensioners are being directed by our government to do something which could result in their death," he said.
"And if they don't attend, they risk being fined and prosecuted for it.
"The elderly should just not be put at this risk.
"There exists defences to persons who choose not vote and my firm will act on their behalf on a pro bono basis if they are fined and prosecuted unfairly."
It's still not known whether voters will cop a fine should they choose to shun the ballot box this weekend.
Asked on ABC Radio Brisbane this morning about the fines, in light of the coronavirus crisis, Queensland's Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said the ECQ was focusing on tomorrow's elections.
It comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said earlier this week that she would speak to Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath about the issue.
"People will make their own mind up in terms of whether they vote or not tomorrow," Mr Vidgen said.
"We've had over 1.6 million participate in the process.
"We hope people vote tomorrow."
Mr Vidgen said punters voting today were in and out in under three minutes.
"But we'll worry about, after the election's done in terms of who's voted and who hasn't and there's a process I need to follow to go through," he said.
"But at the moment we're focusing on tomorrow."
Meanwhile, a Gold Coast council candidate has offered to pay the fines of those who don't vote for him - or anyone else - in tomorrow's election.
Former councillor Eddy Sarroff, who is standing in Division 10, has slammed the decision to go ahead with the local government elections in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
He says that, if elected, he will pay the fines of any senior citizens who don't vote because they fear the health risks.
"Last night we had Queensland Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young tell us it's safer to go out and vote than go to Coles, Woolies and Dan Murphy's," he said.
"We have schools closing, businesses in lock down, hundreds of thousands of people out of work and they are expected to go out and vote.
"I'd like the Premier or Ms Young to take the hundreds of calls on my mobile phone from older residents on the Gold Coast that are too scared to go to the shops let alone go out and vote in an election that should have been suspended or cancelled.
"My constituents in Division 10 are genuinely frightened for their life and the Premier is asking them to vote on Saturday. What is she thinking."
Mr Sarroff said he would personally pay for any senior citizens who are fined for not voting if he wins the hotly-contested division.
Originally published as LNP call to 'punish' Premier for making you vote