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History’s lesson for Queensland: a slim majority is enough to be bold

In The Conversation (24.2.15) Chris Salisbury draws parallels between the Beattie government and that of Annastacia Palaszczuk, and argues that history suggests that Palaszczuk can afford to be bold.

‘Wellington’s position in the current political standings provides the clearest link to – and lessons from – that 1998 election result. Beattie was only able to clinch Wellington’s support for a minority Labor government by agreeing to certain principles of accountable administration and responsible fiscal management. The agreement also required Beattie to lead a more collaborative and “engaged” government, attentive to the sentiments of the electorate. This prompted him to introduce a regular schedule of community cabinet meetings (expanding on a program used intermittently by his predecessors, and maintained since), which proved popular in regional locations.

‘Importantly, these arrangements provided Beattie not only with the necessary stability to command a majority on the floor of parliament, but the absence of any policy wish list imposed by Wellington allowed Beattie enough latitude to implement his new government’s agenda – including the beginnings of his signature Smart State strategy – and not sit in office as a lame duck administration.’

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