By Bill Mason
BRISBANE — Queensland Labor Premier Wayne Goss is running scared in the state election announced for July 15. He said in launching the poll on June 20, with a minimum 26-day campaign period, that "people are going around and saying that while the government is not going to change, 'I will shake them up'.
"The problem will be that if one in 20 people do that in 10 electorates then [opposition leader Rob] Borbidge will be premier and we will have a National Party-led coalition government.
"We do face the risk of suffering a by-election [type] swing."
Goss is right to be worried. As Democratic Socialist candidate for the seat of Brisbane Central Zanny Begg said on June 21, "The Goss government faces serious popular discontent.
"People are extremely disappointed with the record of the Labor government. After two terms in office, with massive expectations for change after the Bjelke-Petersen regime, the Goss government has completely failed to seize the chance to bring about real progressive change.
"We now face a choice between two styles of 'economic rationalism', Labor or Coalition.
"Either way we get a big business government, which cuts the public sector, gives tax assistance to big companies, allows developers to run rampant through our urban and rural environment, refuses land rights to Aborigines, keeps abortion illegal and jails more and more young people in the name of fighting crime."
Other alternative parties are also contesting a wide spread of electorates. HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) is running in several seats in inner Brisbane. The Greens have endorsed 22 candidates around the state, with several more expected.
Alternative candidates are likely to win significant votes in the election, in the face of deep public disillusionment with the major parties.