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Beattie still rules « Previous | |Next »
August 22, 2006

At a distance the Beattie Government looks to be returned with a reduced majority in Queensland, despite a falling popularity and the crisis in water, energy and health. The ALP's primary vote is up despite the forementioned crises coming from both a failure to invest in infrastructure as well as the continuing economic and population growth of the state.

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Leahy

There is little genuine voter choice in Queensland given the coalition sideshow in the form of the accident prone Queensland Liberal Party. The Coalition has become an issue, and there is only a few weeks for the Springborg-Flegg team to improve their performance and offer a convincing alternative.

It's an uphill battle for the conservatives as Queensland has billion dollar surpluses, fully funded public superannuation and no net debt. Cheerleader Beattie has ensured the diversification of the Queensland economy from its natural resources and tourism base by fostering smart state industries, such as biotechnology, aviation and export education.

Though Queensland is marked by a city/country divide the shift in popuation--those migrating from the south eastern capital cities to the southeast corner of Queensland in search of a better lifestyle are “tree changers” or “sea changers”. They more likely to vote for the ALP and Greens, rather than the Joh-era hardline conservatism of the Queensland Nationals with their development at all costs. The Nationals credibility in the metropolitan southeast corner would be on a downward slide, given their opposition to water recycling and their 'lets build more dams' ethos.

With no upper house there is even less accountablity in Queensland than in the other states. Though we are seeing a group of independents forming in the lower house, these are not enough to gain a balance of power and so put pressure on the Beattie Government. This pressure is sorely needed after Toowoomba's residents said no to their Lord Mayor's Water Futures proposal to return treated recycled wastewater to the city's drinking water. Beattie is now saying that southeast Queenslanders should pray that rain will fall to fill existing and proposed dams. So much for a long-term, cost-effective solutions to a water crisis caused by a lack of rain.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:18 AM | | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (1)
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» Crikey story: Pauline’s ghost haunts the Nats from Larvatus Prodeo
Note: From today’s Crikey email, this piece is also cross posted at Currumbin2Cook. Any Queensland election is a tale of two campaigns – not as Dickens would have it, of two cities, but of the city and the bush. The Nats’ weak position ex... [Read More]

 
Comments

Comments

On the accountability point, Beattie's best government was arguably his first term minority government when two independents held the balance of power initially, though the Parliamentary dynamic changed after Labor won a couple of by-elections (from memory, it might have just been one).

The huge majorities have not been good for anyone, even Labor.

But if the current dynamics hold, and on my seat by seat analysis, I don't see Beattie being returned with anywhere near the slim majority that others are predicting. It wouldn't surprise me if Labor end up in the low 50s out of 89 seats. (Labor won 63 seats in 2004, but lost 3 by-elections and the dissident member for Noosa has just resigned from the ALP, so they hold 59 actual as opposed to notional seats going to the election).

Mark
I cannot comment on the seat by seat analysis in Queensland as I do not have that kind of knowledge of the Queensland electorate to evaluate the claims of the Nationals that they can increase their 16 seats by seven or more--eg., Gympie, Toowoomba North, Hervey Bay, Keppel, Cook, Whitsunday and Bundaberg.The margins The margins in those seats vary widely, from 3.8 per cent to 14.8---I just cannot see a swing of 15% to the Nationals in specific seats given the general trend to Independents in rural and regional Australia.

Nor can I evaluate the claims of the Liberals that they will win the seats of Kawana, Mudgeeraba, Clayfield, Indooroopilly and Barron River-- the most marginal in the state-- and then go on to win such possibilities such as Aspley, Ashgrove, Cleveland and perhaps Springwood. and the Liberals' number in Parliament could jump to 15 or so.

The Coalition having 31 seats in the 89-seat Parliament just looks like wishful dreaming to me.

However, I agree with you that the Beattie Government's dumping of accountability began when Labor members were elected in such numbers that they had an absolute majority in the lower house. Effectively, they trashed those virtues Beattie promised the electorate he stood for. Acccountability has been replaced by spin.

I guess the scepticism of politicians trying to spin the electorate a line does not go that deep. It does strike me that there has been a marked stain of suppression and cover-up in the State Government who snub their noses at accountability.

Queensland Health is one example. Water is another, especially in terms of Queenslands obligations to the other states in the Murray-Darling Basin.

The only accountability mechanism to executive dominance of Team Beattie is the federal government. Beattie continually counters this with tradtional Joh-style Canberra bashing. The key problem with Queensland Health is that Canberra has failed to provide enough commonwealth places for doctors and nurses. Though that is true, it is not the key problem. Nor is just the case that Queensland’s growth is at the heart of all Beattie’s service delivery woes.

Beattie has underinvested in Queensland's conservative health care system as part of his low tax business regime----Queensland is open for business. etc. Public money goes into fuel subsidies not health care.