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  Queensland elects female premier
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ContributorNew Jerusalem 
Last EditedNew Jerusalem  Mar 21, 2009 06:40am
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MediaTV News - British Broadcasting Corporation BBC News
News DateSaturday, March 21, 2009 12:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe Australian state of Queensland has elected the first female premier in the country's history.

Anna Bligh led Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's centre-left Labor government to victory in the state election.

She took over in September 2007 after the mid-term retirement of veteran Labor Premier Peter Beatie.

A swing to the Liberal National Party was not enough for its leader, Lawrence Springborg, and he has conceded defeat and sent her his congratulations.

Ms Bligh faces a tough challenge because of the economic slowdown.

The Labor Party has been in power in Queensland for 11 years, and Ms Bligh argued that at this time of economic uncertainty it made sense to stay with an experienced government.

Queensland is one of Australia's more conservative states, so she did not present herself as a feminist trailblazer, reports the BBC's Nick Bryant.

She stressed her economic stewardship instead.

"The future I see for Queensland is a Queensland that is strong enough to withstand the worst of the global financial crisis, a Queensland where we come out of it stronger, with more jobs," she had said.

It was the first electoral test for the conservative LNP, which was formed when the state National and Liberal parties merged last year.

Another Queensland woman - the far-right politician Pauline Hanson - tried to mount a political comeback.

Ten years ago, at the height of her popularity, her anti-Asian immigration One Nation party won more than a tenth of the seats in the Queensland legislative assembly.

But she is now seen as a has-been and something of a political joke, our correspondent says.
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