PRIME Minister Julia Gillard says Labor is far from finished in Ipswich, despite the mauling given to her state colleagues just three months ago.
The Queensland election resulted in Labor losing badly in the heartland seats of Ipswich and Ipswich West and only just hanging on to Bundamba.
Speaking to The Queensland Times yesterday, Ms Gillard dismissed fears the region's federal Labor MPs could face a similar fate in next year's election.
"As a Labor person it wasn't a very easy night when the Queensland results were going up on the board," she said.
"But it was a state campaign and it turned on state issues.
"We'll fight the 2013 election on federal issues. That campaign will be about jobs, building a strong economy for the future, better schools and better health services."
Recent polls have put the ALP's primary vote as low as 22% in Queensland, but Ms Gillard denied her visit to Ipswich was designed to shore up support for Blair MP Shayne Neumann and his Oxley colleague Bernie Ripoll.
She said it was their constant campaigning for the region that had led her to hold last night's community cabinet meeting at Redbank Plains State High School.
Tackling her centrepiece policy - the carbon tax - head-on, Ms Gillard said such a major reform would inevitably attract controversy, and she still believed public opinion would swing behind the measure.
"The history of big reforms, such as the GST, is that they are unpopular until people experience them, and that lived experience is what they are judged on," she said. "Over the coming months people will judge for themselves and they will also be politically judging whether all the claims the Opposition has made stack up or are a ruthless fear campaign."
Tax cuts brought in to soften the blow of the carbon tax would especially benefit Ipswich's lower-paid workforce, she added.
Addressing the new LNP regime in Queensland, Ms Gillard said she was happy to work with Premier Campbell Newman to further the state's interests.
She said she was unconcerned by Mr Newman's hostility to the carbon tax and mining resources rent tax, but called on him to support the National Insurance Disability Scheme, claiming disabled people in Queensland received less money per head than anywhere else in the nation.