Queensland election: highlights of week one

Further polling snippets, news from the campaign coalface, and a look at where the pork was barrelled during the first week of the campaign.

With a quarter of the Queensland election campaign already been and gone, I have the following horse race news to relate:

• A second tranche of results from the Galaxy poll records Labor favoured as the party to create jobs by 40% to 34%, to build new rail and road infrastructure by 39% to 36%, and cut power prices by 32% to 28% (with uncommitted a notably high 40%). However, these modest leads are put into the shade by the LNP’s 51% to 19% lead on reducing state debt. The poll also found 53% rating it bad for Queensland if One Nation held the balance of power after the election, compared with 36% for good. Results when the question was asked in February were 39% good, 49% bad. I’ll update the poll tracker with Galaxy’s voting intention results later today.

• Ladbrokes, with which this site has an affiliate marketing arrangement, is now offering bets on the 93 electorates individually, rating Labor the favourite in 49 seats, the LNP in 40 and one seat (Redlands) lineball, with the two Katter’s Australian Party members both favoured to win re-election. This is despite Ladbrokes rating the LNP slight favourite as the party to provide the Premier after the election, by $1.83 to $1.95 (contrary to Sportsbet, which has Labor on $1.75 and the LNP on $2). Nowhere is One Nation rated the favourite: Ladbrokes’ shortest odds for the party are in Lockyer ($2.25 to the LNP’s $1.62), Callide ($2.60 to the LNP’s $1.57), Burnett ($3.40 to the LNP’s $1.30), Thuringowa ($3.40 to Labor’s $1.29), Gregory ($3.50 to the LNP’s $1.28), Nanango ($3.50 to the LNP’s $1.20) and Warrego ($3.75 to the LNP’s $1.22). You can find Ladbrokes odds for each electorate advertised on my individual election guide pages.

Soon-to-be-updates to the seat-by-seat election guide:

Cook (Labor 6.8%): Independent member Billy Gordon made life easier for Labor on Tuesday when he announced he would not recontest his seat, endorsing Labor candidate Cynthia Lui.

Rockhampton (Labor 14.0%): Labor’s preselection in Rockhampton, filling a vacancy created by the late retirement of Bill Byrne, has been won by Barry O’Rourke, a public housing regional director. This represented a win for the Labor Unity/Old Guard faction, which has traditionally held the seat, and a defeat for Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor Forum faction, which had backed local mayor Margaret Strelow. O’Rourke reportedly won the local ballot by 43 votes to 32, and also had decisive support from the Left on the party’s electoral college.

Bundaberg (Labor 0.5%): Steven Wardill of the Courier-Mail reports that Labor polling conducted in Bundaberg in late September had Labor on 38.6%, the LNP on 30.1% and One Nation on 23.3%, with the latter allocating their preferences in such a way as to leave Labor member Leanne Donaldson with a 51-49 lead.

South Brisbane (Labor 13.8%): The Courier-Mail reported yesterday that the LNP’s state executive had voted to direct preferences to the Greens ahead of Labor in South Brisbane, although it appears this doesn’t settle the matter. When the Liberals flipped their preference recommendation from Greens to Labor in 2013, an 80/20 split in favour of Adam Bandt at the 2010 election became a 66/34 split in favour of Labor. What would otherwise have been a swing to Bandt of approaching 10% actually converted into a very slight swing away from him. A scenario that involves the Greens winning the seat would likely involve the LNP vote in South Brisbane landing in the mid-twenties, so Labor would need to start 15% clear to survive a distribution of LNP preferences in which 80% went to the Greens. The difference was 19.4% in 2015, but would surely be narrower in a scenario where the Greens overtook the LNP to take second place. Elsewhere, the LNP appears to have been softening the media up for preference recommendations that put One Nation ahead of Labor and the Greens.

Maiwar (LNP 3.0%): Labor candidate Ali King made the news on Wednesday after an ABC journalist who had been door-knocked by her said she had insisted Adani would not go ahead, as it had been determined to be financially unviable.

