Blame game begins after ALP poll ‘disaster’

Blame game begins after ALP poll ‘disaster’

ABCUpdated April 29, 2012, 6:23 am

The blame game has begun in the Labor Party after a poor showing in the Brisbane City Council elections, a month after the ALP’s drubbing in the state poll.

The Liberal National Party’s (LNP) Graham Quirk will be returned as Brisbane’s Lord Mayor after a convincing win over Labor candidate Ray Smith.

Mr Quirk secured 62 per cent of the primary vote – a better result than his predecessor Campbell Newman.

Labor’s Ray Smith managed only 25 per cent of the vote.

The LNP also won three more Brisbane wards to control at least 18 of the city’s 26 council areas.

The news was better for Labor in the state by-election for the South Brisbane seat vacated by former premier Anna Bligh.

The ALP suffered a swing against it but its candidate Jackie Trad was still ahead on preferences this morning.

With counting still underway, Ms Trad had nearly 53 per cent of the vote on a two-party preferred basis, compared to the LNP’s Clem Grehan on just over 47 per cent.

If Ms Trad wins the seat, Labor will still only have seven seats in the 89-seat parliament.

Retired Labor councillor David Hinchliffe says the outlook for the party is bleak.

Mr Hinchliffe has called for the resignation of ALP state secretary Anthony Chisholm and is urging several administrative committee members, including Bill Ludwig, to quit.

“This is a monumental disaster heaped upon a wipeout,” he said.

“Without them falling on their sword, party members will not be satisfied.”

Mr Hinchliffe says Labor needs to call an immediate state conference to start the painful process of reform.

“The hard business of party reform, of radical surgery, begins first thing on Sunday morning,” he said.

Councillor Quirk says it is the first time in history that the Brisbane CBD will be represented by non-Labor members in local, state and federal governments.

The only blemish on Councillor Quirk’s score card is a strong win for independent Nicole Johnston in the ward of Tennyson.

The Northgate Ward remains too close to call.

There has also been broad-scale change across the regions, with new faces replacing retiring mayors, while some sitting mayors have been dumped.

Rockhampton sitting mayor Brad Carter has lost his job to candidate Margaret Strelow.

Bob Manning has won in Cairns and Jenny Hill is leading in Townsville.

To the west, former mayor and state Labor MP Tony McGrady has won in Mt Isa.

In Toowoomba, sitting mayor Peter Taylor has been dumped in favour of Councillor Paul Antonio.

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