Peter Beattie Announces Resignation As Queensland Premier

The Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, has announced that he will retire later this week.

Beattie has been Labor Premier since June 1998, winning re-election in 2001, 2004 and 2006. He will retire as the second longest-serving Labor Premier of Queensland. William Forgan Smith served for 10 years from 1932 until 1942.

This is the text of Peter Beattie’s resignation statement.

Peter Beattie, outgoing Labor Premier of QueenslandI indicated in late June that I would be considering my future over the next 12 months. Well I’ve done that. And it’s now time; it’s time for renewal.

And therefore I’ve indicated to my cabinet colleagues, and my caucus colleagues and my workmates that I’ll be resigning as premier as of 10am Thursday. There will be a special caucus meeting on Wednesday at 11am to elect a new leader.

As you know, we embarked on this fourth term there were many challenges. I have to say there are many things about the American system I disagree with but there are some that I do agree with. And that is that I like the idea of two fixed terms of four years which means leaders stay for around about eight years. And as you know I’ve been premier for over nine. I stayed because I had obligations to Queenslanders in relation to the issues of health, the water grid and obviously council amalgamations. I stayed to make sure that that work is either done or well on the way.

That’s now being done and I am confident that under Premier Anna Bligh the state will be in good hands.

There are many things that I’m proud of. I’m proud of my team. I’m proud of my cabinet. My cabinet is a very solid cabinet. It’s well balanced with good people in it. And they put Queensland first. I’m also proud of the talent in my caucus. I have to say for someone who got thrown out of the Labor Party because I criticised the lack of calibre of the caucus in the 70s, we’ve come a long way. We’ve got the team that can take us forward.

I don’t intend to today go through my record because frankly I think you’re all bored with that and I think Queenslanders are too, other than to say that the smart state philosophy which, as you know I’m madly committed to, is fundamentally important not just for Queensland now but for our future. If you look at where we are, without Smart State, we will not have the jobs of tomorrow.

I am proud of the fact that we have an unemployment level of 3.5 per cent, nationally it’s 4.5 per cent. As you know I promised five per cent and we have delivered on that. And I’m very proud of that. So I want to thank my cabinet, I want to thank my colleagues, I want to thank my workmates and my staff who’ve worked incredibly hard. I want to thank the deputies that I have worked with as well as my cabinet colleagues.

But more importantly than any of that, I want to thank two very special people. Firstly I want to thank the people of Queensland because you’ve put your faith in me and my cabinet colleagues. And I want to thank you for that. Obviously I would not have been anything without the people of this state. This is the best place on the planet. I love Queenslanders and I love Queensland and I’ve done my best.

Now I haven’t been perfect. We all know it. I’ve made my share of mistakes and when we have I’ve tried to admit them and get on with it.

I would just ask Queenslanders for this little thing, that I be remembered for doing my best.

Sometimes it was good enough, sometimes it wasn’t, but I always did my best.

And the second group of people I want to thank are my family. I want to thank Heather for putting up with me and giving me that frank advice from time to time, like you’re fat and you’re overweight and you have bags under your eyes and you should speak shorter and all the
wonderful things my wife gave me advice on.

I also want to thank my children. Matthew’s here representing them today. They can’t all be here but I want to thank them. I love them dearly.


Rann Now Longest-Serving Premier

Peter Beattie’s resignation as Queensland Premier will elevate South Australia’s Mike Rann to the position of longest-serving state premier. Rann was elected in March 2002.

Mike Rann, Premier of South AustraliaThe Northern Territory Chief Minister, Clare Martin, will become the longest-serving state or territory head of government, having been elected in August 2001. She just eclipses the ACT’s Jon Stanhope, elected in November 2001.

The retirements of Bob Carr (elected 1995), Steve Bracks (1999) and Beattie (1998) have resulted in the Labor governments which dominate the Australian states and territories moving to a second-generation of leaders.

