ALP Wins Queensland Stafford By-Election With 18.6% Swing

The Queensland ALP has won the Stafford by-election with a swing of 18.6%, regaining a seat lost in the LNP landslide of 2012 and propelling a Royal Brisbane Hospital surgeon into parliament.

Lynham

Dr. Anthony Lynham, a maxillofacial surgeon, will become the new member for Stafford, replacing Chris Davis, the LNP member who resigned after a series of disputes with the Newman government, which included his dismissal as Assistant Minister for Health. Davis was also a medical specialist before his election, working as the Director of Medicine at the Prince Charles Hospital.

Situated in the inner-north of Brisbane, Stafford is an electorate once-abolished and recreated in 2001. It was held by the ALP between 2001 and 2012. There was a 14.4% swing against the ALP in 2012.

The LNP’s primary vote has fallen 16.9% to 33.4%, whilst the ALP’s primary has risen 17.2% to 50.7%.

The ALP’s two-party-preferred vote is 61.5%, a swing of 18.6%. The LNP margin before the by-election was 7.1%. [Read more...]


Tony Fitzgerald Warns Of Abuse Of Power In Queensland

Tony Fitzgerald, the man who led the inquiry into corruption in Queensland’s Bjelke-Petersen government in the 1980s, has issued a statement warning against the abuse of power and describing Queensland today as “effectively a single-party State”.

FitzgeraldFitzgerald, a former judge of the Federal Court of Australia, said the first term of Campbell Newman’s government has seen attacks on the judiciary and judicial independence, emasculation of the anti-corruption commission, and interference with the electoral system.

The Liberal National Party government has “confirmed the critical importance of adequate checks and balances”, Fitzgerald says.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry of the 1980s contributed to the resignation of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the jailing of Police Commissioner Terry Lewis, and the resignation and jailing of several Cabinet ministers.

Text of statement issued by Tony Fitzgerald.

Statement from Tony Fitzgerald

Queensland is extremely vulnerable to the misuse and abuse of power. There are almost no constitututional limits on the power of the State’s single house of parliament. Unless there is an effective parliamentary opposition to advocate alternative policies, criticise government errors, denounce excesses of power and reflect, inform and influence public opinion, the checks and balances needed for democracy are entirely missing. [Read more...]


Premiers Rebel Over Federal Budget Cuts; Demand COAG Meeting Before July 1

The States have rebelled over Federal Government Budget cuts, claiming that the impact will be felt on July 1, and demanding Prime Minister Tony Abbott convene a COAG meeting before then.

Newman

The State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers met in Sydney today at a meeting called by the Queensland LNP Premier, Campbell Newman. The Western Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, was the only leader not to attend.

Newman said the meeting “firmly and unequivocally rejected” the Budget cuts. The political leaders demanded an urgent meeting of the Council of Australia Governments before July 1. Newman said: “Contrary to what the PM said today, there are immediate impacts to frontline services.”

He said the $180 million cut to hospitals would be felt immediately with about 1200 sub-acute beds being cut in hospitals. “There was a national partnership on preventative health – we all received letters saying that is terminated.” [Read more...]


Clive Palmer To Sue Campbell Newman Over Vote-Buying Claim

The leader of the Palmer United Party, Clive Palmer, says he will sue the Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, over comments he made that Palmer was buying votes.

Palmer

It was announced yesterday that three indigenous representatives of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly – Alison Anderson, Larisa Lee and Francis Xavier Kurrupuwuy – would join Palmer’s party. The three members resigned from the Country Liberal Party government a few weeks ago and now sit as independents. Anderson is also a former member of the ALP.

Campbell Newman yesterday said Palmer was “buying” votes. He said Palmer was on a “rampage around Australia” to “buy other people and buy other people’s votes”.

At a press conference today, Palmer said Newman was like “an angry fire ant” and said he “went up and down like a yo-yo”. Palmer said Newman should seek medical help.

Palmer also said the federal government’s rhetoric about the “financial mess” the economy was in was a “lie”. He said Australia is one of 13 countries in the world with a triple-A credit rating.

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Yvette D’Ath Wins Queensland Redcliffe By-Election For Labor With 16% Swing

Yvette D’Ath has reclaimed the Queensland Legislative Assembly district of Redcliffe for the Labor Party with a 16.1% swing in today’s by-election.

D'AthShe defeated the Liberal National candidate, Kerri-Anne Dooley, who stood in place of the former LNP member, Scott Driscoll.

D’Ath was the former Labor member for the federal electorate of Petrie for two terms from 2007 until her defeat last year.

The ALP’s primary vote rose 12.9% to 43.6% whilst the LNP’s fell 14.1% to 35.1%. The Greens vote fell 2.8% to 4.0%. An independent candidate polled 10.6%.

The ALP’s two-party-preferred vote is 56% to the LNP’s 44%.

Redcliffe is an electorate to the north and northeast of Brisbane. It includes the suburbs of Clontarf, Margate, Kippa-Ring, Redcliffe and Woody Point, as well as Moreton Island. Since its creation in 1960, it was held by the Liberal Party until the ALP won it in 1989 and retained it until 2005. The Liberals briefly held it again in 2005-06, before the ALP won it again.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of the former Liberal National member, Scott Driscoll. Elected in the LNP landslide of 2012, Driscoll was accused of misleading parliament over his business interests. He resigned last November.

With all polling booths reporting their results tonight, the two-party swing to the ALP is 16.1%. The ALP won 11 of the 14 polling booths. The swing to the ALP is roughly equivalent to the statewide swing against it in 2012.

D’Ath’s victory increases the ALP’s parliamentary representation to 8 members in Queensland’s 89-member Legislative Assembly. The party lost 44 seats in 2012 and its primary vote fell to 26.66%.

The ALP will portray the result as a vote against Premier Campbell Newman’s administration and its budget cuts. It will also say the result is a warning to the Abbott government ahead of its first Budget. Whilst a win is a win and the swing is substantial, in reality it is foolish to read too much into by-election results.

The next Queensland state election is due early next year, although Newman could opt to go towards the end of this year. The LNP won 78 seats in 2012 but defections and tonight’s loss means it now holds 74 seats. It can afford to lose up to 28 seats without losing government.