Hawker Britton Occasional Papers and Media

Queensland Election

March 2009

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On Saturday 21 March 2009, the Bligh Labor Government was returned for a fifth term in the Queensland State Election.

The election was historic, marking the first time a woman had led her party to victory at an Australian state election.  Previously, Rosemary Follett (ACT), Kate Carnell (ACT) and Clare Martin (NT) had won victories at the territory level (all three of these having both won from opposition and been successfully re-elected as Chief Ministers).

As of early Tuesday 24 March, Labor had claimed 49 of the state’s 89 parliamentary seats, the Liberal National Party 30, with 4 Independents.  Six seats remain too close to call as counting continues.

ABC election analyst Antony Green currently estimates the final parliamentary makeup will be 52 for the ALP, 33 for the LNP, plus the 4 Independents.

2006 election result

Labor LNP Independent
59 25 5 (included a One Nation MP)

2009 election result as counting continues

Labor LNP Independent
49 30 4

Antony Green’s predicted Parliament

Labor LNP Independent
52 33 4

The election campaign

The strong result for Labor was in stark contrast to weeks of opinion polling which clearly pointed to a cliffhanger result. 

Despite what was generally regarded as a strong campaign, the LNP leader Lawrence Springborg’s support fell away precipitously over the last week of the campaign. 

The Government’s comeback in this week suggests that as Queensland voters focused on the Opposition Leader, and Anna Bligh made a whirlwind sweep of thirty crucial electorates, the strong leadership the Premier was offering in a time of crisis swayed significant parts of the electorate.  It is also thought urban voters did not relate to Springborg’s leadership.

The election was largely won and lost in Brisbane’s northern suburbs and the Gold Coast region.  The merger of the conservative parties into the LNP was designed to appeal to urban voters alienated by the National Party’s rural focus.  Queensland’s sharp urban/rural divide has long created a wedge between the Liberal and National parties and their voters, and the LNP was created to in an attempt overcome this.

The table below illustrates the LNP’s failure to succeed in this aim.  The seats it won were largely scattered all over the state, and it failed to make the inroads it needed.

Seat Won by New member Region
Aspley LNP Tracy Davis Northern Brisbane
Clayfield LNP Tim Nicholls Inner North Brisbane
Chatsworth LNP Andrea Caltabiano Southern Brisbane
Cleveland LNP Mark Robinson Outer southern Brisbane
Redlands LNP Peter Dowling Outer southern Brisbane
Indooroopilly LNP Scott Emerson Brisbane Western Subs
Hervey Bar LNP Ted Sorensen South East QLD coast
Mudgeeraba LNP Ros Bates Gold Coast Hinterland
Coomera LNP Michael Crandon Gold Coast
Mirani LNP Ted Malone Central Queensland
Burdekin LNP Rosemary Menkins North Queensland

Investing in jobs and infrastructure

During the election campaign, the Queensland Government unveiled a wide-ranging agenda, largely directed to supporting jobs growth and investment in infrastructure.  Anna Bligh sought to position her Government with the efforts of the Rudd Government to kickstart growth in the Australian economy through government investment.  This will be the subject of a Hawker Britton Occasional Paper next week.

Like the Prime Minister, Premier Bligh argued the current global economic crisis necessitated a larger and more constructive role for Government.  The Premier announced a $17 billion capital works plan to stimulate the Queensland economy during the next parliamentary term by creating 100000 jobs and leaving a permanent, positive legacy of her time in office.

This capital works plan will focus on investment in roads, dams, schools, housing, health and drought-proofing projects.  Work will commence as soon as possible, as Anna Bligh looks to make good on her election promises and commit her Government to working with the Federal Government to allay the ongoing impact of the global economic crisis.

The returned Queensland Government has a renewed mandate to use the full force of public policy to boost growth in Queensland.  For this task, the Bligh Government is adopting a similar approach to Canberra – when growth is sluggish, it is the role of government to be more active in creating jobs and economic activity.

For an analysis of how Anna Bligh’s Government won a fifth term and what this means for Queensland, read Hawker Britton Managing Director Bruce Hawker’s article in Monday’s Australian newspaper.

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