Anna Bligh has today announced the Queensland state election will be held on March 24, after the state’s floods inquiry was recalled to hear what Hedley Thomas of The Australian describes as extraordinary new evidence that suggests the wrong strategy was used to manage Wivenhoe Dam days before Brisbane was inundated.
Bligh explained today that it had been her intention to hold a poll on March 3, but she will now hold off until after the inquiry reports on March 16. This amounts to an effective campaign of over eight weeks (although she will not visit the Governor to officially call the election until February 19), which may be without precedent in Australia at least so far as past three or four decades are concerned. It had generally been thought that a long campaign would be in Bligh’s interests, as it allows an incumbent trailing by a long margin to hope that either the Opposition Leader or the party behind him might fracture under the pressure.
The state’s local government elections, previously due on March 31, will now be delayed until after Easter to allow for more clear air after the state election. It was reported earlier this month that the Electoral Commission of Queensland wanted a six months gap on either side of the council elections for logistical reasons.
For comprehensive details on each of the state’s 89 electorates, look no further than the Poll Bludger’s election guide.