Beattie retires as Queensland Premier

11th September 2007Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie has announced his retirement as the State’s leader, bowing out of Parliament as of Thursday.

Mr Beattie has been the State’s Premier since 1998.

He told a Brisbane Press Conference this afternoon that it was “time for renewal”, strongly endorsing his deputy, Anna Bligh, as the State’s next premier which will be formally decided on Wednesday.

As pressure mounts on Prime Minister, John Howard, to step aside as Liberal leader before the Federal election, Mr Beattie said it was time for new blood in the party and “those parties that renew, survive”.

“I think you get to a stage when you get over it. And I’m over it,” Mr Beattie said.

“My time is good for Queensland.”

Mr Beattie will resign his electorate seat also and said he has not decided what life after politics will hold for him, except to say he won’t be “hanging around making trouble”.

“We will disappear,” Mr Beattie said.

He said he has no interest in Federal politics.

Mr Beattie has been heavily critised for his rural policies for nearly all of his time as Premier, particularly for his restrictive laws on land clearing.

He said Ms Bligh, if voted in as leader, would be “one of the best Premiers this State has ever seen”.

Mr Beattie’s future has been under a cloud following comments the media yesterday from his wife Heather, in which she expressed a desire that her husband not contest the next State election.

Mr Beattie said he made his mind up last week after seeing the first stage of the State’s water grid, a water recycling plant, up and running.

“The real tipping point was the opening of the first stage of the water grid when I knew we had actually got the recycled water,” Mr Beattie said.

He also discussed his retirement at length with Federal Labor Leader Kevin Rudd last night.

SOURCE: Rural Press National News Service, Parliament House Bureau, Canberra.