In a piece perhaps designed to attract impassioned responses, TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate John Harrison comments in the Brisbane Times (12.12.16) on which premier, in his estimation, has been Queensland’s best over the last one hundred years.
‘The sentiment that Lawrence Springborg was the best premier Queensland never had prompts the question: Who has been our best premier in the past century?
‘The ALP held government from 1915 to 1957, with the exception of a three-year interregnum in the Great Depression. That half century, saw such Labor luminaries as T.J. Ryan, and Red Ted Theodore lead the party, as well as William Forgan Smith, the canny Glaswegian from Mackay who was premier from 1932 to 1938 [sic].
‘… As premier, Goss had to re-invent the polity of Queensland, which had effectively disintegrated under Bjelke-Petersen. Beattie benefitted from this, but his great achievement, still unrecognised by many, was his Smart State policy. He recognised that rocks and crops were an insufficient basis for the future of Queensland.
‘This policy has been, and will continue to be, transformative. The current government’s Advance Queensland policy is Smart State 2.0. This is why Beattie wins my vote as Queensland’s best premier in the past century.’