Queensland might show Labor the limitations of a small target strategy

After the shock defeat of the Queensland Government over the weekend, there is a growing sense that the Liberals could lose the next federal election and that Bill Shorten may become Prime Minister.

While the overwhelming focus has been on what the Queensland election means for the Coalition, the implications of Queensland Labor winning with a risk-adverse, small target approach will be just as important for the ALP.

Queensland Labor ran a small target campaign, focusing on dissatisfaction with the Newman Government. Labor opposed their cuts to the public sector and asset sales and emphasised cost of living pressures. Rather than outlining a big-picture vision and detailed policies, new policy announcements were rather modest. The small target strategy got Labor across the line but it remains unclear what the implications of this strategy will be for Labor in government, particularly if it needs to propose anything contentious in its first Budget. It may act as a political straight jacket and limit what Labor is able to do.

It will be worth keeping an eye on how Queensland Labor does over the next year as it may show the political limits of a small target strategy in government and be a warning for federal Labor.


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