Protest vote crushes ALP
IN Labor's heartland, a group of men gathered yesterday at a Park Avenue barber shop, to share their analysis of the state election outcome.
For barber Warren Olsen, whose shop probably hasn't changed much in the two decades that the ALP held power in Queensland, the 15.7% statewide swing against the ALP and the 13% swing in Rockhampton, it was all about a protest vote by voters who normally support Labor, angry at the asset sale and other decisions and actions.
"And the only reason they (Liberal National Party) hadn't won before is because they never had a leader to take them through," he said.
Noel Jenkins said the Traveston Dam, which cost the state millions, was another contributor to Labor's downfall.
As for Anna Bligh's bowing out of politics, Mr Olsen stated "The captain always goes down with the ship".
Another barber shop visitor said Ms Bligh had 'too many clowns'.
Mr Olsen said LNP could never have dreamt they would win by such a margin.
Most of these views were backed by Queensland University of Technology election and voting behaviour expert Professor Clive Bean, who said Rockhampton was and is one of the safest Labor seats in the state.
"It's actually no surprise that they've held on," he said.
Prof Bean said on the other hand, there had been some astonishing results in other areas, including Ipswich which no-one ever expected would be lost.
He said the swing in Rockhampton was in keeping with the rest of the state.
Prof Bean said there was something to the locals' "protest vote" analogy.
"It starts with Labor being in government for the past two decades," he said.
"There does come a time in political cycles where it's very hard for a political party to appear fresh and excite the voters."
Prof Bean said there were some that said Labor defied the odds at the 2009 election.
Then there was the controversial asset sale which caused grief amongst the faithful.
"The joker in the pack was Campbell Newman coming outside of the parliament as the leader of the LNP and giving it focus," Prof Bean said.
He said nobody expected the LNP to lose, but they were shocked at how much the LNP won by.
"My guess, at the next election, they (ALP) will claw back a number of seats, particularly in the heartlands," Prof Bean said.
He said ALP would not regain government in the next two elections, possibly even the next three.
"We are looking at a LNP government for the next decade or more," Prof Bean said.
"The swing and result in this election is probably something we will only see once in a lifetime."
When looking at the individual booth results in Rockhampton, most saw a loss of 20% ALP votes compared to 2009, including Allenstown, Berserker St and Park Avenue.
"That sounds like they are booths that are core Labor heartland booths," Prof Bean said.
"It reflects the notion people who are Labor at heart were fed up because of asset sales, perceived untruthfulness and probably maladministration."