Political Chronicles: Queensland January to June 2001
On 23 January, after embarking on a three week “listening tour” around the state’s shopping centres, jumping on public transport and swimming with sharks, the Premier Peter Beattie called an early election for 17 February 2001 – with six months of his first term remaining. The campaign ran for 26 days, the shortest permissible under the Electoral Act. The catalyst for the snap poll was the damage to Beattie’s government caused by the “electoral rorts” scandal involving mainly the powerful Australian Workers’ Union faction. While the initial allegations of electoral fraud had involved pre-selection battles in two Townsville seats, the repercussions were much wider engulfing the entire party and bringing down the Deputy Premier Jim Elder and two backbenchers, Grant Musgrove and Mike Kaiser. However, Beattie’s political opponents were divided and Labor benefitted from a four-way split among the conservative side of politics and some other conservative independents.
Australian Journal of Politics and History