Beattie's dilemma

Queensland Premier Beattie faces a unique political dilemma. He says he will expel any member of his party if they've lied to him about their involvement in electoral fraud. But if he carries out this pledge, it may cause the downfall of his government.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
LATELINE

Late night news & current affairs

TV PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT
LOCATION: abc.net.au > Lateline > Archives
URL: http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/s216613.htm

Broadcast: 24/11/00
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Compere: Tony Jones
Reporter: Lisa Millar

TONY JONES: Queensland Premier Beattie faces a unique political dilemma.
He says he will expel any member of his party if they've lied to him about their involvement in electoral fraud.

But if he carries out this pledge, it may cause the downfall of his government.

Already, his Deputy Premier has quit and question marks hang over three other State MPs.

And today, two Federal MPs have also been named as rorters.

Lisa Millar has more.

LISA MILLAR: After a day in crisis talks with his ministers and legal advisers, Peter Beattie emerged an unhappy man.

PETER BEATTIE, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: The situation is worse than I thought, compared to how I perceived things when I went overseas.

LISA MILLAR: Since he left on Sunday, the Queensland Premier has lost his deputy and had three State MPs named at the inquiry into electoral fraud.

One of them, former state secretary Mike Kaiser, has been accused of bragging of having a dozen people falsely enrolled in his home -- allegations he's denied.

And this week, two Federal MPs were accused of fraud -- their names remain secret.

PETER BEATTIE: We will fix this, we will get it right and we will get rid of those people out of the Labor Party, those tiny percentage of people who've broken the law.

LISA MILLAR: And Peter Beattie is prepared to pay the highest price.

He knows trying to purge the party of rorters could cost him government.

He'll meet party members when the inquiry's public hearings end, probably next week, and he'll tell them if they're not going to meet what he calls "high standards", they'll be expelled.

PETER BEATTIE: There will be no-one near me who has broken the law.

LISA MILLAR: And that's the lifeline Peter Beattie is hoping will save his government from destruction, if he can convince voters he's taken decisive action.

He must go to the polls by mid-next year, but most observers are predicting it will be much sooner than that.

PETER BOTSMAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: It's almost an impossible situation for him, because I think the longer this goes, the more the Government is going to be torn apart.

ROB BORBIDGE, QLD OPPOSITION LEADER: I think there are now very serious questions as to how long this Government is going to last.

I mean, they could be gone by Christmas.

LISA MILLAR: Peter Beattie is banking on surviving at least into the new year.

Lisa Millar, Lateline.



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The internet source is http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/s216613.htm

Queensland inquiry into preventing Electoral Fraud, noted and copied as legalreview.pdf off WWW http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Comdocs/LegalRev/LCAR028.pdf on 12 Aug 01
SMH tried to explain away the rorts, even though it had a tiny number of NSW facts to go on, on November 11 2000, in long article "Vote early, vote often" at: http://www.smh.com.au/news/0011/11/review/review7.html
TO VOTE ON LINE as to whether a Royal Commision ought to be held on Elec Fraud, click PUBLIC DEBATE at http://www.publicdebate.com.au/is/681/
An HISTORICAL BACKGROUND of how Parliaments gave up their power to determine electoral fraud claims, a paper by Dr Amy McGrath to the Eighth Conference of The Samuel Griffith Society, University House, Canberra, ACT, 7 - 9 March, 1997, is at http://www.samuelgriffith.org.au/vol8/mcgrath.htm

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