March 25, 2012 | Graham

Could the LNP win South Brisbane on a rematch?

Anna Bligh has announced that she is resigning from Parliament, effective March 30. That means that after running a campaign where she assured us all that she was in it for the long haul, she gives her electorate less than one week’s notice when she loses.

My bet is that this will be seen as breath-taking arrogance. Not for her the path of Gough Whitlam who stayed on as opposition leader after his massive loss to Malcolm Fraser in 1975. She is going to cut and run.

I assume that Bligh will support Cameron Dick, Andrew Fraser or Stirling Hinchliffe to replace her. She is going to need a good replacement for the following reasons.

She presumably has a personal vote in the electorate. If it is say, 5%, then the the seat is only marginally Labor on last night’s result. Voters are notoriously intolerant of politicians who make them vote again, with the previously incumbent party’s vote tending to drop in by-elections. So whoever Labor runs will need to be a superstar just on the mathematics.

But this decision exemplifies one of the reasons why voters rejected Labor this election – they felt it was untrustworthy and self-serving; aloof from the public and not listening to them. Resigning a week after winning demonstrates that Bligh was not really interested in serving Queensland at all, unless it was in her own interest and on her own terms.

At the same time as she was pillorying the Liberals because no-one knew who would be the leader of an LNP government if he didn’t win, she obviously had her own plans to leave Labor leaderless if she lost.

She ┬áis also dumping the next opposition leader in it. They won’t have access to her experience in running a government and performing in a parliament to call on. And there is very little talent left in the party. That is going to make rebuilding harder. What’s more, if the party does nominate an unpopular ex-member such as Fraser for the seat, the public will think that Labor hasn’t learnt anything from this election.

This election result was driven by a desire to punish Labor and Bligh. The desire was intensified when the campaign smears were revealed to be baseless and when Anna refused to acknowledge any mistakes. Demonstrating that she is still not prepared to mend her ways is likely to be like blood in the water to a white pointer.

If the LNP wants to run a hard campaign against Labor in South Brisbane it just might win it. Their candidate Clem Grehan certainly has an arguable case that he was dudded, along with everyone else.

Posted by Graham at 12:20 pm | Comments (9) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. It is certainly breathtaking arrogance on Bligh’s part to take what remains of her bat and ball and go home after the sanguinary drubbing she got on Saturday. As you say, the electors of South Brisbane could be forgiven their angst if as a result they feel they have been used.

    But think laterally. Labor has already lost party status (on the existing outcome). It will be up to Campbell Newman to accord the ALP official status in the parliament. He should certainly do so. Labor’s out of office, probably for three terms at least. My guestimate is that however pissed off they are, the electors of South Brisbane will probably decide they need a Labor member and that Queensland needs a parliamentary Labor party that has not been even further reduced.

    I’m not a Labor voter, but democracy requires the presence of some talent in the opposition. That’s the bigger issue.

    Comment by Richard L — March 25, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

  2. Does the party status thing matter? I would have thought that there is an opposition and the opposition leader will get the same resources he/she always has. The party status thing arose because of the Liberal Party’s existence as a second opposition party.

    Comment by Nick Ferrett — March 25, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  3. Graham

    The answer to your question would have to be yes. The LNP could let the idea run that Anna Bligh is seeking a Senate seat in the Federal parliament.

    Comment by Terry — March 25, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  4. Graham, I think that if the LNP was going to win it, it would have happened on Saturday. That said, the very worst thing they could do, I think, would be to put Cameron Dick or someone like that into the seat. Having blasted Newman as they did for carpetbagging, the hypocrisy of it would reinforce every reason why people shifted so heavily on the weekend.

    In any event, surely they should be looking at someone who is from the local area? They can’t hope to win the next election (barring some unforeseen earthquake). Their focus has to be on building themselves up as a party devoted to principle (their major problem at the moment), give the electorate confidence about that, and then look at winning back government. Parachuting someone in sends the very opposite message.

    Comment by Nick Ferrett — March 26, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  5. Agree Nick with your assessment on the question of what sort of a candidate they should have. Just been talking to someone who reminded me of the Ryan by-election. Still think they could lose the seat with the right campaign.

    Comment by Graham — March 26, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  6. Just a follow-up. Labor’s out for three terms at least on Saturday’s astonishing result. The next ALP “premier in waiting” is very unlikely to be any luminary parachuted into Bligh’s old seat in 2012.

    Comment by Richard L — March 26, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  7. The LNP can win a by-election provided tht CLEM GREHAN is their candidate. he did all the hard work and has been given precious little recognition or his efforts.he is a good bloke and extemely capable; will serve south brisbane vry well.

    Comment by gerry grehan — March 26, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  8. I totally agree with you Gerry. Clem has been a hard worker and successful businessman and would have a much better idea of how to run the State than many candidates who have never attempted to run a business themselves let alone know how to run the State of Qld. I tried googling to see if I could find any evidence Jackie Trad would have some idea how to run the State. This site seems to show she wouldn’t

    Comment by Carmel McMullen — March 26, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

  9. Yes, the LNP could now win South Brisbane. The news the by-election might not be held the same day as the BCC election means the voter turnout will be even lower than usual – and it will be ALP voters most likely to stay home.
    Remember what happened in Surfers Paradise when Borbidge went – around a third of the electorate stayed home and they elected an Indi. This is now the LNP’s safest seat.
    So voter turnout – now guaranteed to be low because of the manner of Bligh’s leaving – will make the LNP very competitive in this seat.

    Comment by Ronan Lee — March 29, 2012 @ 10:13 am

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