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Queensland: federal ALP leader helps to launch election campaign.

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Wednesday 28 January 2004

Queensland: federal ALP leader helps to launch election campaign


PETER CAVE: With 10 days to go before Queenslanders go to the polls, the Labor P arty today officially launched a state campaign that's being seen in part as a foretaste of the federal campaign later this year.  


Premier Beattie's campaign seems to plugging as many federal themes as state ones, with health and education at the top of the list. 


And for Federal Opposition Leader Mark Latham, who spoke at the launch, it's seen a chance to hone his campaign skills. 


Ian Townsend was at Labor's Queensland election launch for PM


IAN TOWNSEND: With the Queensland election campaign now on the home leg, it was time for the Labor Party to put all its major policies on the table.  


MARK LATHAM: Thanks very much for that generous welcome. This is my third visit to Queensland since becoming the Federal Labor Leader, and you've made me welcome each and every time.  


IAN TOWNSEND: But it was Federal Labor Leader Mark Latham who spoke first and set the tone, with references to bulk billing and education.  


MARK LATHAM: And ladies and gentlemen, I give you this guarantee - as Prime Minister, I wont' be sitting on the sidelines, a negative, whingeing, carping commentator, taking pot shots at government schools.  


(sound of applause and cheering) 


Ladies and gentleman, Queensland deserves the best, it deserves a re-elected Beattie Labor Government.  


(sound of applause and cheering) 


IAN TOWNSEND: But first, the almost compulsory glitz of the political party election launch. Last weekend, the Coalition launched its campaign with an inspirational song by American rock group, Van Halen. Today, pop singer Sophie Monk did it for Labor  


(sound of Sophie Monk singing "I need somebody, I want to love her and a good love too.") 


PETER BEATTIE: And I have to say, I'm delighted to have the partnership with Mark Latham that will get a better deal for Queensland when it comes to health.  


IAN TOWNSEND: As well as focussing on health and education, as Mr Latham did, Peter Beattie touched on jobs and the environment, and then made an appeal for stability of government.  


PETER BEATTIE: Now, Labor is the only party, the only party which can guarantee stability, responsibility and the direction a government needs to protect our economic and social security. Now, in our second term we set the foundations of the new Queensland, the Smart State, and for our children. Let's keep Queensland moving together.  


Thank you very much.  


IAN TOWNSEND: And afterwards, on his way back to Sydney for the Labor Conference, Mr Latham acknowledged that Labor would be campaigning on similar issues at the federal election later this year.  


The Queensland Coalition has been managing to do well in opinion polls in this election, and has also put health on the agenda, with the visit this afternoon to Brisbane of Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott.  


It remains to be seen of course, how much of an inroad they can make over the next week and half on the Beattie Government's lead.  


PETER CAVE: Ian Townsend reporting from Brisbane.