Peter Douglas Beattie (born 18 November 1952), Australian politician, was the 36th Premier of the Australian state of Queensland for nine years and leader of the Australian Labor Party in that state for eleven and a half years. His sweeping victories in the 2001, 2004 and 2006 state elections confirmed him as one of the most electorally successful politicians in Australia.
His Premiership lasted from 20 June 1998 to 13 September 2007 when he retired electorally undefeated. In his later years he groomed and was then succeeded by his Deputy Anna Bligh who became the first woman Premier of Queensland.
After Beattie moved to Brisbane, he graduated with a law degree from the University of Queensland (where he was President of the Student Club at St John's College, University of Queensland), earned a Master of Arts degree from Queensland University of Technology, and then entered the legal practise. In 1974 he joined the Labor Party, which had been in opposition for 17 years and had just suffered the worst defeat in its history at the hands of the dominant National Party Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
Beattie became involved in the campaign led by Dr Denis Murphy to reform the Queensland branch of the party, which was dominated by elderly and conservative trade union leaders. In 1981 the federal Labor Party leader, Bill Hayden, led a federal intervention in Queensland, and Beattie became Queensland State Secretary. The result of his reforms was eventual electoral success, with the election of Wayne Goss as Queensland's first Labor Premier since Vince Gair in 1957.
In office, Beattie proved to be a shrewd populist leader. He travelled tirelessly to all parts of the large and diverse state, and despite his Brisbane base made the most of his background in Atherton, winning considerable popularity in regional areas. He was expected to be comfortably re-elected in 2001, but shortly before the election he faced a crisis when an inquiry revealed that a number of MPs and party activists (including the Deputy Premier Jim Elder, a former State Secretary and newly elected MP Mike Kaiser, and a senior adviser to Wayne Goss) had been engaged in breaches of the Electoral Act by falsely enrolling people to boost their faction's strength in internal party ballots. Beattie acted swiftly, forcing the MPs to quit politics and others involved to resign from the ALP. He was rewarded with a crushing victory, winning 66 seats of 89.
Beattie’s key agenda has been to transform Queensland into Australia’s Smart State by restructuring the education system, skilling the workforce and encouraging research and development and high tech biotechnology, information technology and aviation industries to locate in Queensland. In 2003, the Premier was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Queensland "in recognition of his leadership and commitment to higher education through Smart State initiatives and his support for research in the fields of biotechnology and nanotechnology".
A Newspoll in late 2005 showed support for Labor in Queensland down six percentage points to 50 per cent, an all-time low since Beattie became Premier. Following the retirement of the Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr in 2005, Beattie became the longest-serving state Premier among his contemporaries.
In May 2005 Beattie released his autobiography "Making A Difference", in which he described his upbringing, political life and his views on key issues, including health, education and social reform. The book is part memoir, part manifesto. Beattie says that the reason he released the book while he is in office, rather than when he is retired, is because no-one would want to read about him if he was not in the public arena. This is Beattie's third book after his earlier autobiographical piece "In the Arena" (1990) and the thriller "The Year of the Dangerous Ones".
The controversy over the performance of the government-owned electricity supplier Energex during the severe 2003-2004 storm season in South East Queensland resulted in the characterisation of Beattie as "Power Point Pete" by Courier-Mail cartoonist Sean Leahy, with the location of the drawing's eyes and nose designed to replicate the holes of a power point.
In August 2007 Beattie engendered further controversy through reforms of Local Councils in Queensland. Proposals to reduce the number of councils from 154 to 72 further eroded his popularity in regional areas. Public servants were found to have rigged on-line polls and to have called talk back radio programmes in attempts to portray the changes as being more popular than unpopular. Beattie was forced to remove a section of the reform legislation that threatened to fine local councilors who called for plebiscites on the issue.
In the most high and Palmy State of Queensland: Peter Beattie's effort to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians needs support.
Feb 01, 2007; Palm Island, the deceptively paradisal island off Townsville, has been rarely out of the news through the Christmas-New Year and...
Queensland: beautiful one day ... and brimming with promise the next. Habitat gleefully reports on the outstanding environmental pledges made by Queensland's reinstated Premier.(Peter Beattie)
Apr 01, 2004; ONE OF THE MOST significant environmental decisions in Queensland's history--that was how ACF and other environment groups...