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Queensland state election 2009 : my provisional post mortem

By Dave Riley
I can't read the ALP result in terms of making a conclusion about how they managed to hold onto enough seats to keep government almost comfortably, albeit with a reduced margin.This was the flattest and most boring election imaginable and I doubt anyone got excited about any aspect of it.

The boredom impacted on the Socialist Alliance campaign too but we still managed to mobilise comrades and supporters to staff the booths in the two electorates 16 kilometres apart. There was an actual blackout of coverage for alternate parties as there was too much money to be made from the massive LNP and ALP investment in newspaper and other media advertising. This extended to the local 'community' press.

While this neglect helps to explain the weak alternate vote a more potent factor was probably the way the vote for Labor was shored up in the last week of the campaign because of the general fear that the ALP could lose government. Because of that protest voting was stifled to some degree.

The Greens probably will not get Ronan Lee up in Indooroopilly -- their big chance to enter state parliament in their own right. Lee , a MP, left the ALP in October last year and joined the Greens. His final vote hangs on postal votes. The Greens had preferenced the ALP in 14 seats so that they' could secure ALP preferences for Lee. However the Greens stood in all 89 seats for the first time (there in no upper house in QLD) by , in most cases, parachuting names onto the ballot across the state.

So how did the Alliance candidates fair?

SANDGATE: Mike Crook (SA)
  • STILLER, Kevin 396 1.85%
  • SKELTON, Keith GRN 1,756 8.19%
  • CROOK, Mike 313 1.46%
  • GAFFEL, Lenard LNP 6,981 32.55%
  • GRUNDY, Mark FFP 455 2.12%
  • DARLING, Vicky ALP 11,549 53.84%
We had not stood in this seat before and will be following the campaign up by forming a local Socialist Alliance branch. We were in fact aiming for 1% result. There is a Greens branch in the area but we had more booth workers mobilised than they.

  • ROSBOROUGH, Derek 102 0.56%
  • BLIGH, Anna ALP 8,849 48.41%
  • RENDELL, David DSQ 225 1.23%
  • HAINES, Merilyn 337 1.84%
  • WATSON, Sam 276 1.51%
  • KANE, Gary GRN 3,181 17.40%
  • CARROLL, Mary LNP 5,055 27.66%
  • COATES, Matt 28 0.15%
  • MARTIN, Greg 225 1.23%
We've usually stood across the river in Brisbane Central. Initial figures suggest that in South Brisbane the Greens result fell from their last share of 21.49% probably due in part to the number of candidates
standing rather and that it was the premier's seat.

Its' also clear that Sam Watson's profile as an indigenous rights activist wasn't enough in South Brisbane to separate him more from the pack, especially the other 5 Independents .

The Socialist Alliance vote -- still small -- is nonetheless holding as ours has to be a very conscious choice by these hundreds who Vote 1 for us as we aren't listed as Socialist Alliance on the ballot paper because we are not registered in Queensland. Since we didn't scrutineer we don't know what sort of second preference trend we may have received.

While I was mainly involved in the Sandgate campaign I think we did a lot of exciting and creative stuff there in the very short campaign period that was open to us. When you only have your own resources of money, tools and labour it's a challenge of how you decide to deploy them. I think the highlights for me have been:
  1. Sunday markets-- wonderful opportunity to place our politics in front of an audience in an atmosphere that is conducive to two way chat. Our weekly stall (from 6am) has been a great way to begin to connect with the community in a way no other local party has tied to do.
  2. Leafletting railway stations. We did each of the five stations twice (in two weeks) capturing the morning peak traffic from 6am. No opportunity to chat of course in that situation but our literature boarded the trains.
  3. Corflute pickets. This is an absolute corker. Parking yourself with corflute signs on the road side at a high profile location during peak rush hour times. Very effective technique honed by the local YRatW campaign.
  4. Letter boxing is always hard to monitor. I think that we needed to put in something like 40 hours to leaflet the whole electorate and in the end we ran out of our flyer print run.
And in one very self conscious sense we see our methods of engaging people as a continuation of the Your Rights at Work campaign in the area.

Total Formal First Preference Vote by Party (As of close of counting):
  • Australian Labor Party ALP 779,427 42.69% [ALP final vote in2006: 1,032,617 46.92% ]
  • Liberal National Party 749,970 41.07%
  • The Greens GRN 150,359 8.23% [Greens final vote in 2006: 175,798 7.99 %]
  • Daylight Saving Party 18,410 1.01%
  • Family First Party FFP 14,877 0.81 %
  • One Nation ONP 7,298 0.40 %
  • Other Candidates 105,519 5.78%
With the formation of the LNP in July and the fall of the Howard government in 2007 there was much less ideological traction for a One Nation reincarnation. One Nation's peak was the 1998 Queensland state election, at which the party won 22.7% of the vote and 11 of the 89 seats. Inasmuch as that reflected a rejection of Labor as well as the Coalition parties, maybe the election of the Rudd government federally and the shallow options on offer at this poll has kept that ALP's soft edge from being so mercurial as it was in 1998 and deserting the party for racist populism.

Party Seats Contested
Seats Contested
Australian Labor Party 89 89
Liberal National Party 88 89†
The Greens 89 75
Family First 25 26
One Nation 2 4
Independents & Others 72 46

Note the number of "Independents & Others".

What changed for the main parties?

Party Labor Liberal National
Last election 59 seats 25 seats
Seats won 53 32
Seat change –6 +7

See also:Related posts

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