25 Mar 2012

Bligh quits Queensland parliament after Labor ousted

10:05 pm on 25 March 2012

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh is quitting politics after leading her party to a crushing electoral defeat in the state elections.

"I will be standing aside as the leader of the Labor Party and further I will be resigning as the member for South Brisbane," she said.

The Australian Labor Party's (ALP) 14-year-reign in Queensland is over after a massive swing of almost 16% to the Liberal National Party (NLP) which is likely to pick up 78 seats in the Queensland parliament, with Labor only expected to retain seven.

Ms Bligh said the loss was a "devastating defeat" for the ALP, and she felt the party could not look to rebuild with her in the parliament.

"This is much more than a loss for Labor - it is without doubt a devastating defeat. The task for Labor is not to be consumed by that heartbreak," she said.

Ms Bligh says her resignation will be effective Friday.

The ABC reports that during the campaign Ms Bligh had said she would stay as the member for South Brisbane no matter the final result, but she now says the scale of the defeat meant she did not feel she could continue in parliament.

Premier elect Campbell Newman says voters have spoken decisively and emphatically for a strong government.

In his victory speech he pledged to make the state "a can-do place once more."

Mr Newman is being sworn in as Premier on Monday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has congratulated Mr Newman on his victory but also paid tribute to Ms Bligh, noting her leadership during Queensland's natural disasters last year.

Conceding defeat, Ms Bligh said her party had transformed the state, building the foundations of a modern and progressive Queensland.

She admitted her decision to sell some of the state's assets was a damaging blow for Labor.

The newly founded Australian Party is expected to have two seats, and there are likely to be two independents in the 89-seat state parliament.