We’ve gathered up some of Crikey’s Queensland election coverage as it
appeared in our subscriber only sealed sections over the last couple of

Beattie landslide thanks to 223,400 Howard suppoorters

Sealed Section – February 8, 2004

Can anyone recall a third term landslide of the magnitude achieved by Peter Beattie in Australian politics? The man is a genius.

Crikey’s occasional psephologist Charles Richardson had a very good night as he tipped the following in Friday’s sealed section:

Labor 64
Nationals 17
Liberals 3
Independents 5
One Nation 0

At this stage it looks like the result will be as follows although a couple of seats remain in doubt:

Labor 63
National 16
Liberals 4
Independents 5
One Nation 1

The state-wide swing was about 6 per cent but this was concentrated in
regional and rural areas and did not translate into the marginals.

Whilst the Coalition made up ground in some safe Labor seats, there is
hardly a huge increase in marginals that are in reach. Consider this:
Labor’s primary vote exceeded 50 per cent in a whacking 42 of the 89
seats and was above 60 per cent in 14 of these.

Labor’s overall primary vote fell from 48.9 per cent at the 2001 state
election to 47.2 per cent yesterday. The Coalition vote picked up from
a miserable 28.5 per cent to 35.2 per cent as the One Nation vote

However, there is more than 220,000 Queenslanders who switched their
vote from John Howard in November 2001 to Peter Beattie in February
2004. John Howard is in huge trouble if he can’t get these swingers
back into the fold but already people like Peter Beattie and Laurie
Oakes are talking up the influence of Mark Latham’s honeymoon on last
night’s result.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland is currently showing that Labor
got 47.2 per cent of the 1.8 million formal votes yesterday. That
amounts to 848,065 primary votes.

But Labor only got 34.7 per cent of the vote in the 2001 Federal
election and had that been repeated yesterday Labor’s primary vote
would have been 624,600 or some 223,400 votes lower.

So, one in every eight Queenslanders or 12.5 per cent of the voting
population switched their vote from Peter Beattie to John Howard and
back to Peter Beattie again. This highlight how the electorate wants
the Libs to manage the economy and keep the asylum seekers out and
Labor to deliver the key services such as health and education.

Today’s coverage and rating the media

Sealed Section – February 8, 2004

The Sunday Mail and The Age both borrowed the Brisbane Lions
“Threepeat”, suitably modified to “Three-Pete”, as its front page
banner and internet leads respectively today. Now, to borrow a line
from Jason Akermanis, after the Three-Pete, is it the Four-play for
next time? Okay, no more lame jokes.

Crikey switched between ABC local radio Brisbane on News Radio and
Channel Nine’s coverage on Sky News last night so we missed what
subscribers told us was Antony Green wearing glasses for the first time
and a couple of ABC prediction stumbles due to some dud data entry.

It was disappointing that Nine interrupted their coverage with ads but
they clearly didn’t have enough to talk about in what was one of the
most predictable election nights in recent years.

Nine obviously had limited talent lined up because almost every
interview they did went way too long. A defensive Bob Katter, the
defeated Merri Rose, Noosa winner Cate Molloy and a buoyant returned
Townsville Labor MP Mike Reynolds were all interviewed for about twice
as long as necessary.

Nine tried to cover for the missing Graham Richardson by including two
Labor heavyweights, former Queensland Premier Wayne Goss and the
rehabilitated Mike Kaiser, now assistant national secretary of the ALP.

However, there was way too much arguing and interrupting on the Nine
panel which was inevitable considering it looked like some form of
space ship with no less than 9 talking heads all trying to get their
point across.

Poor old Spencer Jolly, Nine’s chief political reporter in Queensland,
must have been disappointed to see Courier Mail political reporter Sean
Parnell on the panel. This might have had something to do with Spencer
saying in 1998 that the Nats had a “whiff of victory in their ears”.

