BURIED: LNP candidate Ian Berry on election day before losing office.
BURIED: LNP candidate Ian Berry on election day before losing office. Kate Czerny

Newman put final nail in Berry coffin and gave Labor a gift

MONDAY, January 19 will go down as a day of infamy in LNP history.

It was the day former Premier Campbell Newman came to Ipswich and told The Queensland Times his government would not provide $1.5 million in funding for the Briggs Rd criterium cycling track unless the Ipswich electorate voted for LNP MP Ian Berry, even if the government was returned.

That statement was the final nail in Mr Berry's political coffin, and a substantial nail in Mr Newman's coffin as well.

The subsequent story in the following day's QT gained statewide and national traction.

Many QT readers responded on our website by calling Mr Newman's tactic "blackmail", as did Renae Cooper after she voted Labor in Raceview on Saturday.

Mr Newman's "promise" backfired and stalled Mr Berry's campaign.

That said, new Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard would have won the seat for Labor without the shenanigans mentioned above.

During the campaign she outlined clearly that Labor would not sell or lease assets long term.

She drove home Labor's key message about its plan to improve education and health systems and get Ipswich's many unemployed residents back to work through tailored job creation programs.

Ms Howard is no Labor apparatchik.

She has a history of community engagement locally and she has run a small business and understands the needs of that sector.

Mr Berry was in many ways an accidental politician.

When he defeated Rachel Nolan in 2012 he was surprised.

As he has said since, it was the election Labor lost locally rather than the one he won.

In office he did follow through on his promises on law and order.

He said he had brought 46 new police to the Ipswich district, a significant number.

Mr Berry's message, which he reiterated at the QT candidates forum, was that "businesses create jobs, not the government".

This was clearly not the message the Ipswich public wanted to hear.

Many of them believe government has to play a larger role in creating the environment for the economy to thrive.

Thousands of public servants have lost their jobs.

That was a government decision, and the Ipswich public blames Mr Newman for it.

Just ask them.

Mr Berry made a sworn enemy of the powerful Electrical Trades Union, a dire development in Ipswich where there are many electricity workers.

The ETU's state secretary Peter Simpson, aided and abetted by union organiser Stuart Traill and his merry men, gave Mr Berry hell over asset sales and the job losses at Swanbank power station. Their role in his demise has been significant.

Ipswich has returned to Labor. No surprises there.

It is over to you Ms Howard. Ipswich needs you to do the seat proud.



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