I don’t like to use the term “hegemony” because my hope is that under Anna Bligh, the first woman elected as a Premier in Australia from a supposedly conservative state, we’ll finally collectively wake up to the fact that the Smart State is at the forefront of a diverse and exciting country that’s in the process of emerging. And living with heterogeneity is a much better prospect than assimilation into the hivemind of The Borg. I’m still thinking that whoever came up with the bright idea of applying that moniker to Lawrence perhaps wasn’t that big a Trekkie.
He also points out:
after a campaign characterised by apathy and a disposition to vote against an eleven year old government, voters only really focused on the choice incredibly late in the game. There’s tons of evidence around that beneath the repetitive drumbeat of the polls there was a lot of volatility, as I’ve been arguing over the last few days.
The campaign was also taken out of the hands of the apparatchiks who were steering the ship of state towards the shoals, and the whole weight of the federal ALP was placed behind the state effort - not just the rhetorical intervention of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, but also organisationally, driven by Wayne Swan’s personal intervention, backed by the PM. The Bligh 30 seat marathon signalled the turn to the realisation that the way to win was to “Let Anna Be Anna!”…
In the final analysis, Lawrence Springborg sunk his own ship, and Anna Bligh, having finally escaped the cold dead hand of the ALP apparat, won the thing on the basis of her own personal qualities. Her victory as the first elected female Premier in Australia is thoroughly well deserved, and she will enjoy a much enhanced authority in the party and over the government.
It’s Bligh’s victory. And she now has the chance to stake out a new direction for Labor and Queensland.
I did a rough astrology chart for Anna yesterday and realised from the transits happening that if she did lose it would probably be the best thing in her life personally but, of course, on the other hand it inidicated that she could win and very much by taking up the challenges and running with them. She did in the last week of the campaign and she'll continue to do so in the coming weeks, months and years. Her victory brings to an end the lingering shadow of the Joh years (and the younger John Boy Bj-P) failed yet again to pick up the seat based on his father's old territory.
As Anna pointed out last night - she is the first female Premier to be elected to government in her own right putting paid to the old image of Queensland as a hotbed of reaction and conservatism that both she and I grew up with. This achievement actually stands in continuity with older progressive traditions of the Qld ALP. Back in the 1920s, the State Labor gov't carried out a dazzling range of reforms including abolishing the death penalty, establishing free hospitals, even a ndetwork of state owned butcher shops!
I hope Anna picks up on those progressive trajectories to give her government an unashamedly reformist and inclusive stance as opposed to the rather bland, even conservative, managerialism of the past decade.
Interesting too that in the comments on Mark's piece that someone noted:
During the campaign I asked how much the polls had taken the women’s vote into account. I had noticed in Cleveland she was more liked by women than men.
The other night my 80 something year old mother complained of how much she hated all the election stuff on TV but then went on to say that she thought Anna deserved a go. She then went on to say how much she liked that 'Julia... Julia... is it Julia Goddard?' "Gillard, Mum' I answered to which she then went on to praise Gillard's plain speaking and obvious capability as a Minister and Deputy PM. I hope that's a positive omen for the future in a couple of terms or so.