Some wags joked that the “9 on Nine” panel looked like some sort of
reality television show and viewers should have been invited to get on
the SMS and vote members off the panel.

Michael Kroger was his usual insightful self but all those digs at
Wayne Goss were a little gratuitous considering the Libs had just
performed appallingly once again.

Kroger should have been giving both barrels to the Queensland Libs for
their permanent factional wars and general dysfunctionality but he bit
his lip, probably because one of the major contributors, factional
fighter turned Senator Santo Santoro, was sitting alongside him on the
Nine panel.

Over on ABC television, Kerry O’Brien led a well-oiled machine
comprising Antony Green, Labor’s Wayne Swan, National Party state
director Ken Crook and local ABC talent Kim Landers.

The highlight of the evening was the ABC cross to the winning Labor
candidate in Noosa, Cate Molloy. The well known nude sunbathing
supporter was wearing a remarkably low cut dress on her cross. Kerry
O’Brien remarked on return to the tallyroom: “A very sunshine coast
look there”. There was relief all round though some disappointment that
Miss Molloy didn’t do a Janet Jackson. The comment was picked up by The
Sunday Mail.

ABC Radio performed well under host Steve Austin who was supported by
Liberal Senator George Brandis, former Queensland Labor Treasurer David
Hamill, Federal Nat MP De-Anne Kelly and a couple of academics.

Its commercial rival 4BC was scraping the bottom of the barrel in having to use Labor has-been Con Sciacca.

Moving along to the print coverage, this Tony Koch comment piece in The
Sunday Mail
strongly criticises the conservatives and suggests the
Coalition agreement will be torn up.

And Phil Dickie, the most sued journalist in Australia thanks to his
corruption fighting stories in Queensland, had an interesting column in
The Sunday Age explaining why Beattie is so successful.

Finally, there is The Courier-Mail editorial from Friday endorsing a third Beattie government.

One Nation collapses as good independents thrive

Sealed Section – February 8, 2004

One Nation lost their leader Bill Flynn after he only managed a primary
vote of 20.72 per cent in the red-neck seat of Lockyer which returned
to the National Party.

Only 12 of the 51 One Nation candidates achieved double-digit primary
votes as many of their previous supporters returned to the National
Party. However, Rosa Lee Long has proved very popular with a primary
vote of 47.7 per cent in the seat of Tablelands as she became the first
One Nation candidate to win twice under the party’s banner and the sole
One Nation representative in the Queensland Parliament.

But that doesn’t mean Queenslanders aren’t still looking to protest
against the major parties. Crikey was amazed by the level of support
given to some incumbent independents in the last WA state election and
the same thing has happened in Queensland.

Chris Foley in Maryborough got the fifth highest primary vote in the
state with 65.61 per cent. Only Lawrence Springborg in Southern Downs
(69.19%) and three Labor candidates (Rob Schwarten in Rockhampton with
68.73%, Henry Palaszczuk in Inala with 68.77% and Desley Scott in
Woodridge with a state-high primary vote of 70.85%) did better.

Two other independents got returned without going to preferences. They
were Liz Cunningham in Gladstone with a 54.97 per cent primary vote and
Peter Wellington in Nicklin with an even more impressive 59.73 per cent.

One of the few positives to come out of it for the Coalition was that
Lawrence Springborg enjoyed a 19 per cent swing in his own seat of
Southern Downs whilst Peter Beattie suffered a 6 per cent swing against
him in Brisbane Central which he still holds with a comfortable primary
vote of 58.5 per cent.

The most unpopular candidate in the entire election was Gympie
electrician Martin Poole who polled a miserable 59 votes out of 23,190.

We tried calling him last night but the mobile number listed was
incorrect. No wonder he finished last of 353 candidates. One of the few
worse performances we’re aware of is the 17 votes that suspended ATSIC
chairman Geoff Clarke got in the 1999 Frankston East supplementary
election in Victoria.