Western Australian Premier Geoff Gallop (elected February 2001) resigned due to ill-health in January 2006. Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon (elected September 1998) also resigned due to ill-health in February 2004.

Rann remains the last-elected and only original member of the clutch of Labor Premiers elected between 1995 and 2002.

John Howard remains the longest-serving head of government, having been Prime Minister since March 11, 1996.


Peter Beattie To Step Down On Thursday

Peter Beattie, outgoing Labor Premier of Queensland2.45pm

The Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, has announced that he will step down on Thursday.

At a press conference in Brisbane, Beattie said he looked forward to the election of Queensland’s first female Premier, Anna Bligh.

Beattie said it was “time for renewal”. He will leave office as Queensland’s second longest-serving Labor Premier.

  • Read Peter Beattie’s Resignation Speech
  • Listen to Peter Beattie’s Resignation Press Conference (part only):

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Beattie issued the following statement:

“I have given a great deal of thought to Queensland’s future since my speech to the Party Conference in June and those considerations were taken into account at last Monday’s Strategic Cabinet Meeting.

“The Government has a strategy for the future and now we need new leadership to take Queensland forward.

“Accordingly, I shall resign as Premier effective at 10.00am Thursday.

“Caucus will meet on Wednesday to elect a new leader.

“I have tried to build a new Queensland based on the Smart State during my time as Premier and I would hope that my commitment to the Smart State remains at the core of future Governments regardless of their political persuasion.

“Heather and I and our family are looking forward to a new life. We have not yet made any decisions about what that will entail other than we intend to have a long holiday.

“Renewal is vital for the future of any government or political party and the election of Anna Bligh as Premier will provide that renewal.

“There any many things about the American political system with which I disagree, but there is one aspect that I strongly agree with and that is their two term limit of eight years for Governors and their President.

“I have stayed for over nine years and two months, but that was to work on the construction of the watergrid and to deal with Council amalgamations. Both of those are now well advanced.

“I want to thank Queenslanders for their support and while we have had our successes and failures along the way, all I have ever tried to do is my best for Queensland.”


Beattie Calls Queensland Election For September 9

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has called an election for September 9.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Brisbane at 11am today. The election is being held six months early and follows the premature ill-health retirement by the member for Townsville, Nita Cunningham.

Since the last election on February 7, 2004, the Queensland Labor government has lost 3 seats in by-elections but still retains 60 seats in the 89-seat Legislative Assembly. The Nationals have 16, the Liberals have 7, there are 5 independents and 1 One Nation. The Oppostion would need to win at least 15 seats in the election to oust the government.

  • Listen to Peter Beattie’s Press Conference announcement of the early election.

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Beattie On Media Power Without Responsibility: Who Guards The Guardians?

The Australian media needs to be more accountable and responsible, according to the Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie.

Delivering the A. N. Smith Memorial Lecture in Journalism at the University of Melbourne, Beattie used his speech to call for newspapers to appoint ombudsmen.

He also attacked the reporting of a number of stories about his government by Queensland newspapers.

Text of the A. N. Smith Memorial Lecture in Journalism, delivered by the Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie.

Power Without Responsibility: Who Guards the Guardians?

Peter BeattieI am honoured to have been invited to give the AN Smith Memorial lecture in journalism.

Looking back over previous speakers, I see that I am joining a distinguished band of people who have addressed important issues involving journalism and that there has been good balance between members of the fourth estate and those on whom they report.

I pay tribute to AN Smith who died 70 years ago, to his family whose wish it was that these lectures should take place on an annual basis, and to the University of Melbourne for ensuring that the lectures retain a meaningful and respected focus for everyone interested in the role of the media.

When I received my invitation, it came with a reminder of a debate about media responsibility and accountability that I endeavoured to start in March 2003 and with a suggestion that this was a subject that could be further addressed in this lecture.

Let me remind you of what I said in 2003 and the reaction to my comments. [Read more...]