There is a prevailing belief in the ALP that they can spin their way out of any situation. This sometimes works with people without ideology or class consciousness. The economic crisis has shaken people’s faith in capitalism mainly because poverty means there is less access to consumer goods.
So Anna Bligh and her ministers used spin rather than fix the dams, the payroll system and the hospitals. The government dumped the fuel subsidy saying that the states finances were in poor shape.
The ALP-in-government could always invent a story that would explain any given situation.
Look at the way the government allowed the dams to fail and then blame it on El Nina – the media made Bligh into a heroine because she came on as a concerned mum with the best interests of her family at heart in time of catastrophe.
The pièce de résistance was Bligh’s losing speech at the convention centre when she said that their loss was inevitable because they had been in power for so long. Yet Labor ruled Queensland from 1915 to 1957! 40 years with only a brief period out of government at the onset of the great depression in 1930.
In contrast Bligh (2009-2012) and Beattie (1998-2009) were only in power for a fraction of that time.
Labor’s loss had little to do with longevity or the dominance of the AWU/factional system but a lot to do with policies.
The three main factions in the ALP in Queensland are Labor Forum/Australian Workers Union (Bill Ludwig, AWU), Labor Unity (David Hanna, BLF) and the Left (sic) [Andrew Dettmer, AMWU]
No faction in the Labor Party effectively opposed the sale of public assets at the 2010 state ALP conference that began the Labor slide.
The Left faction (sic) even withdrew its vote on the floor of the conference.
The argument in favour of the sale was to retire public debt so that the government could build more infrastructure.
That argument could easily be rebutted in a state whose major economic activity is moving minerals from one place to another. Queensland Rail coal and mineral freight had subsidized public infrastructure for the past 50 years.
“Bligh won the privatisation vote at the ALP conference, held over the June 6-8 weekend , by 207 votes to 156. Another 44 delegates abstained, most of them from unions in Blighs own left faction, which opposed the sale but did not want to embarrass her. These included the nurses union and the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union.” Direct Action
What all factions in the ALP failed to realise when they voted to sell QRail was they were signing the death warrant of two ALP governments – State (Bligh) and Federal (Gillard).
The only union that attempted to mobilize politically against the sale was the Electrical Trades Union (Peter Simpson) the union that Bjelke-Petersen put to the sword in 1986. The ETU put up billboards saying that Anna Bligh had sold us out.
The unions made the collective mistake of falling in behind the ALP at the election they should have run independent labor candidates against the government to retain public assets and to maintain better health, education and energy system.
As it turned out the ALP lost 1 in every 3 of its metropolitan votes to the Liberals and a similar ratio of its regional votes to Katter in the bush.
The ALP government failed in service delivery and incompetent ministers (i.e. Paul Lucas) appointed through the factional system contributed to this.
The focus of the incoming LNP government is service delivery which may work so long as there is not another economic crisis.
Will an extra-parliamentary opposition emerge to oppose conservative government?