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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

and so it ends « Previous | |Next »
March 25, 2012

Labor now barely exists as a political force in Queensland after the state election. It's the end of an era.It has so few seats---seven or is it six?---that it cannot even be an effective opposition to the triumphant 'can do' Campbell Newman LNP.


The average swing against Labor of 15.8 per cent and the loss of 44 seats will be difficult for the ALP to comprehend. Labor's primary vote across the state was around 26.5 per cent. The defeat claimed most of Labor’s front-bench, as well as the sitting Premier herself.

The constellation of rural and regional conservatives and urban Liberal Party voters is now the dominant majority in Queensland politics. Within that political constellation the urban Liberal Party is now dominate.

You would have to say that Labor has big problems on its hands. It was such a massacre that it could be 12 years before Queensland Labor becomes an effective political opposition. With no upper house Campbell Newman has a blank cheque to do what he likes.

In New Matilda Ben Eltham refers to Queensland Labor's heritage. He says that:

Compared to the Bjelke-Peterson government, therefore, Labor has governed substantially better and more competently, dragging the state into the 21st century. South-east Queensland, in particular, became a more normal place, more like the rest of Australia, with normal problems like traffic congestion, rather than special problems like a compromised police force. In the end, it started to experience more normal politics, too, with voters gradually forgetting the Bjelke-Peterson years, and focusing instead on Labor’s shortcomings.

How much will the conservatives wind the clock back? Will they try?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:34 PM | | Comments (20)


I believe Labor's problems are terminal; it was a creation of the union movement and has not been able to remake itself as a viable institution since the union movement collapsed. Trying to be Liberal-lite just hasn't worked; most people will lean towards the real thing instead of a pale substitute. Rudd's 2007 victory can now be seen as an aberration and not the start of a Labor revival.

The sooner Labor implodes the better. Fervent appeals to the ghosts of Curtin and Chifley will serve no more purpose than appointing burnt-out state premiers as Foreign Minister. Leaving Labor to a handful of Neanderthals to play with* will allow a new progressive movement to evolve. In the mean time we can only look forward to a long period of conservative government at state and federal level.

*Example: 'Labor factional heavyweight Bill Ludwig blamed the men of Queensland for Ms Bligh's loss and warned Ms Gillard would similarly struggle to find support in his state.

'''The blokes here just don't like women, especially women in charge,'' Mr Ludwig said. ''The federal election is a long way off, it's different circumstances, but I don't think the blokes like Julia either. The men of Queensland are just very negative towards women.'''

The good news for Labor here is now when it rains they will only need one umbrella.

The Greens went backwards too which probably points to a feeling in the electorate that they were not a player here in the local issues. The KAP looks to have usurped their alternative party role to some extent this time. The KAP have some work to do before the federal election.

Labor's vote in Queensland went backwards three months after the 2009 election, when Bligh announced the asset sales. That was the end because the vote never recovered.

I wonder how long 'Can Do' Newman's tariff freeze on electricity prices in Queensland will last.

He has promised a lot of things Gary.
Reminds me a bit of Kevin 07

It is funny that his new media guy is the one who was sent packing from nine for those fake helicopter crosses at the daniel morcham remains.

Gary about as long as it takes them to write the story of how Labor left a black hole in the budget, I expect.

Labor will be out of office for at least three terms---a decade.

The LNP will have to reconcile two of its core constituencies – farmers and miners over the coal seam gas industry.

I know this is just laziness on my part...

But can someone please give me a summary of WHY Queensland Labor copped such a hammering?

I don't care if the reasons are real or imagined. I'm just trying to understand what drove the ELECTORATE to abandon Bligh so utterly. Why had Labor become so unpalatable to the voters?

One answer And another

Thanks Gary.

While the article does a good job of covering the issue... I've have never met anyone who considered assets sales to be a deal breaker. Even those who were strongly against privatisations, never indicated that it was a PRIME concern.

Above is amplified by Dr.Ian MacCauley at New Matilda, "The Economic Furphies That Sank Bligh"
Two things.
A serious doubt that even now Labor has "got it", as to a Kristina Keneally article.
Secondly Newman is already rolling back enviro legislation and talking up neoliberalism.
Yet Mars is right.
How extreme was the Qld electorate's reaction and how harsh is the country in general?
Reading at Fairfax a spot poll has it that 61% of the electorate reckons the Coalition would be better for lower income people, to barely 20% re Labor.
Has the country gone barking mad?

The commentators suggest privatisation, cost of living pressures and Bligh Labor's dishonesty about privatisation. You could also add that LNP had moulded itself into a plausible opposition and that Australia is shifting to the right.

I dont think Qld Labor was any more dishonest or financially dumb than other governments of various flavours.People were and are generally sick of listening to political bull owing to the media too.
Newman is a new political broom who people really do see as someone who "can do". He did get things done in Brisbegas even if he did raise rates by 42 % in 7 years.
If newman had not been leader Labor's defeat would of been greatly reduced. So if you want one reason its because the people swapped a tired old horse for a new shiney one. It was a deal too good to refuse.

Is it fair to say that the most of the mob is just very pissed off but they really don't know why? They just KNOW that they're doing it tough.

In general they don't trust the pollies, but they seem to trust the opposition parties slightly more...

Coal interests rule in the new conservative Queensland.

The new Queensland Liberal National Government will withdraw $75 million in funding for the Solar Dawn solar thermal project – the successful tenderer under the federal government’s Solar Flagships program.

Mars the truth is we understand very little about voter behaviour, which is why political parties get things so spectacularly wrong on occasions. However it is all too easy to blame the media. Just as Labor supporters here obsess about News Limited, conservatives in the USA blame the 'liberal media' for all their problems.

Both sides tend to grossly over-estimate the influence of the media. Much of the population no longer reads newspapers and couldn't care less what was written in 'The Australian'. All they see and hear are snatches on TV or radio, devoid of substantive content, so they judge the person rather than the party.

Interestingly, Julia Gillard was mentioned in one of my classes last week. There was a spontaneous outburst of "Can't stand her" comments. Who knows why? Certainly not me, and it wasn't a class in politics so I didn't pursue the topic. But it suggests a lot of voter behaviour is essentially irrational and driven by emotion and instinct, not by any calm consideration of what politicians actually do.


I am willing to accept that "essentially irrational" is a prime cause... but what is the MOTIVATION.

Being no stranger to irrational decisions myself, if pressed I can usually identify what took me down the path.

As far as the influence of the media goes... I don't doubt that "substantive content" is generally lacking, but it's the short sound grabs and banner headlines that do the damage.

Day after day, month after month, the public is bombarded by the pablum. They don't have time to digest the finer points. And the pollies/meeja know it... How to explain the details of carbon pricing when it's drowned out by screeches of "big new tax"... day after day after day.

Don't want to give the impression I think my business undergraduates are a representative sample of Australian voters, but again by way of example: last week I suggested the carbon tax was relevant to a discussion we were having. Only one student had any idea what I was talking about.

I don't believe 'the public is bombarded' with media content at all. A good proportion, probably the majority, have turned it off.