Beattie borders on silence

QUEENSLAND ELECTION:

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie has held an emotional news conference to say he has no comment to make on any issue linked to the state election this Saturday.

A tearful Mr Beatie told reporters he would keep the promise he made when retiring from politics 13 years ago that he would not become a political commentator and would maintain a dignified silence on all matters related to politics.

After checking that all news TV cameras were rolling and that all microphones clipped to the lectern permanently set up in his front yard were working to catch his words, Mr Beattie explained to reporters that he would be brief.

But before he could begin he was interrupted by a call to his mobile phone which – as reporters could overhear through the lectern microphones – was an official from the state LNP thanking him for his work.

After ending the brief call, Mr Beattie wiped tears from his cheeks and began: “I called this news conference to repeat that when it comes to the current state election I have no comment to make on any issue.”

As he paused, reporters began closing their notebooks and switching off their voice recorders, while camera operators turned off their lights and began to unclip their lectern microphones.

Mr Beattie then called for their attention before continuing to say he had no comment to make on issues such as the closure by the Queensland Government of the state’s border with NSW.

As TV lights were switched back on and reporters resumed their seats, he went on to make what he described as qualifying remarks to support his decision to adopt a “no comment” position on politics.

In his qualifying remarks, which lasted 15 minutes, Mr Beattie criticised the border closures imposed by “only two-term-winning” Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and to laud the approach taken by her NSW Liberal Party counterpart, Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Mr Beattie denied his remarks would hurt Labor’s prospects at Saturday’s poll.

He ended his comments by repeating that he would keep his post-premiership promise not to play the role of a political commentator.

Mr Beattie then excused himself, saying he had to leave to rehearse his role as a political commentator on Network Seven’s election- night coverage this Saturday.

“I’m very lucky to have been offered the role on Seven’s coverage because of my ongoing commitments as a political commentator on Sky News,” Mr Beattie said while checking his diary to offer reporters a range of possible dates for his next news conference at which he promised to again make no comment on political matters.