Greens fall short

Sealed Section – February 8, 2004

When Peter Beattie called the Queensland election, the Greens convenor
in Queensland predicted the Party could win four seats but this was
clearly another case of over promising and under delivering?

Sacked ABC Brisbane morning presenter Andrew Carroll was the star
candidate in the seat of Mouth Coo-tha but he would be slightly
disappointed with a primary vote of 23.87 per cent which saw him finish
third and well out of contention.

In a very unGreen performance, Carroll actually admitted it “wasn’t a
very good result” when interviewed by Kerry O’Brien during the ABC’s
telecast. The lad clearly hasn’t been inculcated into the Greens
culture. If Bob Brown had been interviewed he probably would have
claimed the seat.

Queensland and South Australia remain the two weakest states for the
Greens even though they did double their vote to 6.66 per cent with
119,644 votes from the 72 seats they contested, an average of 1661
votes per seat or 8.22 per cent.

However, on average the Greens still proved less popular than One
Nation which pulled in 88,589 votes (4.93 per cent of the total) from
51 seats, an average of 1737 votes per seat or 8.6 per cent.

There were 15 Green candidates who reached double figures but the
increased vote largely reflected the increased number of candidates and
the complete no-show by the Democrats who fielded just one candidate
compared with five in 2001.

The average Green vote in each seat was only up from 7 per cent in 2001
to 8.2 per cent this time. It will be a real contest between Democrat
incumbent John Cherry and Green Senate candidate Drew Hutton for that
sixth Queensland  Senate spot in the upcoming Federal election.

The Greens appear likely to do better on primary votes but it will then
come down to the preference deals Labor and the Coalition do.

Merri Rose and huge swings against incumbents

Sealed Section – February 8, 2004

The biggest surprise of the night was the defeat of controversial
former Labor Minister Merri Rose in the southern Gold Coast seat of
Currumbin with a swing of more than 15 per cent.

Beattie professed “surprise” and blamed it all on the Tugen By-pass
when this was clearly also a  backlash over the various
controversies which have beset Merri Rose. Good riddance to a dud
Minister and controversial MP and may this be a lesson to all Minister
who consider bullying their staff or lending their taxpayer funded car
to their child.

We’re going to produced a list of the biggest swings against
controversial incumbents and the 15 per cent swing against Merri Rose
will be right up there when you consider the state-wide swing was only
6 per cent.

However, the record is still held by former South Australian Liberal
leader and Primary Industries Minister Dale Baker who suffered a 43 per
cent swing in the 1997 state election to lose the seat of Mackillop to
independent Mitch Williams after a scandal over a property conflict of
interest tarnished his name.

Please send all contributions to the backlash list at
[email protected] The thing we’re measuring is swings which are
dramatically greater than the election-wide movement.

Queensland election and the fall of Merri Rose

Sealed Section – February 9, 2004

Read Owen Outsider’s critique of the Queensland election.

We’ll wait for the final results before announcing the winner of our
Queensland election tipping competition but the editor was well out of
the money with the following prediction:

Labor: 54
National: 20
Liberal: 6
The Rest: 9

The only notable person who missed by more was former Queenslander Alan
Jones, who told his 2GB listeners last week that Labor would lose 15
seats in Queensland including all the sugar seats.

What’s wrong with the Queensland Liberal Party?

Sealed Section – February 9, 2004

The dysfunctional Queensland Liberal Party should have been putting all
its resources into the recent state election campaign but it seems a
lot of effort has gone into protecting one of the has-been Federal MPs,
Peter Slipper, from a preselection challenge in his seat of Fisher.

The lad staved off all comers at a meeting held at 2pm yesterday
afternoon at the Matthew Flinders Grammar School, less than 1km from
Peter Slipper’s house on 5 acres in Buderim.

There was a challenge to the way the preselection was held, but chairman Michael Caltabiano ruled to proceed.

