PM applauds Bligh performance
PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has lauded Anna Bligh's achievement in becoming the first female elected premier in Australia as "very gutsy".
Ms Bligh claimed a fifth consecutive term for Labor in the Queensland election on Saturday.
She is the first female premier to be elected in her own right.
"This goes down to a gutsy performance, a very gutsy leader, Anna Bligh," Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told the Nine Network.
"Full marks to her - she was up against a cyclone, an oil slick, a conservative billionaire throwing millions at the Liberals and Nationals' campaign but she came through."
Mr Rudd, who has known Ms Bligh for around 20 years, said it was a great day for Australian women.
NSW Community Services Minister Linda Burney said Ms Bligh was a heroine for women in politics.
Ms Burney said Ms Bligh's election was a great thing for Australian women.
"It's just fantastic to see Anna Bligh elected in her own right," she told Sky News.
Ms Bligh joined other "amazing" women in Australian politics including Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon, Ms Burney said.
"We have wonderful women in parliament and Anna Bligh is just our heroine now."
Labor's victory was also a good thing for the party, she said.
"I think this win in Queensland is an enormous morale booster across the country for Labor."
WA Opposition Leader Eric Ripper said Ms Bligh's election triumph would be celebrated by both men and women all over the country.
Congratulating Ms Bligh for securing Queensland ALP's fifth term in office, the Labor leader called the win an "historic victory".
"This is a truly historic day and one which I'm sure will be celebrated by men and women throughout Australia," Mr Ripper said in a statement.
"Anna Bligh ran a positive campaign and her victory has put paid to the notion that the tide was turning against Labor in the states.
"Queenslanders have once again put their trust in the Labor Party to deliver a better outcome for voters in times of economic uncertainty.
Speaking on behalf of the Victorian government, Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas congratulated Ms Bligh.
"You can't win an election if you stand for nothing and (Lawrence) Springborg (the opposition leader), like (Ted) Baillieu (Victorian liberal leader) and the opposition stand for nothing," Mr Pallas told AAP through a government spokesman.
"Labor has long term plans and the leadership to get us through these tough global times."
Ms Bligh should be proud of the hard work she undertook to win the election, Mr Pallas said.
PREMIER Anna Bligh has thanked Queenslanders for a state election that has delivered Labor a fifth straight win and made Anna Bligh Australia's first elected female premier.
"Queenslanders ... thank you. I feel very honoured and humbled by the strength of your support," she said.
"I'll take us forward with hope, optimism and confidence. Queenslanders you can count on me."
Liberal National Party leader Lawrence Springborg conceded defeat only minutes earlier, announcing he will be stepping down.
Mr Springborg said he had phoned and congratulated Premier Bligh and wished her well with the challenges ahead.
"Premier Bligh ran a very significant and formidable campaign and proved herself as being an extremely capable political opponent who deserves full credit for the significance of her win tonight," he said.
The LNP Leader paid tribute to LNP candidates and campaign staff.
Mr Spingborg said he would be considering his future over the next few days.
In results so far:
- Mike Horan has risen to an easy victory in Toowoomba South.
- In Bundaberg Jack Dempsey will be returned as local member.
- Gladstone Independent Liz Cunningham increased her majority and will be back in parliament.
- In Lockyer Ian Rickuss takes a third term.
- In Burleigh Christine Smith has retained the seat for the Labor party.
- Mudgeeraba has gone to the LNP's Ros Bates.
- The seat of Hervey Bay has gone to the LNP's Ted Sorensen.
- Burnett's Rob Messenger elected for a third term.
- Mark McArdle wins Caloundra.
- Michael Crandon was elected in Coomera.
- Andrew Powell wins Glass House for the LNP.
- David Gibson wins Gympie comfortably.
- Rachel Nolan is Member for Ipswich.
- Wayne Wendt elected to second term in Ipswich West.
- Jarrod Bleijie wins Kawana.
- Tim Mulherin easily returned in Mackay.
- Fiona Simpson wins in Maroochydore.
- Chris Foley retains seat in Maryborough.
- Glen Elmes wins Noosa with a swing of 4.1% to the LNP.
- Robert Schwarten keeps safe seat of Rockhampton.
- Lawrence Springborg retains Southern Downs.
- Peter Lawlor wins Southport.
- John-Paul Langbroek back in parliament for Surfers Paradise.
- Kerry Shine wins Toowoomba North despite swing against him.
- Howard Hobbs takes Warrego.
- Jan Jarratt holds on to Whitsunday.
The election was called six months early after Ms Bligh said the state needed stability and certainty to see Queensland through the economic downturn.
Labor promised to create 100,000 jobs over the next term, and urged a vote against the LNP over its plan to cut $1 billion from the public service annually.
The LNP accused Labor of wasting money during the mining boom and sending the state into $74 billion in debt, without a plan to put the budget back in surplus.
It was Mr Springborg's third tilt at the premiership, having failed to unseat Peter Beattie - now the state's trade commissioner to the Americas - in 2004 and 2006.
www.ecq.qld.gov.au (March 21, 9.50pm)
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