While it’s clear the Coalition will likely win the election on the results in NSW, Labor’s only real chance was to turn the tables on the Coalition in QLD – enter Peter Beattie, beloved Son of QLD, Respected and Admired throughout the State, mmm, maybe not!
In the article I did at the time of the Beattie announcement, ‘Peter Beattie, the second coming – Why?’ I wrote, “Beattie is a big gun and Labor using him in Forde is indicative of how really bad things are for Labor’s re-election prospects.”
I went on with, “That said though, Beattie is not a resident of Forde and might successfully be painted as a blow-in opportunist dragged from the vault of political artifacts.”
Polling done in Forde on Thursday night shows Beattie, QLD’s Son, is being thrashed by another QLD Son, the one who actually lives in the electorate and holds the seat for the LNP.
The poll sample isn’t big, only 568 voters, but with a two party result of Beattie being beaten 60/40, it’s enough to scare the daylights out of him and PM Rudd, provided they’re not dangerously deluded by their own self-importance.
The poll was also conducted using names, so there was no doubt voters knew it was Beattie they were rejecting. Further, the questions uncovered that on a personal basis, Abbott is also clobbering Rudd in Forde.
Tony Abbott polling better than Kevin Rudd, in a marginal seat in QLD, Kevin’s home state, would likely be giving the current PM a case of the disbeliefs!
Political parties can be ‘too’ smart, and I suggest that’s what we’re seeing here. Labor polling would have made it clear Forde was lost – something had to be done, something drastic – a brilliant idea, Peter Beattie – he’ll not only save Forde, but his popularity will rub off right across the state – mmm, seemingly not!
Given the suddenness of the Beattie announcement it’s reasonable to conclude Beattie’s on-going popularity in QLD was assumed – unlikely any polling was done, such would have given away what was being considered.
Beattie retired 6 years ago and has for the most part been overseas and invisible – he retired under unusual circumstances and left Queenslanders to Anna Bligh, who was ushered from power in one of the biggest landslides in history.
There may have been seats where Beattie would have been more acceptable, even though he wasn’t a local, but Forde doesn’t seem to be one of those – it looks like, “Opportunist blow-in”, as I wrote at the time of the announcement, may have done the trick – it often does. Safe seats have been lost by obvious outsiders – it’s a risky play.
Then there is the matter of LNP candidate and current Local Member, Bert Van Manen. I understand that despite having no profile outside of Forde, he is typically seen as a solid and relatively popular local member.
LNP’s Manen has just worked in opposition for 3 years to one of the most unpopular governments in our Nation’s history – that combined with Labor dumping their local candidate for a high-profile, but questionable outsider, had to have an impact.
In my previous article on Beattie, I wrote, that from a financial viewpoint, Beattie would be better off not winning Forde if Labor failed to win the election. There’s still three weeks to go, but in Forde there is a strong indication Beattie is already done and dusted.
The suggestion Beattie won’t win Forde will have the opposite effect Labor intended, that being Beattie’s popularity spilling over to other QLD seats. The news of a potential crushing defeat for Beattie is very bad PR for Labor. The likelihood it will cost Labor votes elsewhere in QLD cannot be dismissed.