tip off

Labor decimated in Queensland

Can-do” Campbell Newman “can did” on the weekend, leading the Liberal-National Party to a crushing victory of Queensland Labor and winning a likely 78 seats in a 89-seat parliament.

It is much more than a loss, it is without doubt a devastating defeat,” conceded Labor leader Anna Bligh, as she announced her resignation as Labor leader and from her seat. Even Newman admitted he was surprised by the scope of the win, telling journalists after the win that “it’s surreal”.

This is without doubt Labor’s greatest electoral catastrophe,” writes Laura Tingle in The Australian Financial Review.

The Courier-Mail’s Dennis Atkins declared: “History’s been written, records broken and set, and a new force has arrived in Queensland politics.”

William Bowe of Crikey’s Poll Bludger agrees:

Suddenly Kristina Keneally’s performance doesn’t look so bad. What happened to Labor in Queensland on Saturday is without any precedent in Australian history — certainly not since the Second World War, prior to which the party system tended to be more fluid. Labor can be assured of only six seats, holds the lead in only seven, and on the best case scenario will win only eight, for a total of 9% of the Legislative Assembly’s 89 seats. That compares with the “cricket team” of 11 members that Queensland Labor famously managed to return in 1974, at what was previously the gold standard for Australian election massacres — and at that time the parliament only had 82 seats.”

Many commentators went with the 1974 “cricket team” sporting analogy.

“That infamous Labor cricket team of the 1970s has now been whittled down to a water polo squad of seven, possibly minus a goalkeeper if Tim Mulherin is unable to secure the seat of Mackay,” writes Michael Madigan at The Courier-Mail.

The LNP, at only the second state outing for the merged Liberal and Nationals parties, will pull off one of the most comprehensive electoral victories in Australian history, reducing Labor to somewhere between a netball team of seven and a 15-member rugby side,” said Dennis Atkins.

There will probably only be two seats outside Brisbane that belong to Labor.

Queensland is the latest state to turn conservative after years of a Labor government. It makes implementing federal policy even more difficult, notes The AFR’s editorial:

For her part, Prime Minister Julia Gillard will have to be more consultative in negotiations with the states to tackle issues such as housing, population growth and infrastructure development and she will no longer be able to push federally dictated reform outcomes onto the states as political authority has now moved so convincingly away from Canberra.”

Tingle also notes the comparison between Bligh selling off state assets and Julia Gillard’s “lie” over a carbon tax: “The caucus just has to look at the way Queenslanders dealt with a leader, and particularly a woman leader, who they believed broke a promise or misled them —  in Bligh’s case on privatisation — to get a deathly chill in their bones.”

In The Australian, Peter van Onselen speaks of similar concerns:

The parallels are obvious and, unless something dramatically changes when the Prime Minister goes to the polls, they appear likely to add up to a federal replay of what we just saw in Queensland. Voters don’t like being deceived.”

Will Rudd return? asks Geoff Kitney in The AFR:

Some senior figures said they believed the Queensland result would revive the hopes of Rudd supporters that his leadership ambitions may not be dead. This is like the electric shock that reivves a body that was thought to be dead,’ one said. ‘Kevin is not as dead as everyone thought.’”

But according to exit polls, ultimately this was about state issues and the dirt campaign that Queensland Labor ran, says Dennis Atkins in The Courier-Mail:

So, let’s deal with what happened. Labor hit the pedal too hard on its “Trash Newman” campaign.

The Textor Crosby material says the top issue that most affected voters was “political behaviour”. This is an unheard-of outcome.

Let’s walk back from this. People hate politics. They hated the Bligh government and they hated the politics the Bligh government played.

They then delivered the most comprehensively political campaign in the history of campaigns. The campaign that came before wasn’t just negative. It was brutally negative - pushing nasty arguments against Labor’s opponents and their families, including the leader’s spouse.

It struck a new low. Labor refused to the death to apologise, legitimising what had been said.

