Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Peter Beattie would be a good federal minister: Milton Dick - Brisbane Times

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Beattie wants to be 'PM Pete'

Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie will challenge for the federal seat of Forde in a "huge boost" for Labor but he is a "political animal" and "wants the top job one day".

Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie would be a very good choice as a minister in a future Rudd Government, according to former ALP state secretary Milton Dick.

Mr Beattie is poised to be named as Labor's candidate in the marginal seat of Forde – held by the LNP's Bert Van Manen by a 1.6 per cent margin – in the September 7 election.

"I certainly would want to see Peter Beattie if he was successful in the seat of Forde take a prominent role in the federal government, or indeed the federal Opposition, if the government wasn't successful," Mr Dick said.

ALP state secretary Milton Dick.

ALP state secretary Milton Dick. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

"He has a a unique perspective on Queensland.


"I think it would be a huge boost for any government to have a prime minister from Queensland - and then someone with depth of understanding of Queensland that Peter Beattie has."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd notably did not include any Queenslanders in his cabinet after he defeated Julia Gillard.

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie.

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie. Photo: Glenn Hunt

The Coalition on Thursday morning released a potted history of Mr Beattie's career as Queensland premier, including the Shepherdsen Inquiry into electoral roll fraud and the troubled $7 billion south east Queensland water grid, which has largely sat unused since Queensland's drought was followed by two floods.

Mr Dick was the ALP state secretary from 2004 to 2008, during much of Mr Beattie's time as premier.

He was also Labor's Queensland campaign director during the 2007 federal campaign and ran the 2006 state election for Labor when Mr Beattie defeated Lawrence Springborg.

He said Peter Beattie's greatest strength was his ability to connect with voters.

"In the modern age of digital, fast-tech, fast-paced communications, that one-on-one stuff that he is renowned for - meeting people, listening to their concerns and making things happen - is very important."

He said the talk of tension between Mr Beattie and Mr Rudd was exaggerated, although the Coalition on Thursday released a string of quotes from Mr Beattie criticising Mr Rudd.

Dumped ALP Forde candidate Des Hardman, with Kevin Rudd.

Dumped ALP Forde candidate Des Hardman, with Kevin Rudd. Photo: @Des_Hardman/Twitter

In one column, on October 17, in his column in The Australian newspaper, Mr Beattie, said Mr Rudd would have a short honeymoon if he returned as prime minister.

"If you did make a return to the prime ministership by removing Julia it would be akin to Napoleon's 100 glory days after his return from exile, when he was defeated at Waterloo by Wellington."

However, Mr Dick said the pair got on well.

"From my understanding, I think they get along very well," Mr Dick said.

He said they had more in common than people realised.

"They are about the same vintage, they both grew up in regional Queensland – under tough circumstances to be fair – and they both fought to get where they were."

Mr Beattie was born in Sydney, but grew up in Atherton, while Mr Rudd was born in Nambour and grew up in Eumndi.

"But they are both driven people who want the best for Queensland and that is the parallel I have always seen between them," Mr Dick said.
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