LNP leader Campbell Newman.
LNP leader Campbell Newman has declined to reveal his stance on abortion and euthanasia, describing the divisive social issues as a distraction.
The alternative premier seemed genuinely surprised when brisbanetimes.com.au asked for his position on the issues, both topics of debate in state politics last year.
"Why are you asking me about that? I have a lot more to think about than that," Mr Newman said.
Mr Newman, who resigned as Brisbane's lord mayor to become the LNP's state leader a fortnight ago, said euthanasia and abortion were issues raised by his political opponents.
"I am not going to be distracted by things that are put up and fed in by Labor party spin doctors," he said.
Two weeks ago in an interview about Mr Newman's record as lord mayor, Queensland Conservation Council's Toby Hutcheon described Mr Newman as a genuine 'small-l' liberal with progressive green credentials.
brisbanetimes.com.au has been seeking Mr Newman's views on social issues since that date.
Mr Newman was yesterday campaigning in Carindale in the seat of Chatsworth with LNP candidate Steve Minnikin.
He said no-one had raised social issues with him as he doorknocked, and that euthanasia was "arguably" a federal matter anyway.
"I am not going to be drawn into these sorts of things in the campaign," he said.
"Infrastructure, traffic congestion, a failure to plan, a government that focuses on the politics of the day rather than the long-term planning for Queensland ..."
The issue of abortion was raised again last year after the controversial trial of Cairns woman Tegan Leach.
While abortions are common in Queensland, they technically remain illegal unless the welfare of the mother is threatened.
At the time of the woman's trial, Premier Anna Bligh said while she believed abortion should not be treated as a criminal matter, not enough politicians supported decriminalisation to justify introducing a bill for debate.
But Mr Newman insisted the issue was not at the forefront of voters' minds.
"I am just not going to be distracted by these sorts of things," Mr Newman repeated.
"Nobody in the community has raised that issue with me. It is not what is on the minds of Queenslanders."
On the issue of euthanasia, former opposition leader John Paul Langbroek last year said he did not support the practice.
Pro-euthanasia supporter Philip Nitschke applauded Mr Langbroek for making his position clear.
The issue re-emerged when the Greens pushed to overturn a commonwealth ban on the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory legislating to allow euthanasia.
Political scientist Clive Bean, from Queensland University of Technology, said Mr Newman's response was curious.
"It sort of implies a politician who is finding his way in the new realm that he has entered into," Professor Bean said.
He said social issues tended to be divisive internally for political parties and were often discussed in terms of conscience votes.
"Parties tend not to take a stance and force their members to fall into a particular line because they recognise that there will be a lot of division within the party because they are moral issues, rather than social issues," he said.
Professor Bean said voters had the right to know more about the person seeking to become premier.
"Most political leaders will come out and say, 'This is not a party view, but my personal view is such and such'," he said.
"They recognise that they kind of need to stake their own stance on it so they know where they come from.
"They will alienate some voters, but it will also attract some.
"I suspect it is not an issue that Campbell Newman will be able to dodge forever, but by the same token he can probably take a bit of time to get himself orientated on issues like that."
COMMENT: How can the people of Queensland vote for a leader who refuses to detail his policies and views in advance of the election? It racks of treating the voters with complete disdain and almost as bad as John Howard's "core promises" and "non-core promises", the latter being dispensable after the election when the gullible public were told which promises were which.
Campbell Newman has moved from the "CAN Do Man" to the "CON Do Man".