Queensland Government’s Future Hangs In The Balance

The survival of the Queensland Labor Government led by Peter Beattie depends on its ability to retain two usually safe seats in by-elections next weekend.

Following the 1998 State Election, Beattie held 44 seats in the 89-seat parliament. He was able to form government with the support of Independent member, Peter Wellington. At that election Pauline Hanson’s One Nation won 11 seats. Since then One Nation has split and 4 members sit as independents and five more as members of the City-Country Alliance. The ALP won back one seat at a by-election.

The by-elections are being held in Bundamba, vacant following the retirement of former minister Bob Gibbs, and Woodridge, vacant due to the resignation of Bill D’Arcy. D’Arcy has since been charged with a number of sex offences. The controversy over this and the large superannuation payout ($660,000) collected by D’Arcy two days after he resigned threatens to upset the ALP’s chances of victory. Bundamba is not believed to be in danger.

If Beattie loses either by-election next Saturday he will be forced to rely again on the support of Wellington. An independent candidate, Russell Lutton, is polling strongly in Woodridge and if elected has pledged to support Beattie.

Queensland Parliament
Party 1995 1998 Now
ALP
44
44
45
Liberal
15
9
9
National
29
23
23
Independent
1
2
6
One Nation
11
0
City-Country Alliance
5
Total
89
89
89
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