Labor threw everything at it — desperately hoping some mud would stick. It backfired.”

On Sunday Bligh resigned as leader of the party and from her seat as South Brisbane (which had only narrowly maintained), declaring that she was “closing the book” on her political life.

I apologise today to the people of South Brisbane for any inconvenience and difficulty that my decision will cause them,” she said.

The size of the loss, the loudness and clarity of the message sent by the people of Queensland is unmistakable and, in fairness to Queenslanders, I don’t believe I should ignore it. I simply don’t believe that Labor can develop an effective Opposition, or rebuild from this point and from this defeat, if it has me as part of its public face and in its ranks.”

But who will be leader now? Many of the most likely leaders-in-waiting — Andrew Fraser, Cameron Dick, Kate Jones — lost their seats. It’s now suggested that Fraser or Dick may be parachuted into Bligh’s South Brisbane seat — although Labor minister Annastacia Palaszczuk is the current favourite to take over as leader.

Jones lost, but she fought a campaign that may influence how future Labor campaigns are run, writes Troy Bramston in The Australian:

Outgoing MP Kate Jones ran a gutsy and spirited campaign. Intelligent, personable and a talented media performer, she was behind only Campbell Newman and Anna Bligh in the scrutiny placed on her. Party insiders were so impressed with Jones that a run in the seat of Brisbane at the next federal election is tipped.

Although the LNP won a smashing victory, the statewide result was not replicated in Ashgrove. The statewide swing against the ALP was more than 15 per cent. The swing against the ALP in Ashgrove was lower, at about 10 per cent. Seasoned campaign operatives say that a “party leader’s premium” should boost his or her local vote by about a further 5 per cent. So Newman should have achieved double the swing against Labor in Ashgrove.

Newman’s failure to match or exceed the LNP vote statewide was not only because of a campaign to smear him personally, but also because of a new model of community campaigning and grassroots organising.”

The front page of The Sunday-Mail yesterday focused on the new Premier:

Over at The Power Index, Paul Barry offers up nine things to know about Newman, including his chutzpah, his political pedigree and his potential problems.

But Newman needs to thank former leader Lawrence Springborg for combing the Liberals and the National Party into one combined party in Queensland, notes Steven Wardill in The Courier-Mail:

What Springborg knew after the election loss two years earlier was that the parties would never win in their current predicament.

There was no way they could again present a Nationals leader as the alternative premier during an election knowing that to win, it would mean the Liberal leader would likely assume the position.”

One of those problems will be how Newman responds to the flood commission report handed down a week ago, notes Robert MacDonald in The Courier-Mail:

And now Newman has to live with an unfunded election promise that could potentially involve many millions of dollars. How much, for instance, might it cost to fully implement the commission’s recommendation the state government consider demanding that all electricity supply conduits below the defined flood level be waterproofed?

But it’s not just the money. It is also the sheer bureaucratic complexity of many recommendations, such as the suggestion that all levees in the state should be regulated, but only after state and local authorities actually agree on the definition of a levee.”

48
  • 1
    Stephen
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I disagree with Albo’s lame ‘it’s time’ take, which seems to have been borrowed from the lamented demise of Whitlam’s better half.

    I think this is partly about Labor having little product differentiation, being egregiously like the Liberals, and breaking its promises just as egregiously.

    The good thing Bligh allowed before the axe fell was a better appraisal of Wivenhoe. As she seems more personable than Gillard, her fate cannot bode well for the latter.

  • 2
    gapot
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The new government in QLD should pass a law ASAP that any candidate who resigns for the reason Bligh made should be forced to pay the cost of a byelection. This woman has no morals.

  • 3
    botswana bob
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The conventional wisdom seems to be the wipeout is due to “its time” or the fact that Bligh was female. In the previous election blokes elected Bligh, and if the government was competent — which it wasn’t — it wouldn’t have been wiped. The cost of living was a big issue. Power, water and public transport shot into the ionosphere and everytime a bill arrived it reminded one to vote against Labor.

