STATE POLITICS: by Ron MunnNews Weekly
Queensland goes to the polls
, September 16, 2006
Queensland is heading towards a fourth term of Labor rule as this issue of News Weekly goes to press.With Peter Beattie's Labor Government having committed so many mistakes and bungles over the past eight years - and the worst of those coming to the voter's attention over the past 12–24 months - one has to ask: why will it be re-elected? Also, where has the Opposition been all this while?
At a time when Labor has been so vulnerable, the Opposition has been sadly lacking in its ability to exploit the situation.
The Liberal Party has continued on its divided way with factions vying for leadership positions, causing a disastrous leadership spill only weeks out from the election. This move played into Premier Beattie's hands as he focused on setting on a date for this election. The rest is history.
First-term MP Bruce Flegg replaced Bob Quinn as Liberal leader. Being totally ill-prepared, Flegg made gaffe after gaffe, giving the media a field day. The divided and beleaguered Liberal Party was ill-prepared to assist its new leader when he needed specialist advice.
The National Party machine assisted its leader Lawrence Springborg some months ago in his endeavor to merge the Nationals with the Liberals, with dramatic consequences for his future aspirations for the job of premier, especially as he could be seen as a real threat to Beattie in this election.
At the National Party conference in July, all opinion polls and reports were positive about Springborg. He was seen as an electable alternative to Beattie; but since then, out on the hustings, he has lost ground, especially on issues such as water, health and good government.Surprisingly ineffective
He has been seen as offering very little, and on occasions is surprisingly ineffective in getting the message across, especially on water, health and the myriad of Peter Beattie's recent bungles.
On the water issue, Beattie read directly, not only from the National Party's 1997 water policy, but also from the 1984 revamped Bradfield Report which recommended creating a grid system and the piping of waters from the Burdekin River to south-east Queensland.
Even so, very little was heard from the Opposition parties on water, other than their proposal for a four-dam system and some other dams throughout the state.- Ron Munn is Queensland state president of the National Civic Council.