February 01, 2015
Labour swing puts indigenous voice in Queensland
An election upset that has put two indigenous MPs into the Queensland parliament has been hailed as a pleasant surprise by a New Zealand politician with close ties to the banana state.
Former Labour MP Dover Samuels was in Queensland for Saturday’s election when Labor turned around its 2012 wipe-out.
It’s now in the box seat to form a minority government.
Leeanne Enoch claimed the Brisbane seat of Algester, making her the state’s first indigenous woman MP, while former sugarcane cutter Billy Gordon took the huge far north seat of Cook.
Mr Samuels says Labor’s opposition to the sale of state assets resonated with voters.
But he says the Labor candidates and voters he spoke to on election day were hoping for a hung parliament at best.
"The Labour Party will be really over the moon about the results and I just hope they will be able to deliver some of the promises they have made to the electorate and once again one of the things that is highlighted is they have to take middle Queenslanders with them. They haven't got all this social engineering, they haven't got the extremes on the periphery guiding their policies and they have recognised that and it has paid off," Mr Samuels says.
He says because of the large number of Maori and other New Zealanders in the state, pressure will come on the new government to do something about the way they are denied access to the same welfare and employment rights that Australians enjoy on this side of the Tasman.
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