  • 4
    AJH
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    To decimate is to reduce by one tenth. It comes from the Roman practice of drawing lots and executing one soldier in ten. This is clear from the name “deci/mate”.

    Labor were more than decimated.

  • 5
    Edward James
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    @ Capot. I think it would be better for taxpayers if the second pklace candiate took the seat. Failing that easy fix which could be legislated for all elections in future. Then yes the person breaking faith with their trusting constituents the way Anna Bligh has, should pay the full cost of a by election!
    @ Stephen The Wivenhoe issue was presided over by a dysfunctional Labor government just like Heiner asnd Shreddergate. While so many Labor team players have been put in the street where they belong in NSW and Queensland, the damage they have accomadated is yet to be exposed for all to consider by a Royal Commission. It is time for Can do newman to represent the peoples. Edward James

  • 6
    Wexford
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks AJH for saving me the time in posting my own pedantic correction. And doing it better than I would have!

  • 7
    New Cassandra
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I loved Clive Palmer’s reaction Saturday night.

    First Queensland, next Juliar

    I may have to re-subscribe to Crikey soon to enjoy you leftoids gnashing your teeth.

  • 8
    guytaur
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    The usual politics is happening. Those of Conservative bent talking up the significance of the result while those on the left talk it down. This especially st the Federal level.
    The real lesson has not been learnt. Frustrated vooters punish more the longer they have to wait to give their verdict.
    This is out of a sense of injustice. Labor has failed them in three states. Now we have seen disullusion already with two of those ( Victoria and NSW).
    Over time this will happen again with the Colition in the role of incompetence. If they are not careful the two majors could dissappear. The left further ahead has lready had two parties emerge of which The Democrats have died, but the Greens march on. On the right we have seen Pauline Hanson nd now Bob Katter. I predict Katter will go down the same way in party terms. This because of the one person party, unless Mr Katter can do what Mr Zbrown did. Stick at it for 40 years with principle gaining trust and respect even from people who will never vote for you. Eventually, though a credible prty on he right will emerge.
    This could meand Greens vs Katter (insert other names as appropriate) in the battle for government in future years.

  • 9
    jj
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    With reuslts like this it is worth thinking about an electoral system that is more proportional. Ie in Tasmania and the ACT.- Hare - Clark in Tas - not sure on ACT

    A party ( ie LNP on Sat) that gets almost 50% of the primary vote certainly should govern. But with the labor party getting about 26% of the vote yet only about 8-9% of the seats. Likewise Aust Party with 11% - 2 seats and the Greens 7.6% and no seats.

    Optional preferential voting may also have contributed as well

    Surely in a one house state this situation is not ideal. food for thought

    It will be interesting to see if the new premier will grant Labor -party status

  • 10
    SBH
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    just a small thing Amber, could ‘decimated’ be relagated to describing a reduction of one in ten and thereby regain some meaning? There’s much to be said for British understatement and against American hyperbolic useage.

  • 11
    Wexford
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting how the meaning of “decimate” has, in the general public’s understanding, switched from “to reduce BY one tenth” to “to reduce TO one tenth”.

    @JJ, it would be perceived as so appallingly petty to deny party status, I think Newman has no choice but to grant it. It would also be smart to grant party status anyway - an effective Government requires an effective Opposition.

  • 12
    Edward James
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    No Romans voted in Queensland. Labor were butchered at the ballot (box) block. Labor party team players have been pissing on the back of constituents for far too long! Edward James

  • 13
    michael r james
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    AJH Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:05 am

    You are right and you are wrong.

    The change in the actual vote was about 15%, technically close enough to deploy the term decimate.

    The result in loss of seats is so much higher, and the dominance by the LNP so great that the main thing this shows up is how undemocratic our electoral systems are in Queensland and Australia. As is well known, when the situation get so ultra-polarized, people go into a bi-polar mode and minority parties suffer — thus, for example, the Green vote decreased.

