Rachel Nolan (ALP) hands out how-to-vote cards at Trinity Uniting Church Hall in North Booval on Saturday.
Rachel Nolan (ALP) hands out how-to-vote cards at Trinity Uniting Church Hall in North Booval on Saturday. Claudia Baxter

Rachel swept out of office

RACHEL Nolan is planning to put her feet up before embarking on a new career after being swept out of office by LNP rookie Ian Berry.

Labor has held Ipswich since 1983 and Ms Nolan won the seat in 2001 and held a 16.7% margin going into the election.

Mr Berry said yesterday he needed reassurance - from Rachel Nolan - that he had won the seat.

"It's a truly disastrous result for the Labor Party. The worst defeat in our history," Ms Nolan said.

"I and all of us will have to reflect deeply and genuinely about that. I've known Ian Berry for many years and I wish him well.

"It's been the privilege of my life to represent Ipswich and I want to thank people for the opportunity."

She said she didn't expect the result, but felt it was a possibility. She also refused to change her stance on public asset sales.

"The government quite simply lost people's confidence," she said.

"Asset sales in Ipswich was incredibly difficult. It was when Anna and the government lost people's confidence and never got it back. I think with the financial situation we were in, asset sales was the best option. But people felt they didn't know it was coming so it was about the feeling it was a breach of confidence.

"It was a big ask to be the Transport Minister and have to sell the idea."

She hadn't really thought of the future, but a change of career had been in the back of her mind.

"I honestly don't know what I'll do other than have a rest," she said. "I have been - or was - a member of parliament for 11 years and I started very young.

"So in my own heart I knew I was closer to the end of my career than the beginning. I don't know what it is, but I'm reasonably ready for a change of career."

Mr Berry still wasn't convinced he had won the seat. He shapes as an interesting politician with his apparent naivety and candid wit.

"I still actually feel quite numb," he said. "Everyone was calling it a win last night, but I still wasn't sure. I spoke to Rachel this morning and she conceded. I still wasn't sure what that meant.

"I wish I'd put money on myself. I could have made a lot of money."

He repeated what he said before the election that it wasn't a matter of him winning as much as Labor - and Rachel Nolan - losing.

"I guess I come with some credibility, but there's more than 30,000 people in this electorate and a lot don't know me," he said.

"I'm not a career politician. If I'd had a little less emotion maybe I wouldn't have nominated. I just felt angry Ipswich was getting a bad deal. To be honest, I was hoping more than thinking I'd win." Nevertheless, the solicitor was prepared for a change of career, although not so soon.

"I've done as much as I could in the legal sphere in 37-odd years," he said. "So I was looking for a change of career. Admittedly I only really started thinking it would be politics about seven o'clock last night.

"But I'm looking forward to the challenge. I think my strengths are listening to people and giving support."