Govt slammed: ‘disgraceful example of incompetence’
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk is under pressure to overhaul her Government and its message on Adani, coal and jobs or party elders warn Labor is on track to be turfed from office at next year's State Election.
Queensland Labor was yesterday reeling from a brutal drubbing in the state that saw its primary vote drop to 27.3 per cent - less than a percentage point higher than it was when the former Bligh government was booted from office in 2012 and the party reduced to just seven MPs in the House.
Regional MPs and the federal arm of the party are laying the blame directly at the feet of the Palaszczuk Government and its mishandling of Adani's Carmichael coal mine for the poor result in Queensland.
It has galvanised fears of a regional rout at the looming State Election in October next year - less than 18 months away.
The drubbing has moved two party elders - former Goss government minister and party president Bob Gibbs and fellow Labor stalwart and former Bligh government minister Robert Schwarten - to take the extraordinary step of breaking ranks to publicly rebuke Ms Palaszczuk and her team in the hope their words will encourage change.
"The Adani issue has become a disgraceful example of incompetence by Government," Mr Gibbs told The Courier-Mail.
"When you lead your chin you are going to get punched.
"You can't have a situation where you see your State Premier on television, shaking hands with people from Adani, a done deal, and then suddenly here we are, years down the track it has become a bleeding wound in the Labor movement and it is going to continue that way.
"For God's sake bite the bullet. Stop listening to the Green movement on this issue - the Greens aren't our friends, they are the opportunists - and start to make some decisions on this and get it off the bloody political sphere."
Both he and Mr Schwarten urged the Government to get out of the tower of power at One William Street and start mixing with real people to find out what the issues are and to reconnect to the working class who are meant to be Labor's base.
"It is a clarion call from the people that we represent for us to do better," Mr Schwarten - who was one of many to witness the backlash at the polling booths first-hand - said of the result.
"I would be dishonest if I said there wasn't ramifications for the State Government because I have been on the pre-polls and I have heard what people have said.
"After 50 years in the Labor Party this is the first time I have ever spoken out publicly but somebody has to say something on behalf of the people out there who want to vote Labor, desperately want a Labor Government and want it to turn to what they understand of a Labor Government.
"We are not selling our message properly to the people who care about us and they think we don't care about them."
Both she and her Deputy Jackie Trad refused to buy into accusations their handling of the Adani project was a factor in Labor's loss.
"I am quite sure that there is going to be a huge detailed analysis of what when wrong but I think at the end of the day Labor had a very complex message and it needed to be a very simple message," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"At the end of the day it's about jobs."
She said the State Government would be redoubling its efforts in the wake of the federal loss.