    The 2009 election was expected to go to the LNP but they were and are such a bunch of unimpressive regressive dimwits and the LNP such a pit of self-loathing that people couldn’t bring themselves to do it. And they shouldn’t have to make such a stupid choice — but that is all our dumb electoral system allows.

    If anyone thinks this is a good thing then they are extraordinarily blinkered. What we need is more points of view in politics and more rational approaches to problems rather than party-political ideological crap. Which do you think we are going to get now?

    Equally if anyone imagines that there is some magical warm embrace of Campbell Newman and the LNP, they are also deluded. Newman will have gained substantial goodwill and room to manoeuvre (which I seriously doubt he will use wisely, based on his history) but equally it won’t take much for a lot of those who just voted for change, to become disaffected. I haven’t seen a single LNP policy that will solve the problems Queensland has.

  • 14
    Phil L
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The parallel that I see between NSW and QLD Labor losses that have federal impacts is not the ‘it’s time factor’, but more that a fact that they won elections previously that they should have lost.

    The fact is that if QLD and NSW oppositions had been up to the job then those states would have turned to the Libs/Nats in the previous electoral cycle. The fact that they didn’t and that Labour was begrudgingly voted back in led a huge desire to be sure of getting rid of them next time. (Federal Labor beware!)

    The lesson here is you can’t defy political reality, and to try and live beyond your natural life brings about a more brutal end.

  • 15
    Edward James
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    @ michael r james
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
    Are you legitimately unhappy Michael James? I believe I have witnesserd just how effective Australian voters can be when they vote for a change in their government. Politics and the way in which we are governed is all about Australian grass roots voters willing to spend a few cents checking out the legitimat posters on Crikey.com . I Edward James is telling you my elected representatives are accomadating political sins against the peoples that would be you James. So you feel free to tell others the truth is out there and our elected representatives Local State and Federal are silent on the truth! But do not disrespect me Michael. Because what I write on Crikey.com is about credability generally. Edward James POB 3024 Umina 2257 …0243419140.

  • 16
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    @Michael R James
    “such a bunch of unimpressive regressive dimwits” - sounds like a fairly accurate assessment of the Abbott team and the Gillard team.
    Substitute “progressive” for “regressive”, and you’d also cover the Greens! Actually, now I think of it, you’d probably have to add “odious” when describing any party which contained Lee Fleetwood Mac.

  • 17
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Crikey office has been split all morning on the use of “decimate”. Leigh Josey and Bernard Keane strongly support the Latin meaning of the word and believe it should only be used to mean reduced by 10%.

    Luke Buckmaster, First Dog on the Moon and I believe in more modern usage, and note that the Oxford dictionary offers the first definition of decimate as “kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of”, although we appreciate the historical connotations.

    I personally liked this two little notes. The first from the Oxford dictionary site:

    Historically, the meaning of the word decimate is ‘kill one in every ten of (a group of people)’. This sense has been more or less totally superseded by the later, more general sense ‘kill, destroy, or remove a large proportion of’, as in the virus has decimated the population. Some traditionalists argue that this is incorrect, but it is clear that it is now part of standard English.”

    And this from dictionary.com:

    The extended sense ‘destroy a great number or proportion of’ developed in the 19th century: Cholera decimated the urban population.”

    The 19th century! Long live Crikey readers supporting grammar standards from the 1700s.

  • 18
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    @Amber Jamieson
    Who knows - perhaps one day Crikey staff will even understand that “grammar” does not mean “semantics”.

  • 19
    michael r james
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Edward J et al.

