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"Vote One Nation?": Qld LNP leader's 'Steven Marshall moment'

Politics

Queensland Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls has blamed the effect of a 27-day state election campaign for a slip of the tongue in which he almost urged voters to support One Nation at tomorrow’s poll – a gaffe eerily echoing South Australian Liberal leader Steven Marshall’s infamous election-eve appeal to “Vote Labor”.

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The LNP leader tripped up during a round of interviews with breakfast television shows this morning.

“If you want a stable majority government … then the best thing to do is to support your LNP, One N, uh, LNP candidate at the election,” he said on Seven.

He later told reporters the stumble was down to the long days on the hustings.

“Look, it’s been a long campaign,” he said from Pumicestone, the first stop on his southeast seat blitz.

“I was simply going to say that you need to vote one for your local LNP candidate as I’ve probably said 500 times during this election campaign.”

Nicholls has been dogged by the possibility of his party having to do a deal with One Nation to form government, but he’s insisted there will be no coalition or cabinet position for the ultra-conservative party.

Instead, he’s been pushing for voters to put the LNP first to ensure majority government, warning that One Nation has irresponsible and inexperienced candidates.

His party will preference One Nation ahead of Labor in a majority of the state’s 93 seats, and he again left the door open to governing with the support of Pauline Hanson’s party.

Nicholls has spent the four-week campaign refusing to say if he’ll accept One Nation’s support to form minority government, and told ABC Radio today: “I’m going to deal with the parliament that the people of Queensland elect.”

“We are about implementing our agenda, and only our agenda,” he said.

“We go into this contest to win, and to win strongly.”

Nicholls said voters could trust his pledge not to sack public servants, despite he and former Premier Campbell Newman axing 14,000 workers when the LNP was last in power.

He said public sector jobs were safe even though the LNP planned to save $1.6 billion over four years through a government efficiency program.

“There’s no forced redundancies, there’s no increase in redundancies,” he said.

“The savings we’re talking about are exactly the same savings Labor is talking about.”

Nicholls said he’d been “very frank” with voters about the mistakes of the Newman government.

“We did make mistakes… mistakes that an LNP government I lead won’t ever make again.”

-AAP

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