The ALP has suffered another humiliating defeat at the Queensland polls, this time at Saturday’s local government elections.
Brisbane’s incumbent Liberal National Party (LNP) Lord Mayor Graham Quirk won a convincing victory over Labor opponent Ray Smith, securing 62 percent of the primary vote.
The LNP is expected to hold 18 of council’s 26 wards.
Smith had promised to implement a same-sex relationships register for Brisbane City Council if he was elected, in response to a likely repeal of civil unions by the new LNP state government.
Quirk had been criticised by local activists in March for approving the controversial anti-gay prayer rally — featuring the now infamous ‘hate truck’ — in Brisbane’s King George Square.
He said the win was a historic one given there was now no Labor representation in the Brisbane CBD at federal, state and local government levels.
Queensland will likely see 35 new mayors elected throughout the state in the continued shift away from the ALP since the state election.
SOUTH BRISBANE BY-ELECTION
In somewhat happier news for the ALP, it should hold on to the Queensland state seat of South Brisbane, with Jackie Trad declaring herself the likely winner of Saturday’s by-election to decide who takes over former premier Anna Bligh’s old electorate.
Trad is currently leading LNP opponent Clem Greham 52.85 percent to 47.15 percent on a notional two-candidate result.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland hasn’t confirmed Trad as the winner, but Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the LNP would need to secure an unlikely 75 percent of mostly uncounted postal votes to win.
Greham last week ignored calls from concerned locals, declaring he would support the repeal of Queensland’s civil union laws.
He tried to justify his position on civil unions with the claim he once “lived with two homosexuals” in the United States.
Trad said such a response indicated the LNP’s complete ignorance and disrespect for LGBTI issues.
“The LGBTI community is such an important and valued part of South Brisbane’s history and it’s a great shame my LNP opponent refuses to recognise their rights,” she said.
“Having grown up in South Brisbane, I’m proud of our diversity and, if elected, I pledge to champion progressive issues in state Parliament.”
Trad said she not only supports civil unions, but also fought for changes to the ALP platform in favour of same-sex marriage.
“I support equality before the law for people in same-sex relationships at a state level and will fight [Premier] Campbell Newman’s bid to repeal civil unions legislation, every step of the way,” she said.
“This community needs a local member who will fight for all of its residents as Mr Newman’s massive majority seeks to take rights away.”
Trad has been appointed Opposition spokeswoman for transport, environment and the arts despite the by-election count still continuing.