The usual suspects were there along with an anonymous crowd of
unknowns. Regular attendees at such party meetings claimed to only
recognise about 50 of the 252 eligible voters in attendance. Two
mini-buses were parked at the entrance.

Early challenger Michael Costigan so the two remaining challengers and slippery Pete each spoke for eight for 8 minutes.

The challengers both spoke very well. Accountant Kerrie Cook dwelled on
Liberals values and social aspects whilst barrister Glen Garrick honed
in on Slippery’s poor publicity over the years and failure to crack a
Ministry after 12 years.

Slipper spoke of his closeness to the PM.

At question time, all three candidate took some Dorothy Dixers.

Slipper did not look happy when it was claimed he had threatened to
sink Mark McArdle’s campaign to win the state seat of Caloundra if he
did not agree to the preselection taking place a week before the state

In spite of this, Slipper had the numbers and received about two-thirds of the vote.

Presumably this support came from some of the heavyweights who were
present, including neighboring Federal MP Alex Somlyay and state
director Geoffrey Greene.

The big question is where were all of these Liberal members when they
could have made the difference on the hustings for Caloundra’s Mark
McArdle and Kawana’s Harry Burnett who really should be in safe Liberal
seats in the Queensland Parliament.

Queesland election short-takes

Sealed Section – February 9, 2004

Interesting to note that some hard-nosed Liberal campaigners were
involved at the micro-level where the Libs were successful in the
Queesland election.

Especially Currumbin and Surfers Paradise, where Lincoln Folo, a
recently departed Erica Betz minder, was running the ultimately
successful campaigns.


Have a good look at the photo of Queensland Opposition Leader Lawrence
Springbord on page four of the Oz today – or more the wall behind
him.  Is that really a picture of Lenin and Stalin?


Peter Beattie has been flogging his “Smart State” message all over the
place but try going to the Team Beattie website and looking up the policy section.

When you search for something under the “Smart State” policy category
you get the message “No items matched your search parameters.”

Not very smart at all.

The sisterhood of St David

Sealed Section – February 9, 2004

Mid-way through the Queensland state election, The Courier Mail
published a poisonous article by columnist Jane Fynes-Clinton which
publicly humiliated the wife of Opposition Leader, Lawrence Springborg.

Fynes-Clinton bagged Linda Springborg for failing to campaign alongside
her husband during the campaign, in stark contrast to the wife of
Premier Peter Beattie who gave the self-professed “media tart” a run
for his money in terms of media exposure.

Linda Springborg has never made any secret of her dislike of the media
spotlight yet Fynes-Clinton scolded Mrs Springborg, demanding that she
put her “own comfort aside” to support her husband, just like the Labor
leader’s wife.

Public reaction to the article was swift and ferocious. Letters to the
Editor and talkback callers condemned Fynes-Clinton and The Courier
Mail for kicking a woman who, for most of each year, raises her four
young children alone on the family’s rural property while her husband
plays politics in Brisbane.

It would appear Courier Mail editor David Fagan was surprised by the
hostile response. In a rare display, Fagan actually put his head up
from his bunker of editorial anonymity to be quoted by an obliging
staff reporter for an article which said Courier Mail readers had
misunderstood what Fynes-Clinton really meant.

Rather than cop the hiding it brought on itself, The Courier Mail had
another go at Springborg’s wife.  Last Saturday, columnist Madonna
King claimed the whole thing was a plot by the Opposition to get some
free publicity, asking: “Is the Coalition responsible for whipping up a
frenzy over the role being played by Lawrence Springborg’s stay-at-home
wife in this campaign?”

King continued with a spirited defence of Fynes-Clinton, and in the
process, repeated the ugly spectacle of ‘professional’ or ‘working
women’ beating up on one of their sisters who has the gall to be a
“stay at home mum”.

Unfortunately, The Courier Mail failed to tell readers that Madonna
King is the wife of Courier Mail Editor, David Fagan. At least she was
standing up and defending her husband in public.

Peter Fray

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