    You have no idea how unhappy I am. In 1979 I quit Queensland and Australia, not to return for several decades. The situation in Queensland was barely credible — regressive is deeply inadequate to describe the Bjelke-Peterson “government” even if it were legitimately elected which of course it was not. As for Fraser and the federal situation, I wrote a note about that last Friday and referred to my previous article. Again, only because of the Murdocracy and our absurd dysfunctional electoral and political system do we end up with these extreme swings and fundamentally illegitimate governments (because the electorate have been forced into an impossible “choice”.)

    Even though types like yourself cannot bring themselves to admit it, it is no accident that the present federal government is one of the best functioning since Hawk/Keating (and yes we are speaking of “operationally”, not politically or populist crapola that people like you like to emphasize).

    (crikey.com.au/2010/09/03/the-crisis-in-governance-in-two-party-systems/)
    The crisis in governance in two-party systems
    by Michael R James Friday, 3 September 2010

    As I have argued in Crikey and elsewhere, we desperately need to change our political culture and the only way I can see how, is to make it more democratic — yes, some version of proportional representation. Yes, where even a loon like Bob Katter gets some say. (And anyway it is a tight contest as to who would win the looniest award, Katter of Barnaby. BTW, Lee R. doesn’t even enter this contest of looniness!)

  • 20
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    @Michael R James
    Someone who changes her name so that she can channel a mythical Welshwoman is not a looney????

    I’ll have what you’re having.

  • 21
    Plane
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    The loss was significant comparing past election results. “Decimate”, “wiped-out”, “obliterated” Maybe? But the context here is an election result, not loss of life or property

  • 22
    beachcomber
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Steve Wardill’s comments are close to the mark. Queensland voters have been looking for a viable alternative to Labor since they booted Goss out in 1996. The Borbidge Government was incompetent and forgettable, even the LNP airbrushed it from history and referred to 20 years of Labor rule.

    The arrival of One Nation fractured the non-Labor vote in 1998, letting Beattie form a minority Government. Since then, a series on lacklustre Liberal and National Party leaders, the inability of the Liberals and Nationals to agree on many policy areas, and their inability to sort out who would lead a Coalition Government if the Liberals won more seats that the Nationals, meant voters had no alternative but to keep electing Labor Governments.

    A half credible “leader” and a united party (at least united in the media), combined with over a decade of anger, resulted in a massive swing.

    Although it is interesting that the swing to the LNP was largely confined to South East Queensland, where voters took the chance to elect a “Liberal” lead Government. Outside SEQ most of the swing from the ALP went straight to the Katter Party. Was that “a pox on both your houses”? Does it mean the “Liberal” brand is as unpopular outside Brisbane as the “National” brand was within Brisbane?

  • 23
    botswana bob
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Troy Bramston’s Ashgrove analysis doesn’t stand up. I live in the electorate and the contention that “Newman should have achieved double the swing against Labor in Ashgrove” is silly for several reasons.
    1] Newman was LNP leader and thus his campaign time in Ashgrove was limited.Jones quit the ministry — not that anyone noticed — and campaigned full time.
    2] Jones is a local and her birth location helped. Ashgrove is provincial and many didn’t like the fact that Newman not only wasn’t born here but lived in an adjacent suburb.
    3] The ALP poured enormous resources into her campaign, far more than it would have normally for an ex-cabinet minister. It was a cunning campaign as her posters/leaflets made no mention of her ALP affiliation. We received several phone calls from people extolling Jones saying they were locals . It was revealed these callers were union officials reading from a script.
    4]Though a well-off ALP careerist married to a $450 000 a year recycled Labor spin doctor Jones portrayed herself as a muffin-baking battler from Struggle St. Can she repeat the performance now that the opposition knows the script??

  • 24
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Gapot, on the matter of a (losing) leader resigning straight after an election and causing a by-election. I ask you to consider the position of John Howard in 2007. Just say Howard had in fact won the seat of Bennelong and been relegated to the Opposition benches. Do you really think, in that hypothetical situation, Mr Howard would/should have stuck around as Liberal leader? Or more likely, as a Liberal backbencher? I doubt it. Then as now, the electorate had made its position clear - go now, go completely, we’re happy to pay for a by-election. For all its faults, this is not a big issue in the structure of our democratic process.

