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Despite Huge Majority, Beattie Says By-Election Is Wake-Up Call

April 28, 2003

In an indication of his finely-tuned political instincts, the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, has warned the ALP against complacency, following its defeat in the Maryborough by-election.

The by-election was caused by the resignation, due to ill-health, of John Kingston. Kingston won the seat as a One Nation candidate in 1998, resigning a year later to sit as an Independent. He was re-elected in 2001. Maryborough has previously been held by Labor and National party members.

The ALP candidate, Doug Loggie has polled 37.03% of the primary vote, ahead of the independent candidate, Chris Foley, on 33.31%. The National Party candidate, Peter Andrews, has 17.16% of the primary vote and his preferences will deliver the seat to Mr. Foley.

The Queensland Labor government has 66 seats in the 89-seat Legislative Assembly. The National Party has 11, the Liberals 3, and there are 7 One Nation and independent members. Most observers will regard Beattie's warning to the ALP as disingenuous.


This is the text of a media release by the Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie.

Maryborough Loss Proves Beattie Government Can Be Beaten

Peter Beattie, Labor Premier of Queensland The fact that Labor has lost the Maryborough by-election proves that the State Labor Government can lose the next State election, Premier Peter Beattie said today (Sunday).

"Latest figures show there has been a swing of more than five per cent against us and we received only 36 per cent of the vote," said Mr Beattie.

"We can't retain Government with a primary vote of that size.

"I accept full responsibility for this loss and congratulate Chris Foley for his victory.

"This is a wake-up call for everyone in the Government and the party.

"A lot of people keep forecasting that we are odds-on favourites to win the next State election but the Maryborough figures show that we are vulnerable and can be beaten.

"What everyone should remember is that a majority gained in a single election can be lost in a single election.

"In the 1998 State election we couldn't win a majority despite more than two years of positive campaigning.

"I believe we have a good record as a Government that has created new jobs and delivered improved services for all Queensland but that doesn't automatically translate to a win in 2004.

"And when it comes to unbeatable favourites, people should remember Northerly's shock defeat when he was long odds-on favourite in this year's Victoria Gold Cup; the Socceroos beating mighty England; and the Sunshine State's Steven Bradbury beating all the favourites to win Olympic gold as an ice speed skater.

"When I said at the beginning of the by-election campaign that we were underdogs, the experts laughed.

"No one believed me. Today we have the proof. This has happened despite the fact that:

  • I have campaigned hard as Premier, visiting Maryborough seven times in what was effectively a 21-day election period;

  • We have reminded voters of my Government's achievements in delivering a long list of jobs, capital works and services for Maryborough;

  • We have told voters of future spending in Maryborough.

"So, despite being hot favourites to win Maryborough in the eyes of the media and the experts - and despite putting up a strong fight - we lost."

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