What now Labor Governs?

Labor has won the 2020 Queensland State Election with independents and minor parties making gains in a year of the Covid pandemic. The Greens won South Brisbane and Maiwar (Toowong) with big swings away from the major parties.

However the 2020 election result confirms Labor as being the natural party of government in Queensland having ruled in this state for the past 30 years with two minor hiccups (Borbidge and Newman). The Liberal Party has never been strong in Queensland because of lack of a manufacturing economic base – hence the middle class is small and fractured. The Nationals and the Katters maintain their strength in regional Queensland. [Click on images below to see full result]. Clive Palmer failed because of repeated false advertising and his contempt for ordinary people, the working class.

Jackie Trad (Labor) lost South Brisbane despite having helped introduce abortion law reform; despite supporting treaty for first nations people; despite making a good respectful speech at the funeral of local aboriginal leader, Sam Watson; despite having held the seat since Anna Bligh, Jackie Trad & Annatascia Palasczcuk and the rest of the ALP sold out by privatising Queensland rail; despite having guided through the cross river rail; and, having built two much needed schools in her electorate. Trad had even offered (informally) to fund an Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Musgrave Park. Yet Jackie lost to Amy McMahon. Why?

Trad (once putative leader of the Left faction [sic] of Labor) supported the Adani coal mine in the Galilee basin on stolen land, capitulated to developers by giving Ministerial approval to the building of West Village and Toondah harbour developments.

But these are not the only reasons Jackie lost. The Murdoch Press attacked her mercilessly, making up stories of corrupt dealings, singling her out as a ‘left-wing crazy’.

The big banner on the Qld Council of Unions building claimed unions supported Jackie. But this was not true, the powerful CFMEU withdrew their support and would not help with her campaign.

On the ground, Jackie’s campaign was left in the hands of true believers like former Councillor for the Gabba ward and former Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Tim Quinn. Tim stood in the hot sun on Dornoch Terrace telling people that Jackie needed every vote she could get.

Councillor Jonno Sri campaigning for the Greens in Woolongabba yesterday. I am not sure but I think I am the flying-bee cyclist about to enter his right ear from the bike path 🙂

But it was not enough, WestEnders have moved to the Greens because Amy committed not to take corporate donations from big developers.

There is a new generation that will not listen to the ‘Tim Quinns’, despite their sincerity and genuine belief in Labor as the party of the underdog.

The Labor Party has held the seat of South Brisbane* for the past 70 years with one brief exception from 1974-1977. The Liberal party held the seat after the 74 floods but lost when the democratic rights movement caused a 10% swing against the Liberal/Country Party government. Bjelke-Petersen had 297 people arrested marching against the government on the eve of the election on 11 Nov 1977. So Jim Fouras took the seat back for Labor despite threatening to dis-endorse George Georges for his participation in the defiant street marches.

Stephen Miles has replaced Jackie as Annastacia’s deputy who now equals Bob Hawke’s record of leading the Labor Party to three straight elections victories. Only Peter Beattie has eclipsed that with four election wins but even he was not as successful as the pro-development Forgan-Smith who ruled the state for 10 years during the depression. Only a war economy could save capitalism as US General MacArthur drew up the Brisbane Line preparing, if necessary, to sacrifice most of regional Queensland to Japanese imperialism. Townsville was bombed. For three days, Brisbane’s Old Cleveland Road had a steady line of ambulances bringing wounded Americans from the battle of the Coral Sea.

Queensland is once again on the brink with a global pandemic and economic recession. Australia’s largest trading partner, China, doesn’t want our coal nor does it want our grain. Both Labor and LNP have backed a fossil fuel economy so little wonder the Greens have made inroads against both parties in Toowong and South Brisbane.

The Last Day of the Trams.
BCC 548 Kingsford Smith drive Hamilton April 1969 – Photo: Garner, Grahame. ‘Images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane , 1960-1980.’ F3400. Fryer Library, University of Queensland.

Why aren’t we making our own electric cars at the old Ford and GM plants that brought Australia into the the long boom in the 50s and 60s? We even had a big car plant at Eagle Farm that could have been re-tooled to make electric vehicles. The major parties would not heed the warning to shift to an economy based on sustainable manufacture in a land awash with solar and wind energy. We even had electric trams and buses on Brisbane streets in the 50s and 60s. Why not now?

Results in 25 key seats are summarised below in alphabetic order (click image to see full results slide by slide).

Ian Curr
1 Nov 2020

* formerly Brisbane South

QLD State Election Results

NB: Make sure you click on the image to see the slides.

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