  • 25
    Wexford
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Nice contribution from the Crikey office to the linguistic debate @Amber!

    We’re in a bit of a grey area here; English is a living language and therefore meanings (semantics) are subject to change at the whim of the language’s users. That has happened, but the original meaning lingers.

    The problem is that it might still be used literally (that is, its historical meaning) and people get confused because the word is a quantitative one. Qualitative words on the other hand are easier to discern in terms of meaning by examining their context.

  • 26
    Schnappi
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Although the qld election has given lnp a dictatorship majoroity and no upper house for any checks and balances,the comments in the murdoch press are laughable hate filled propaganda.
    Seems people and the media forget qld was governed for 20 out of 22 years,so if those 20 years were so bad ,what type of people are queenslanders.Now they have gone to an extreme where one party rules,doubt it will rule for all the people in that state.

  • 27
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    @HUGH (CHARLIE) MCCOL
    Then what would be the point of having electorates? If the voters of Bennelong had accepted John Howard’s offer to represent them in Federal Parliament, he would have been honour-bound to stay on as their representative. We don’t have a presidential system, which is what you appear to be arguing for.

  • 28
    Edward James
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    @Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
    I thought John Howard lost the seat of Bennalong?? Looser and quitter Anna Bligh told her constituents she woulfd remain full term if she held her State seat. She held her seat and then bailed out on her constituents. Edward James

  • 29
    Charles Richardson
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the time spent debating usage should have been spent looking at numbers. Labor holds the lead in eight seats, not seven: Bulimba, Bundamba, Inala, Mackay, Mulgrave, Rockhampton, South Brisbane & Woodbridge.

  • 30
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    John Howard lost every state and 130 MP’s in a few years without all this frigging hysteria.

    And let’s get real, the ALP and LNP are the same anyway.

    What concerns me is that Campbell does not care too much about the environment or anything else much more than mining, mining and more mining.

    Queensland might well end up like Nigeria.

  • 31
    michael r james
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I have only just read William Bowe’s piece in Crikey today. It reinforces anything I said earlier, including in my published articles about our shockingly awful electoral system.

    This brings me to the second function of parliament, which is the one that presumes to make the system democratic: representation. While nothing should be taken away from the immense achievement of the LNP on Saturday, it has still not on present numbers cracked 50% of the statewide vote (although late counting may tip it over the line). However, such is the system in Queensland that it has emerged with very few fetters upon its power. This is not a situation Queenslanders tend to lament. The public is very easily persuaded that good government can be equated to “strong” and “decisive” leadership, rather than apparent abstractions like accountability and consensus. Media players are eager to fortify this view, knowing that systems which concentrate power are most responsive the pressures brought to bear by powerful interests. It tends not to register that such issues lay at the root of the abuses of the Bjelke-Petersen era – for which, incidentally, Queensland voters were far more forgiving than they were for Labor’s failings on Saturday.

    .
    and
    .

    There is plainly no clamour for these issues to be resolved by restoring the upper house, which Queensland abolished in 1922. The obvious alternative is to replace the single-member constituency system, which is increasingly a peculiarity of the English-speaking world, with proportional representation. Such a system in its purest form would have given Labor 24 seats, a suitably humiliating total that would nonetheless have left it enough personnel to credibly perform the job of opposition. An Australian public schooled in the notion that power should be wielded singularly and authoritatively would no doubt complain about minority government and the empowerment of marginal groupings, which we are told has had such a disastrous impact in Canberra over the past 18 months.

    .
    If I wanted to take the “glass half full” perspective I would say that this should make all Australians (esp. after NSW & Vic elections and subsequent governments) realize something is broken. But no, I have zero faith in that. The fact that we had 21 years of the CP/NP gerrymander & Bjelke-Petersen, followed by almost the same period of Labor and now pundits are predicting similar infinite reign of LNP shows no one (except William Bowe) has learnt anything.

