Early poll an op­tion due to Op­po­si­tion dis­ar­ray says Bligh

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

Anna Bligh ANNA Bligh thinks Queens­lan­ders would want an early elec­tion if the Op­po­si­tion’s new l ead­er­ship ar­range­ments were de­tract­ing from the state’s disas­ter re­cov­ery.

The Lib­eral Na­tional Party plans to in­stall Bris­bane Lord Mayor Camp­bell New­man as leader at the next elec­tion, as long as he can be pre­s­e­lected in and win the seat of Ash­grove.

Ms Bligh said if the ‘‘ un­seemly’’ elec­tion­eer­ing got in the way of the state’s re­cov- ery from floods and cy­clone, she might call an early poll.

‘‘ If the City Hall here is go­ing to be used as an elec­tion plat­form by a can­di­date who is elec­tion­eer­ing in­stead of help­ing peo­ple, that might just be­come dys­func­tional,’’ she said.

Ms Bligh said she would ‘‘ watch and see’’ whether the Bris­bane City Coun­cil and s t a t e o p p o s i t i o n d i s i nt e - grated. ‘‘ I think that’s what peo­ple would ex­pect of me,’’ she said.

‘‘ I want peo­ple to be looked af­ter, peo­ple back in their homes, and the re­build­ing of Queens­land to go on with­out in­ter­rup­tion.’’

The gov­ern­ment ar­gues the LNP should not be elec­tion­eer­ing in what it had coined the year of re­build­ing, ahead of an elec­tion that isn’t due for an­other 12 months.

Ms Bligh said many disas­ter vic­tims were still wait­ing to hear from their in­surance com­pa­nies, and she un­der­stood their frus­tra­tion.

The premier is to chair a meet­ing of the disas­ter re­cov­ery cabi­net com­mit­tee on Fri­day.

M e a n w h i l e , T r e a s u r e r Andrew Fraser said the gove r n m e n t w a s ‘ ‘ p r e t t y re­laxed’’ about tak­ing on Mr New­man in the elec­tion.

E n v i r o n me n t Mi n i s t e r K a t e J o n e s , As h g r o v e ’ s in­cum­bent mem­ber, would be tough to beat.

‘‘ I think Mr New­man hasn’t picked his mark well in Kate Jones,’’ he said yes­ter­day.

‘‘ She is mem­ber.’’

He s a i d o t her p o p ul a r may­ors had failed to make the switch to state or fed­eral pol­i­tics, like for­mer Bris­bane mayor Clem Jones and T o wnsv i l l e mayor T o n y Mooney. Deputy op­po­si­tion leader Tim Ni­cholls said the LNP needed to snatch many La­bor-held seats, like Ash­grove, to win gov­ern­ment and Mr New­man had shown guts by de­cid­ing to con­test the seat.

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