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Queenslanders face early election

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Queenslanders will go to the polls on January 31 after Premier Campbell Newman cut short his holidays to make the surprise announcement.

The Premier, who officially confirmed the date via Twitter after writs were issued, later said he made the early announcement to end speculation for the sake of the economy.

“It’s become obvious to me we can’t waste any time implementing our strong plan for economic growth and job creation,” Newman said in a statement.

“Both the unions and the Labor opposition have already stated Queensland is ready for an election, showing they are well and truly in electioneering mode.

“I will not let the state’s recovery be damaged by endless electioneering from Labor, the unions and minor parties.”

Newman asked voters to judge the Liberal National Party (LNP) on its economic plan for Queensland, which includes its pledge to reduce state debt and the long-term lease of public assets.

“This is the most important election in many years: it will decide if Queensland reaps the rewards of staying the course through unsettled times, or squanders that opportunity for a future again mired in debt, deceit and reckless economic management,” he said.

Newman cut short his annual leave and cancelled a trade mission to India to announce the date and begin the campaign.

He’ll hit the road on Wednesday morning.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, who was also on holidays, said Newman didn’t succeed if he was trying to catch her off guard.

The election is expected to focus on a number of key issues, including jobs and unemployment, law and order, the slashing of frontline services and asset sales.

Palaszczuk has already also indicated she will be pushing her party’s “clear vision in education”, while Palmer United Party state leader John Bjelke-Petersen will also focus on rural issues.

The LNP’s so-called “Plan B”, relating to who will lead if Newman fails in Ashgrove will also come under scrutiny.

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