Goss survives, but government in limbo

Issue 

By Bill Mason BRISBANE — Wayne Goss was unanimously re-elected leader of the Queensland ALP on February 8, but his government is on the verge of oblivion. Even while describing his re-election as "a great honour", Goss is set merely to keep the seat warm while leading his party into opposition. Pundits here expect the decision is merely designed to delay serious consideration of the leadership question until after the federal election on March 2. State parliament is to meet again on March 5, by which time the die will be caste for a new government. Gladstone independent Liz Cunningham is to announce which party she will support on February 12. Labor's loss of the Mundingburra by-election on February 3 has left the Queensland parliament tied at 44 seats for the ALP and the Coalition, with Cunningham's vote now decisive. Her conservative views make it likely she will support National Party leader Rob Borbidge and permit the Coalition to regain power after six years in opposition. A period of unstable government seems likely, with the prospect of another state general election on the horizon. Rumblings have already begun inside the state ALP, with the Socialist Left faction preparing to push for changes at the top after the federal election is out of the way. "The Queensland ALP have no-one to blame but themselves for this fiasco", Coral Wynter, Democratic Socialist candidate for the seat of Griffith in the federal election, said on February 10. "Now the people of this state are faced with the disaster of another National government of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen ilk. "The Queensland people are the ones who will suffer because the Labor Party became so alienated from working people that the government completely lost their support. "Labor became so bound up in deals with big business, it cut itself off from the electorate. "Queenslanders will have to prepare for a rampant conservative regime trying to turn back the clock on any worthwhile reforms. "We will need to get organised and united very quickly to confront Borbidge and Sheldon's plans to attack our social gains and our union rights", Wynter concluded.