Anna Bligh

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Anna Bligh : biography

14 July 1960 –

However, Newman was not a member of parliament, and a by-election could not be arranged to allow him to get a seat in the chamber. For this reason, Jeff Seeney was elected as interim parliamentary leader of the LNP while Newman led the LNP’s election team and simultaneously contested the Labor-held seat of Ashgrove.Green, Antony. . Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 January 2012. Bligh harshly criticised Newman’s move, saying it was irresponsible for Newman to "cut and run" from his post as Lord Mayor while Queensland was still rebuilding. She also hinted that she might call an election a year before it was due. She had previously promised not to call an election for 2011 in order to focus on recovery, but was concerned that the unorthodox leadership arrangement on the opposition side could make the cooperation necessary for the recovery effort impossible.Barrett, Roseanne; Walker, Jamie. . The Australian, 26 March 2011.

2012 election

On 25 January, Bligh announced an election for 24 March. It was the first time in Queensland history that the voters knew the election date in advance of the parliament being dissolved. Bligh made this decision after learning that the Commission of Inquiry into the 2010–11 Queensland floods would not release its final report until 16 March, rather than the middle of February as originally planned. She wanted Queenslanders to see the report before they went to the polls.

Bligh asked Governor Penny Wensley to dissolve parliament on 19 February, formally beginning the 35-day campaign. She began the race as an underdog; the LNP had regained a substantial lead in polling since Newman took the leadership.

Bligh was dogged throughout the campaign by the perception that she’d misled voters about the asset sales. With Labor sinking in the polls, Bligh conceded in a 13 March interview with the Brisbane Times that in all likelihood, Labor would not be reelected. The final Newspoll of the campaign appeared to confirm this, showing Labor’s support had sunk to only 39.2 percent.http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2012/03/final-newspoll-of-queensland-campaign.html

At the 24 March election, Labor suffered one of the largest electoral wipeouts in Australian history, and the worst defeat that a sitting government in Queensland has ever suffered, double the previous record-holder of the 1989 election. Labor was reduced from 51 seats to seven, suffering a swing of over 15 percent. This was largely because of a near-total meltdown in Brisbane, which had been Labor’s power base for over two decades. The party lost all but three of its seats in the capital, in some cases suffering swings of over 10 percent. Bligh herself suffered a nine percent swing in South Brisbane, and she only overcame her LNP challenger on Green preferences. Ten members of her cabinet were defeated. It was only the sixth time since 1915 that Queenslanders have thrown a sitting government from office in an election.

The next day, Bligh announced she was retiring from politics. She had intended to stay in parliament, but said that the severity of Labor’s defeat made her realise the party could not "develop an effective opposition" with her even as a backbencher. She resigned as Queensland Labor leader and premier that day, and handed her resignation to Wensley the same afternoon, to take effect from 30 March 2012. Bligh had intended that the timing of her resignation would allow a by-election to be held on 28 April 2012, the same day as local government elections. Later reports suggested that she may not be able to resign from Parliament until the writ of election for South Brisbane was returned, meaning that a by-election would be too late to coincide with the Brisbane City Council election. But on 2 April, she was declared the winner, and a writ was subsequently issued for the by-election.