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Beattie ready to help reshape Labor if asked

Former Queensland Labor premier Peter Beattie has said he is prepared to act as a facilitator in a reform of Queensland Labor, if he were asked to do so.

He also said Labor’s branches needed to be modernised, candidate selection broadened and social media better used, among quick measures to reshape the party.

‘‘There are a number of things we can do in that way; branches need to be modernised, we need to use social media a lot more often,’’ he said, adding that, "branch meetings are as boring as imaginable.

‘‘We have to re-engage with the community.’’

Retired Brisbane councillor David Hinchliffe called Saturday night for an immediate reform of Queensland Labor, with a plan to go to Labor’s state conference in 2012.

He suggested Labor’s ‘‘elder statesman’’ Wayne Goss, Jim Soorley and Mr Beattie act as facilitators for the reform process.

‘‘I understand his view and I understand his frustration,’’ Mr Beattie said.

‘‘What I am prepared to do is that if anywhere along the line that if they need help with some facilitation, then I am happy to do that."

Mr Beattie, a life member of the ALP, declined to comment on Mr Hinchliffe’s call for state secretary Anthony Chisholm to stand down following heavy defeats for the ALP at the state election and the Brisbane City Council election.

‘‘I am not going to get into any of that, sorry,’’ Mr Beattie said.

He said any decision on a reform process had to come from the ALP’s administration committee.

Mr Beattie reviewed Queensland Labor with Labor historian Dennis Murphy after the 1974 election loss and shaped the background for Mr Goss to be recruited to the party.

In 1974, Labor lost two-thirds of its seats, ending up with just 11 seats, recording around 30 per cent of the primary vote.

‘‘So I have already done this once and helped facilitate candidates like Wayne Goss and so on into parliament,’’ Mr Beattie said.

At the state election in 2012, Labor finished with just seven seats.

Mr Beattie acknowledged that the party had well-recognised problems, that its ‘‘brand’’ was ‘‘badly damaged’’, and that recent poll results were ‘‘just appalling.’’

‘‘We have to build from that and if we don’t we will win the next federal election,’’ he said.

He said Labor’s administration committee was the vehicle to start any new review of Labor in Queensland.

‘‘But I think the national executive of the party needs to think about these things as well,’’ he said.

Mr Beattie agreed that review was essential after Labor needed Green’s preferences to win the seat of South Brisbane.

‘‘The fact that one of our safest seats - we’ve won in a by-election - we’ve got to go to preferences. I mean we lost the primary vote," he said.

‘‘I’m a life member. I have been in the Labor Party forever.  I don’t ever remember seeing a result like that.’’

In a reflective mood, he later said that when he first entered state politics, West End was in his electorate of Brisbane Central.

‘‘And I remember we used to get something like 70 per cent of the primary vote at the West End State School,’’ he said.

‘‘So these results are extraordinary - and in many senses, while we lost the lord mayoralty yesterday - in many ways the South Brisbane result was just breathtaking in terms of the brand.’’

Mr Beattie said the position of former Labor MP Craig Thomson - who stood down on the weekend - was hurting Labor throughout the country.

‘‘Part of the reason why we didn’t do well in the Council actually was the last week - and this might sound strange - but it’s true because I was out there with Heather (his wife and Brisbane Central candidate) talking to people - was an enormous resentment for people like Craig Thomson.’’

52 comments so far

  • Good on you David. Use ALP branch members to make yourself rich as a Councillor and never once raise a concern about the party publicly but now you don't need the average people who make up the ALP you feel you can finally start speaking the truth. You should hang your head in shame. Instead of acting like an opposition leader you chose to enrich yourself by accepting a cushy job from your mate Campbell Newman. If you have the solutions to the problems of the ALP's problems then why didn't you stick around and try to do something. Go away and spend your 30 pieces of silver.

    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 5:59AM
    • Absolutely! If David Hinchliffe cared at all about the Labor party, he would have tapped the mat 12 months ago, let someone else be appointed and get 11 months in the job digging themselves in before the election. The ALP would have had a fighting chance of holding it then. But no, another year on a hefty income was more important. No credibility at all. Zip.

      Hinchliffe Hypocrisy Breathtaking
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 8:31AM
  • Has Beattie ever considered that HE may have played a huge part in the demise of Labor?

    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 6:06AM
    • @"Macca52"

      Probably no.

      Hope he joins up with Paul Lucas again and makes the price of electricity cheaper for Queenslanders ... just after he fixes up the hospitals ....... oh and the Health pay system.

      Love this quote from the second biggest egotist in Queensland (Rudd 1st by a country mile) "I am not going to get into any of that ,sorry" .... when asked if Anthony Chisholm should be shown the door ........ where does Beattie intend starting ? .... probably his pay rate.

      Join Bill Ludwig & Paul Lucas in the fishing boat as far away from civilization (without an IPhone) as possible, it's time for a change.

      J. Fraser
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 8:14AM
    • You are right, but Beattie will never acknowledge thiis.

      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 8:20AM
    • Indeed. He had me on the floor with laughter on election night, when he declared: "We need to listen to the people of Qld, we need to parachute Andrew Fraser into South Brisbane". He truly doesn't get it, and so long as he's in charge of the "reshape" the rot will continue.

      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 8:32AM
    • Beattie promised to step out of the public spotlight when he retired but we forgot to find out when he intended to leave.

      Broken promises
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 11:47AM
    • Beattie and Dr Murphy re-organized the Labor Party which eventually lead it to Power in 1989.

      Then Beattie re-created the mess during his term as Premier and handed the poisoned challice to Bligh.

      Does he intend to re-organize the Party again to save it from the Mess of which he is the chief architect ?

      Weird !

      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 1:42PM
    • Yes, what responsibility is Beattie prepared to take for the huge loss ? Look at the mess Queensland is in. The third-rate railway system, the shocking traffic congestion, the wastage on the Airport Link. The failure to start the Redcliffe railway line. Didn't this all happen on his watch ? And Goss; Didn't he close down the railway lines in the 1990's ? If the Labor Party wants to rebuild then they really need to look outside the party for someone wise enough to lay down the foundations for a revival not to the ex-leaders whom in my opinion must take some of the blame for this once great party's pathetic demise !

      Get Real
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 1:57PM
  • Speaking as an ex Labor supporter who had my trust in "brand Labor" systematically abused by leaders like Brian Burke, Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh. :- the last thing anyone should do is take advice from the dark shadows of the past on how to rebuild Queensland politics. Respectfully, Mr Beattie, please go away, do whatever it is you do, without harming anyone, reflect on your past and let good people with a conscience and firm principals set about rebuilding our buggered and perverted political system.

    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 6:34AM

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