For Pete’s sake

Word around the campfire is that Peter Beattie will pay a visit to Government House on Tuesday to call a Queensland state election for September 9. While this may yet prove to be the product of elaborate bluffing on Beattie’s part, the speculation is being taken very seriously by the Courier-Mail and the ABC, and also by Antony Green, whose election guide is now open for business. I am currently very hard at work whipping my own effort into shape and hope to have it up by next weekend.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

7 comments on “For Pete’s sake”

  1. He’s not despairing, but desperate to be in ‘control’ in a ‘crisis’. Hence turning health problems (over-rated, certainly in comparison say to NSW) and water management into (almost literally) states of emergency.

    And now, this footsying with an early-but-not-by-much election. Having again abused, Abetzianly, the bottomless pit of government advertising, he will turn the resignation of an ineffectual independent from a provincial electorate into a faux-moment of introspection, as he grapples with the issue of whether to save the cost of a by-election, by calling 89 other elections, ostensibly to save the poor souls of Gladstone two trips to the polls in 6 months. (For which read he doesn’t want another poor by-election result).

    The Electoral Act is an obscure relic when it comes to by-elections. But if Nita Cunningham wanted to resign for ill-health and avoid the cost of a by-election, all she needs to do is tender the resignation whilst the Assembly is sitting (ie in a week’s time) and the Assembly can vote not to fill the vacancy.

  2. Sorry Graeme, you’ve got your Cunninghams mixed up: it’s Liz Cunningham that’s independent member for Gladstone; Nita Cunningham is ALP for Bundaberg.

  3. You’ve got the wrong Cunningham Graeme. The one resigning is Nita Cunningham, the Labor MP for Bundaberg, the seat at the centre of the Hospital crisis. Liz Cunnungham is the Indepdnent MP for Gladstone and she is not resigning.

  4. Graeme, I agree with most of what you say, except that Nita Cunningham, the MP who has resigned, is the ex-Minister ALP member for Bundaberg and not her namesake Liz Cunningham, the independent member for Gladstone.

    With Bundaberg having special political sensitivities due to the well-publicised happenings at its base hospital over the past couple of years, it is unlikely that the Premier, or the large Labor majority in the Legislative Assembly on his instructions, would be minded to leave the area without representation for 6 months or more, as he has already publicly stated over the past couple of days. Of course, he has already said many times that he intends to run his full term, so it will be interesting to see how he reconciles those views.

    Personally, as a keen election watcher living in Queensland, I hope for purely selfish reasons it does come sooner rather than later, and that certainly seems to be the expectation in the Brisbane media this morning.

    A final point on the likely dates if a September election does become a reality. There was talk last week that 9 September was not the likely choice as there will be 2 NRL finals on that night, one possibly in Brisbane (although that is fast becoming unlikely the way the Broncos are going). In any case, it will cause some scheduling problems for Channel 9, but it seems no-one else is too concerned.

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