Anna Bligh
Anna Bligh Chris Ison

'Chaos' if polls overlap

ANNA Bligh has been urged to avoid a mid-March date for the state election amid fears it would overwhelm the campaigns of candidates in the local government elections.

Councils will go the polls on March 31 - a date set by the government - but Ms Bligh was yesterday quoted as pointing to March 17 or 24 as a possible date for the state poll.

That would enable her government to run its full term and finalise its health and education reforms.

But it would also put it as little as one week before the council elections - a situation the Premier termed a "slight complication" but local government leaders described as "disastrous".

President of the Local Government Association of Queensland, Paul Bell, said having the two polls close together could see the message of council candidates swamped by the state poll.

"It is going to cause us as electors and us as voters all sorts of conflicts and concerns, the least of which is having to go to the polling booths two weeks in a row or twice in three weeks," he said.

"Will people do it? What would be the attendance level?

"It would be very hard for all candidates, state and local, to get a fair hearing in the media and within the electorate if we've got two election campaigns running simultaneously.

"We would be hoping the government shows some respect for local government and allows reasonable time between the elections.

"Four weeks would probably be the minimum but six weeks would be better."

The Premier has rejected any thoughts of holding both elections on March 31, which Mr Bell said would have created "the election day from hell".

Coast Mayor Bob Abbot won't be contesting the council poll but also predicted "chaos" if the elections were held close together.

"I can't believe they would be considering that," he said.

"The local government elections would just be swamped.

"It would be disastrous ... just madness."

The LNP has been on election footing for some time and Buderim MP Steve Dickson called on the Premier to set a date immediately.

"She can't go in March because of the local government elections - that would not be fair to the people of Queensland," he said.

"The only reason they would delay an election is so they can keep their hands in the pockets of Queenslanders."

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