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Feb 22, 2012

Labor’s candidate problem.

Cartoon: By Leahy.

Throughout the last few decades Labor, despite having its ups and downs has generally been able to present reasonable candidates who have been respected in their local communities, even in ‘safe’ Liberal or National Party seats. Even in the 1974 Queensland election, where the party was on a disaster to nothing, the quality of candidates did not decline.

In that election the party was smashed to the point where they were left with a ‘cricket team’ of eleven members and faced a desolate future. Despite this setback they were able to muster a full field of candidates in 1977 and win back some of their losses, but were still well short of anything short of a rump in parliament. It would take another eleven years of effort to attain government.

The problem Labor faces now is, that party members are so demoralized over the machinations of the state and federal governments, that many branches are unable to come up with any credible local people who are prepared to nominate. In this election they have been reduced to recruiting university students and kids to stand in some seats. Locals have given up hope even in seats they lost narrowly last time.

Queensland Labor's candidates controversy has deepened, with the party telling voters there's nothing wrong with offering up uni students who don't live in their chosen electorates.

Brisbane student Jack O'Brien, 20, is contesting the rural conservative stronghold of Gregory and confessed on Wednesday he has never been to the electorate, and won't have time to before polling day. Brisbane-based Rachel Patterson, 19, is studying, works in a fast-food outlet and is also the ALP's candidate for Mermaid Waters. Ben Parker, 18, a union official, lives on the Gold Coast and is running for the seat of Gympie. …

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said the LNP's candidates all had strong links and connections with their local communities, while Labor was treating voters with contempt. "The last-minute decision to parachute university students from Brisbane into seats 1000 kilometres away shows just how city-centric they are," he told AAP. …
"Ms Bligh tried on Wednesday to announce another education policy, the third in three days."
Perhaps this goes part of the way to explaining the disillusionment in the ranks.

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