Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Queensland rout asks questions of Labor -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Queensland rout asks questions of Labor

Broadcast: 26/03/2012

Reporter: John Taylor

The Queensland election delivered the worst result in the party's history and that sees the ALP
asking questions of itself.


CHRIS UHLMANN, PRESENTER: After John Howard lost the 2007 election, the Labor Party ruled Australia
from sea to sea. Then, the highest ranking member of the Coalition was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane
Campbell Newman. On Saturday, Campbell Newman's Liberal National Party all but extinguished Labor
in Queensland, reducing it to just eight seats in the new parliament. It's the worst result in
Labor history, eclipsing the rout in NSW last year. And with so many Labor dominos falling so hard,
the question must be asked: is there a problem with Labor's brand? Shortly I'll put that to former
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, but first John Taylor surveys Queensland's new political

JOHN TAYLOR, REPORTER: Campbell Newman's push to be Premier whilst not even a member of Parliament
was either going to be the smartest thing the conservatives ever did or the dumbest. Now, it
appears to be genius.

Campbell Newman today was sworn in as Premier after crushing the Labor Party.

Queensland's Parliament has been transformed. Before Saturday's election, Labor held 51 seats in
the state's only chamber, 20 more than the Liberal National Party. Now the LNP is predicted to have
77, leaving Labor with a predicted eight.

With these sorts of numbers, Campbell Newman is on track to be Premier for at least two terms. As
he claimed victory, the former Brisbane Lord Mayor and Army officer promised his government would
conduct itself with grace, humility and dignity.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: Tonight I acknowledge that many of you have never voted for
the Liberal Party, never voted for the National Party before and never voted for the LNP, so I
thank you for your support. It's an honour that you would trust us with this responsibility by
handing us that vote. Thankyou.

JOHN TAYLOR: Anna Bligh was Australia's first woman elected premier. Now her departing legacy is
leading her party to its worst-ever defeat. She won her seat, but yesterday announced her

ANNA BLIGH, FORMER QLD PREMIER: 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.

JOHN TAYLOR: Campbell Newman has had an enormous victory. But is such a crushing win good for

CAMPBELL NEWMAN: Look, I've - well I'll leave that to the commentators and the - the sort of the -
particularly the political academics how that works, but it's really about how we conduct
ourselves. And I've made some strong commitments about the way we intend to conduct ourselves in
government and I'm gonna hold the team, whether they be the backbenchers or the ministers, to
account in terms of the way that we behave as a government. Let's see how we go.

JOHN TAYLOR: Caucus seems too big a word for what's left of Labor in Opposition. Virtual unknown
Curtis Pitt from the state's far north is getting ready for one of the most difficult jobs in
Australian politics.

CURTIS PITT, LABOR MP: Well I'm certainly someone who's gonna have to play a role like all of the
other caucus colleagues because there's gonna be so few of us. We're all gonna have to carry quite
a burden. But to make sure that we're gonna be presenting ourselves not only as the building blocks
of a future alternative government in Queensland, but of course also one that - an opposition that
is going to keep a Campbell Newman-led government honest.

JOHN TAYLOR: But the larger question confronting Labor is how did it get to this? Longevity is part
of it, but many are pointing to a key decision of Ms Bligh's premiership.

Just after Anna Bligh's historic 2009 victory, she announced a suite of multibillion dollar asset
sales. It surprised many and prompted fierce union outrage, and Labor State Secretary Anthony
Chisholm says that marked the end of government.

ANTHONY CHISHOLM, ALP STATE SECRETARY: I think the election result was heading this way for
basically two and a half years. So, our own internal polling showed that we were heading for a
significant loss, and indeed the published polls since post-asset sales had indicated that we were
heading for a double digit swing against us.

JOHN TAYLOR: Labor's campaign was at first relentlessly negative, then ended with a plea for
sympathy. Anthony Chisholm has no regrets for attacking the integrity of Campbell Newman and his

ANTHONY CHISHOLM: It was the only option we had in terms of closing the gap. If we continued on the
path we were going, we were heading for a massive, massive defeat. We owed it to Labor people and
Labor supporters to do everything we could to close the gap. The fact is is that that was working.
Mr Newman managed to trump it and jump all over it at the end. And certainly it cost us.

JOHN TAYLOR: You've said that this election marks the end of the Carr-Beattie model. But what do
you mean? A shift to the left?

ANTHONY CHISHOLM: I think what you see is that the traditional form of conservative economic
management, tough on law and order, focus on education and service delivery, which was built up by
sort of Carr, Beattie, Bracks, I think has gone by the wayside, especially as you see we're out of
the government across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland now.

JOHN TAYLOR: What replaces it?

ANTHONY CHISHOLM: Well that's I think the challenge for the future. I think for state Labor
parties, there needs to be an ideological divide between us and the Tories at the state level. It
can't just become about service delivery. Because if it's about service delivery, all you will be
doing is waiting for the other side to stuff up and then capitalise.

JOHN TAYLOR: Mr Chisholm says there were no federal issues at play in this election, but he says
there is a lesson.

ANTHONY CHISHOLM: You can't turn around these sorts of opinion polls in the month of the election.
That work needs to go into turning those opinion polls round now. You've gotta take the community
with you and better communicate your message to the community, and it needs to be about what Labor
stands for and what is our vision for the next three, five, 10 years. That's a challenge federally;
it's also a challenge at the state level now as well.

JOHN TAYLOR: In a strange postscript, billionaire Clive Palmer, who is also a key supporters of the
LNP, today thanked the Government, the Greens and the media for extensively covering his comments
last week about the CIA funding the Green movement. Today Mr Palmer was trying to give the
impression it was all a ploy.

CLIVE PALMER, MINING MAGNATE: That took a great lot of attention, you know, off some of the
negative aspects of the election. That was a very good thing. And we saw our Premier sail through
with a wonderful positive (inaudible) in the last three weeks.

JOHN TAYLOR: But Campbell Newman is the man with the massive mandate and he's in a hurry to start.

CAMPBELL NEWMAN: We do have a mandate for change. We've got a mandate for all the policies we put
out there prior to the election and we're gonna move at the greatest, fastest rate to implement
change in Queensland, and we make no apologies for that.

CHRIS UHLMANN: John Taylor reporting from Brisbane.