Schwarten: What happened to Labor in Rocky

JUST what happened on Saturday in one of the most intriguing Queensland elections in recent memory?

Here former CQ politicians Robert Schwarten (Labor) and Vaughan Johnson (LNP) offer their thoughts in their latest instalment of Let it Rip.


As predicted by some pundits, we will not know who's won this election for some time but we do know the One Nation bogeyman has not materialised - just spoilt the show for others.

Maybe it will pick up Mirani where the pincer movement of One Nation and the LNP preferencing Labor's battler defender Jim Pearce appears to have worked.

With that and Rocky excepted the status quo seems to have prevailed up north.

So how does a Labor seat (Rockhampton) that was only one of seven to survive the Campbell Newman wipeout back in 2012, and benefit again from his burnout in 2015, end up a shambles with LNP preferences to decide whether Margaret Strelow or Barry O'Rourke will win?

When Labor polled the seat on Bill Byrne's retirement, it was 41 per cent, the lowest primary vote in my memory.

Then came the factional intervention to put Strelow into the seat with Byrne's support.

Despite her assurances otherwise she did not obey the wishes of the ALP branch members, instead announcing she would run anyway. What a mess.

Contrast this with those livewires Brittany Lauga and Glenn Butcher nearby.

Labor lost Keppel in 2012 and the Labor vote in Gladstone tanked. Today both seats have increased their Labor primary votes because both members exemplify what a good local member is about.

They are community connected and are forever in the media selling the government's message.

They have delivered multi- million-dollar projects to councils that acknowledge their efforts.

Yes, there's been no one there playing spoiler, but there's no explanation nor excuse for Rocky to have been in Labor's hands these past five years and the primary vote descend to 41 per cent - except to look in the direction of the retiree.

Statewide it's a dog's breakfast but neither One Nation nor the LNP has got anywhere near their targets.

Tim Nicholls read the tea leaves wrongly in deciding to let One Nation under his guard. There's certainly plenty of study opportunities for political science students after this vote.



Election '17 is all over (apart from the counting) and it looks like a Palaszczuk government in Queensland for the next term.

It appears there has been many factors that have created the outcome for the return of Labor - but the way the Adani business was managed was more of a plus for Labor than LNP.

Premier Palaszczuk was very definite in her stand on Adani, whereas the LNP Brisbane-based leadership thought everyone in Queensland was agreeing with its stand and policy.

The billion dollars to a foreign company that wasn't showing its hand professionally for the rail line went down like a lead balloon and the underground water gift was a poison chalice.

Our underground water is sacred, keep your hands off it.

Canberra cost the LNP dearly in this election. All along our pastoral people have been treated with contempt by those who thought they knew best.

One Nation has been the fly in the ointment and its policy-onthe run, again, has cost the LNP big time.

Don't worry about policy costings, just promise something to people who want anything.

KAP has done magnificently well in this election because it has a statesman in Robbie Katter for a leader who is addressing issues rural and regional Queensland want and need.

If it wins more seats it deserves it as it addresses issues such as major infrastructure. Give KAP a billion dollars and they will make rural and regional Qld a real wealth generator that will benefit Queenslanders - not Indian mining magnates.

In summary, the ALP has won on loyalty and discipline in their ranks (with the exception of Rockhampton).

The LNP has got to embrace the comments of its constituencies and remember there is more to Queensland than the coastal strip from Coolangatta to Cairns. There are places such as Thursday Island, Camooweal and Birdsville and many places in between that. And, yes, they have people living in them.

Even if they voted for One Nation.

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