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Queensland faces rare change of government -

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After nearly 23 years in office, Labor may lose what's become a bitter contest in the Queensland
State election.

Transcript

CHRIS UHLMANN, PRESENTER: Anna Bligh's Queensland Labor government appears on track for a political
wipeout in Saturday's state election. At the end of a long and nasty campaign opinion polls suggest
Queensland Labor will be reduced to a rump of barely a dozen seats and may face a decade or more in
the political wilderness. The election will be won and lost on state issues, but it will be keenly
watched by Julia Gillard's federal Labor government because Queensland also holds the key to its
electoral future. John Taylor reports from Brisbane on how it came to this.

JOHN TAYLOR, REPORTER: She's calling it the "Bligh blitz", Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's
criss-crossing of the state in a final rush around dozens of electorates. But it's looking more
like a farewell tour and the Government's final ads amount to a concession of defeat.

LABOR TV ADVERTISEMENT (male voiceover): "He'll probably win on Saturday and by a big margin, but
with Campbell's web of deals, be careful how much power you give him. A massive majority gives him
a massive amount of power, and that's never a good thing."

JOHN TAYLOR: Latest polls point to an electoral wipeout that could see Labor left with its worst
result in decades, facing a long period in opposition. They suggest Labor may win around a dozen
spots in an 89-seat Parliament.

Anna Bligh is warning of the dangers of an LNP landslide.

ANNA BLIGH, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: Think long and hard about giving Campbell Newman and the LNP an
unfettered power to do what they like.

JOHN TAYLOR: Labor has held power since Wayne Goss toppled the National Party in 1989 except for a
few years in the '90s. Perhaps the electorate's just tired of Labor, but Anna Bligh has been
haunted by controversial asset sales announced right after the last election. There have been
administrative woes as well, like a Health Department seemingly in constant crisis and a former
minister jailed for corruption.

The man apparently heading for the premiership is former Army officer and Brisbane Lord Mayor
Campbell Newman.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN, LIBERAL NATIONAL PARTY LEADER: In terms of what I say to you today that we're not
taking anything for granted. We'll be fighting until 6 pm, and if we're elected as the Government,
on day one we've made commitments in that contract I've handed out today to people to get going
with the job of fixing up Queensland. So, I've always said it was gonna be tough. I've always been
saying that every single vote counts and we are fighting up until 6 pm.

JOHN TAYLOR: In a signal to voters he not only wants to govern but is ready to do it he's released
a plan for his first 100 days in office. It includes issuing to the whole of government a four per
cent unemployment target to combat the current rate of 5.7 per cent, which is the highest on the
mainland. But Campbell Newman is a risk taker. He's trying to be Premier when he's not even a
member of Parliament.

GRAHAM YOUNG, ONLINE OPINION: I've never seen a contest where the leader of a party has been
contesting a seat that they don't own in order to get to be leader after the election and where
that seat has required a seven per cent swing to be won in the first place.

VOX POP: It's certainly intense, isn't it?

JOHN TAYLOR: Pity the people of Ashgrove in recent weeks, the Brisbane electorate that Campbell
Newman has chosen for his launching pad.

So you've been polled quite a number of times.

VOX POP II: Three times in the last week, but that was all.

PETER D'ARCY, REAL ESTATE AGENT: Well you get a lot of people waving at you, and for a real estate
agent, that's very unusual. I think it puts a little people at - off their game a bit. You know,
they're not used to seeing this type of American - almost bordering on American-style campaigning.

JOHN TAYLOR: While Greater Brisbane is the key election battleground, Ashgrove in the city's
inner-west is the most-watched contest of all. Ashgrove is a safe Labor seat held with a margin of
7.1 per cent. But the two federal seats that take in the same streets of Ashgrove are held by the
Liberal National Party and the local government seats for the same area are too held by the LNP. So
while at first glance it seems like Campbell Newman has picked a tough fight, the conservatives are
betting that some of that federal and local support will come his way.

32-year-old Kate Jones is the young career Labor politician who currently represents Ashgrove.
Labor has smothered her in resources. Its dream, wish, last hope, is that the LNP takes government,
but Campbell Newman doesn't get into Parliament.

KATE JONES, LABOR MP: This is the most important seat I think for my community, but also for both
sides of politics.

JOHN TAYLOR: In a sign of how serious she is, she gave up being a minister to concentrate on
Campbell Newman and a local debate last week shows there's no love lost.

KATE JONES: Well, John, I think when life throws you a curved ball like I was thrown last year -
you know, Campbell Newman doesn't live here so obviously we weren't thinking that he was gonna run
for a seat he doesn't live in - I had the opportunity to really stop and reflect about what is
important to me.

JOHN TAYLOR: Labor has spent much of this campaign attacking Campbell Newman's propriety and
integrity, particularly over a series of developer donations while he was Brisbane's Lord Mayor.

ANTHONY CHISHOLM, LABOR QLD SECRETARY (February): We've come a long way since the 1980s when the
old Nationals were running the show. We know what corruption was around then. Mr Newman needs to
come clean. He can clear all this up by just telling people what he knows and what his interests
are.

JOHN TAYLOR: But that line of attack was effectively shut down when the state's Crime and
Misconduct Commission announced it had found no evidence of official misconduct.

While there's been considerable doubt whether Campbell Newman could win Ashgrove, a new poll today
shows his support surging.

But suburban Ashgrove is a battleground and both candidates will fight to the finish.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN: It's very tough. It's very tough. I mean, the Labor Party are pretending that
somehow we're just gonna blitz it. I can assure people we will not win this election unless people
change their vote.

KATE JONES: I've made a decision very early in the piece, John, that I was going to fight this
street to street, door to door, suburb to suburb and that's exactly what I've done.

JOHN TAYLOR: In a last gasp effort to avoid annihilation, Labor today wheeled in one of its old big
guns.

BOB HAWKE, FORMER PRIME MINISTER: The polls don't look good - we know that, but that is no reason
not to fight, and I've been so proud of you, Anna, the way you've put your nose to the grindstone
and really are fighting out to the last moment and you too because your seat is extremely
important.

JOHN TAYLOR: But while some party faithful may think Bob Hawke can walk on water, nothing short of
a political miracle will save Labor from an electoral wipeout this weekend.

CHRIS UHLMANN: John Taylor reporting from Brisbane.