GetUp national director Paul Oosting said the result was «obviously disappointing as it shows fear campaigns have successfully divided us. But our members are telling us today that they’re proud of what they’ve achieved and ready and keen to change things for the better».
Mr Oosting also said the campaign in Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson had been partially successful because the swing to him was weaker than the swing to the Coalition across the rest of Queensland.
Opponents say GetUp’s $4 million election spend was misguided because the organisation targeted individuals and discussed election issues that were out of touch with voters’ interests.
«It was a disastrous campaign. They played the person and Australians are sick of politicians playing the man,» the director of Advance Australia, Gerard Benedet, said.
«They picked the issues that weren’t the most important issues to Australians — Australians were more worried about the cost of a 50 per cent renewable energy target than they were about helping the environment.»
Advance Australia raised $2 million in the six months leading up to the election and targeted many of the same electorates GetUp campaigned in.
One union leader said regional Queenslanders felt alienated by the climate change campaign, and the Stop Adani convoy — a road trip along the east coast, headed by former Greens leader Bob Brown, that aimed to draw attention to the government’s support for the Carmichael Adani coal mine — had been electoral «poison».
The Coalition gained two seats in Queensland on Saturday night amid large statewide swings.
The union leader said Queensland voters felt like «no one gives a shit about us», and Labor had been unable to communicate its message that investment in other energy sources would create more Queensland jobs than the Adani project.
«Labor failed to be able to paint a coherent picture of what they were doing. It took far too long for them to be able to explain it to people, and they didn’t get the message across,» the union source said.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s chief executive, James Pearson, said, «It seems hypocritical to make it harder to actually develop Australian resources projects at the same time as you’re saying we need to be creating more jobs in other parts of the economy».
Advance Australia’s Mr Benedet said the convoy was viewed as elitist.
«The Stop Adani convoy in particular reminded locals about everything that’s wrong with elitist politics. The people decided to get in their petrol-fuelled cars and drive thousands of kilometres to a place in central Queensland to tell them they shouldn’t have a job.»
ACTU secretary Sally McManus remained defiant, tweeting on Sunday, «We will never give up. We will never stop fighting for fairness for working people and a better world.»
Max is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Dana is health and industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.