  • 32
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    @SHEPHERDMARILYN

    John Howard lost every state and 130 MP’s in a few years without all this frigging hysteria.

    Queensland might well end up like Nigeria.”

    Can you explain the difference between “frigging hysteria” and your brand of hysteria?

  • 33
    Edward James
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    What hysteria Labor team players were butchered onn the ballot block there is no hysteria ! Lets focus on the Queensland local council elections in April. Edward Janes

  • 34
    Brady
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    @ Michael

    Even though types like yourself cannot bring themselves to admit it, it is no accident that the present federal government is one of the best functioning since Hawk/Keating (and yes we are speaking of “operationally”, not politically or populist crapola that people like you like to emphasize).

    Could not agree with you more on this point. The current structure of the balance of power has lead to some of the best policies (with the exception of the fold on pokies reform and the watering down of the minerals tax) and actual action that I have ever seen in Australian politics. And for conformation of this you just need to look at the Daily telegraph, Ray Hadley, Ackemen and his ilk, and their rabid denunciation of this government for conformation that it is doing good things (In spite of the labour party if truth be known).

  • 35
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    @Brady
    The only thing that this government is doing successfully is delivering the next election to Tony Abbott.

    People voted for Gough Whitlam because they wanted Medibank and sewered dunnies (which he delivered).

    People voted for Hawke because they wanted an improved industrial relations system and Medicare (and also because Fraser was - and remains - a pr_ck).

    The Rudd/Gillard legacy will be faster porn/online gambling, a worse-than-useless carbon tax, a dysfunctional mining tax, pink batts …

  • 36
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    It is true that Kevin Rudd has been accepted to replace Anna Bligh in South Brisbane and be Labor LEADER?

    The theory being that Rudd is such a poor delegater, that there is nobody to delegate to, so he is perfect for the role?

  • 37
    Brady
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    @ Stiofan

    While I generally agree with the sentiment that many of these things could have been done better, the reality is that a Liberal government would/will to nothing on key social issues that go against their sole guiding philosophy, a philosophy that poisons ALL of their policy decisions, that is, ‘the rich must get richer’. Given a choice between an average, poor, or terrible labour government and the liberal, I would take labour every single time.

  • 38
    geomac
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Howard had at one stage only Newman in Brisbane as the only libnat left in office in Australia besides the feds . Depending on ones view it can be a blessing for Labor that Victoria and NSW are coalition governments with QLD maybe less so . Ballhoo has taken a few knocks lately and Ryan , his deputy , more so . It would seem ten years is the period when a party either becomes spent or the electorate becomes disenchanted with them .
    A party leader seldom sticks around after losing government . Kennett comes to mind as he along with Howard are the only two pollies I genuinely disliked rather than just disagreed with , neither having much in the way of integrity or honesty . Bligh should ponder Kennett because his seat of Burwood was won by Labor after he quit . It does seem odd that a party that gets over a quarter of the vote gets 9% of seats . Similar to how the Greens despite quite often outvoting the Nats get less seats . I can accept a situation where Howard beat Labor yet lost the popular vote because the margin was about 1% .
    One thing I think should be learnt from QLD in that attack ads instead of positive ads showing achievements can misfire very badly . A government should point to its record while an opposition has to show a reason for replacing a government . Policies not personalities .

  • 39
    Stiofan
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    @Brady
    We’re talking at cross-purposes. There is nothing particularly “labour” about the NBN (the Federal ALP version of the Adelaide-Darwin railway), pink batts and home solar systems (talk about the working class being dudded to subsidise the better-off!), the carbon tax (simple pandering to the high-wealth individuals who make up and support the Greens, etc). The only traditionally “labour” thing on my list is the mining tax - a colossal stuff-up from the beginning.
    When you look at what else has happened on Rudd/Gillard’s watch - outsourcing of immigration policy to Indonesian criminals, the continued destruction of the tertiary education system, the importation of cheap foreign labour, the blow-out in welfare “dependency”, etc - it’s very diffcult to see the “labour” elements.

