Queensland’s new Deputy Premier, Andrew Fraser, was sworn in today, just a day after celebrating his 35th birthday.
And there’s change afoot in Canberra too with Prime Minister Julia Gillard announcing major reforms within the Labor Party.
Ben Crock reports.
At the announcement of his promotion Andrew Fraser swiftly moved into election campaign mode.
Andrew Fraser, Deputy Premier: “In the end this is the team we are taking to the election campaign when it’s due in 2012. Today still, the other mob can’t tell you who’s going to be the leader let alone the deputy leader.”
Mr Fraser was elected unanimously this morning by the Labor caucus after his predecessor Paul Lucas, stepped down yesterday.
Mr Lucas denies Opposition claims that he is jumping ship fearing an election slaughter for Labor in March next year.
Paul Lucas, Former Deputy Premier: “We have had seven members retire this term we’ve got fifty one in the caucus. That’s quite a normal turnover of members and it’s important we have turnover, we have renewal.”
The state government is not alone in shaking things up. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is also planning major changes. She wants a US-style election process for the selection of federal candidates.
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “So I’ll move that we increase our local connections to Labor supporters by trialling community pre selections or primaries in some seats.
QUT Political Science professor Clive Bean says the proposed reforms may be difficult to implement, but they would make the party more democratic.
Professor Clive Bean, QUT Social Scientist: “I think there is a good chance that it would work quite well but it would need to be trialled and monitored, and it’s a matter of how it would fit with the culture of the Labor party.”
Both the Prime Minister and the Queensland Premier hope the changes can help the party regain ground on both a state and national level – ground that has been slipping away in recent opinion polls.
Ben Crock, QUT News.