13 January 2004

Beattie opts for short election campaign

'We've had enough delays, we've had enough agony, we've had enough pain for Queensland children,' Mr Beattie said.

'We need a new government in place to implement the recommendations and make them happen and that's the reason why I've taken the decision to call the election today for the 7th of February.'

Political analyst Dr Paul Williams from Griffith University says he is not surprised the Premier has called the election this soon.

'Given that the Premier has in the last six months of last year probably weathered the toughest six months of his second term, with certain problems with the ambulance levy, problems with misuse of ministerial vehicles and of course the children in care inquiry,' he said.

'I'm not surprised that the Premier would be very keen to go to the polls in order to maximise his own political appeal.'

Mr Beattie cut short his summer holiday and went to Government House this morning to ask for an election.

There will be a 26 day campaign leading up to the poll.

Mr Beattie is looking for a third term in office and goes to the polls with a huge majority.

Labor holds 66 seats compared with the Coalition's 15.

This year Oz faces elections in Queensland and the ACT. If Beattie is re-elected (and it's hard to see how he won't be) Labor will say it helps them federally and the Coalition will say it was decided on state issues. Poll junkies will be watching closely to see how One Nation performs after the Pauline Hanson story last year. One Nation's performance will be read by some as a proxy for the size of the national security vote in the federale lection, although I think Abbot's involvement in Hanson's demise (but not her resurrection) makes that dubious.

The Man of Steel will almost certainly call a federal election before the end of the year. The double dissolution triggers expire on 11 August.

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