  • 40
    Brady
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    True. There are right wing parties, and further to the right wing parties. With media and technology in the hand of those who have the power, I find myself truly wondering if we have reached a point in our history where any true (and needed, and balanced) shift back to the left is even possible any more.

  • 41
    Schnappi
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Notice cando has appointed grayson as director general of the premiers dept,who happens to be an expert in govt asset sales.so soon,one can only say watch this space.

  • 42
    Schnappi
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Loony clive has deceived the media with his CIA plots of the greens receiving heaps of money.but soon will be found out he is the contact for the KGB sleeper who is actually toxic tony,listen very carefully ,it is I,AND WILL ONLY SAY THIS ONCE,but he has already the toxic money in hidden accounts,we must not allow clive to be taken by men in white coats.

  • 43
    Schnappi
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Am going to adventure into dangerous ground here ,abbott continually mentions baseball bats,the ventures in to targets on the forehead of the PM,and others abbott thinks would put up for his arse for grabs.
    Think he wants to get into office by assatinating his opponents ,or is this too honest for the media to say in an honest manner.

  • 44
    Edward James
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Reading about Heather Beattie registering to stand for Brisbane Central ward. Shows how Labor are starting their fight back to minimum political relevence. The funny thing is so many party members are blocked from nominating because the State election is not likly to be called until after nominations for local councils close. What sweet irony. Edward James

  • 45
    Schnappi
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    We know how clive punked the media,by his own admission,so abbotts nanny scheme for the rich got no coverage,the parental abbott con gives women on a huge income $75,000 for six months,then guess what they get an abbott nanny to look after their 6 months old at taxpayers expense ,oh did you think the childs grandmother(NANNY) looking after her grandchild got something,jeez abbott how low are you.the grandmother(NANNY) is not even in the con.

  • 46
    Gaithersburg Borstal Boy
    Posted Tuesday, 27 March 2012 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Here are some synonyms for the term decimated:

    Destroyed, folded spindled and mutilated, poo on your shoe, road kill, wiped out, throttled out of existence, run over by a very large and fast truck, squelched.

    Personally, I think that the general use of the term decimated is very apt. Since the dictionary Oxford Dictionary of English definition of decimate is to kill, or remove a large proportion of a group, along with killing one in every ten of a group of people.

    SO STOP BEING SO PEDANTIC PEOPLE!

  • 47
    Steve777
    Posted Tuesday, 27 March 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I agree with Phil L above regarding NSW. By March 2007 the NSW electorate was sick of Labor and a credible ‘It’s Time’ campaign would have worked for any decent opposition. However, the NSW Opposition was an unelectable rabble and Labor got one more term. Meanwhile, the Opposition rebuilt itself into a credible alternative.

    The NSW government under Morris Iemma actually governed reasonably competently for about 18 months until it imploded over electricity privatisation in September 2008. It never recovered, hobbling along for another two and a half years with two more premiers until it was put out of its misery last year.

  • 48
    Edward James
    Posted Tuesday, 27 March 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    michael r james
    Posted Monday, 26 March 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
    Edward J et al.

    Michael R James Consider this. Our politicians and poilitical allsorts are a minority in our communities. a minority which is sucking the life blood out of working class people. How we are governed or mis governed is entirly up to us the peoples of Australia. I have published my phone number because I believe the peoples like you need some where to reach out too. 0243419140 What is important for readers to understand is I am not the peoples I am just one of them. Unhappy? Certainly, taxpayer? Yes! Well represented constituent at Federal State and Local government levels of government. I do not believe so. You and many others have my phone number Michael. To date only one person has rung the published number. Again the number is 0243419140. The name is Edward James, Umina on the Central Coast.

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