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Stunned Premier hits back with claim of bikies funding Labor

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk during the first leaders' debate of the Queensland State Election. Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk during the first leaders' debate of the Queensland State Election. Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. AAP Image - David Kapernick

IT took political donations linked to motorbike gangs to fire up last night's leadership debate.

Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman went head to head at a televised people's forum in Brisbane, hoping to sway undecided voters in the last week of the election campaign.

It was a tale of two very different performers - a polished debater with media savvy in one corner and a less experienced - occasionally passionate - party leader in the other.

While Ms Palaszczuk had moments of fire, she stumbled over all questions relating to policy.

She was unable to give financial detail backing up her party's election commitments on no asset scales, writing down debt and creating more jobs.

Mr Newman, on the other hand, delivered his party's platform with aplomb as he fielded questions - some of them emotive - on everything from gay marriage to the health system.

But one audience member's questions about the Fitzgerald inquiry into Queensland political corruption took the premier off guard.

After promising to sign up to Fitzgerald's proposed political accountability principles, he accused Labor of taking back-door donations from motorbike gangs via the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

"There are very well-known links between the unions and the Labor party," Mr Newman said.

"So we know the criminal motorcycle gangs are backing you (Labor).

"How do you know they have made no donations to the CFMEU and that's (not) coming through to you?

'Have you got clean money?"

Ms Palaszczuk blasted Mr Newman's claims, saying they were "ridiculous" and political parties needed to raise money.

She said there was nothing wrong with donations as long as they were open and accountable.

"Ours (donations) are declared," she countered.

"One thousand dollars and over is declared.

"Yours are not declared."

The debate was held before 100 undecided voters.

The end result - 48% backed Mr Newman, 26% supported Ms Palaszczuk and 26% were undecided.

- APN NEWSDESK

 

Topics:  Annastacia Palaszczuk campbell newman editors picks labor party lnp queensland election 2015



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