Macalister (Labor 6.4%): Hetty Johnston, founder of child protection organisation Bravehearts, is running in this seat as an independent. Johnston is a serial candidate whose strongest performance was when she ran in the partly corresponding seat of Springwood in 2001, when she polled 20.9%.

Pork report:

Glass House (LNP 0.9%) and Caloundra (LNP 4.7%): On Wednesday, Tim Nicholls promised to spend $300 million duplicating the Sunshine Coast rail line between from Beerburrum and Landsborough, a project that will ultimately be followed through to Nambour.

Townsville (Labor 5.7%), Mundingburra (Labor 1.8%) and Thuringowa (Labor 6.6%): Tim Nicholls’ focus on Townsville last week encompassed an announcement on Wednesday that $225 million would be spent on water infrastructure projects, and a proposed six month trial of a 10pm curfew in the city on children under 16. Reflecting the sensitivity of unemployment locally, Annastacia Palaszczuk was in town on Tuesday to announce a $155 million extension to an employment program.

Mirani (Labor 3.8%), Whitsunday (LNP 0.6%) and Mackay (Labor 10.2%): Other elements of Tim Nicholls’ accumulated promises on water infrastructure on Wednesday included construction of the Urannah Dam, near Mackay, and Rockwood Weir, 65 kilometres to the south of Rockhampton, at the southern end of the Mirani electorate.

Gaven (LNP 2.8%), Bonney (LNP 2.2%), Theodore (LNP 5.3%) and Coomera (LNP 5.8%): The LNP has promised to spend $250 million on a duplication of the M1 motorway from Nerang to Stapylton.

Keppel (Labor 4.1%), Cairns (Labor 7.5%) and Barron River (Labor 3.6%): Labor was generally outgunned for spending promises by the LNP in the first week, its one big pitch being $134 million for regional tourism infrastructure. This was announced by Annastacia Palaszczuk in Cairns, and included a promised $25 million for rejuvenating Great Keppel Island.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

25 comments on “Queensland election: highlights of week one”

  1. Heard from an ALP member in Innisfail that they were struggling to find any candidate to run in Hill. Not a winnable seat of course but a bit unusual for nobody to want the task.

  2. Long time lurker posting for the first time.

    Gotta say that from Brisbane is seems like ALP is being seriously outcampaigned by LNP and the press is being generally positive to ONP.

    Is feeling like an LNP win to me.

  3. William

    Thanks for the updates. I would love to see an update to the QLD poll tracker when you get the time. (I’m a sucker for graphs)

  4. If the Greens do win a seat or even seats, it will leave only the House of Assembly of South Australia, the Legislative assembly of the Northern Territory and the Legislative Council of Tasmania that have never had a Green elected (with the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia the only other chamber they currently lack representation in).

  5. Tozzer – I have to agree with you (unfortunately from the viewpoint of my personal preferences). The ALP campaign thus far has been atrocious, and the we support Adani but we won support financing them position just make them look totally spineless. It will win no votes in Brisbane and lose heaps in the regions.

  6. My reading of the electorate’s mood, based largely on my own feelpinions, is that people aren’t particularly enthused about Palaszczuk or her government, but don’t like Nicholls much either, and don’t dislike Labor enough yet that they’re ready to give the LNP another chance after Campbell Newman.

    In normal circumstances, I’d predict a very slight Labor victory, but with One Nation and the changed preference rules… who bloody knows. I think a lot will depend on how long the public’s memories are and how successful Labor are at tying Nichols to Newman.

    Adani will probably help the Greens do better than usual, but Queensland’s never been a state the party has really excelled in. I think South Brisbane is still out of their reach, at least this time around.

  7. I live in the South Brisbane electorate and whilst being a right of centre voter traditionally IMO there is no sense at all long-term by allowing Adani to go ahead and I am not a fan at all of the local member who is also the Deputy Premier. My preference will be going to the Greens over the ALP.

    This paywalled article from the Courier-Mail below reports that the greens are reportedly going to run a program called “final sprint” which will fly in volunteers from around Australia to campaign for the last 2 weeks of the campaign.


    I suspect it will be very tight between the LNP and the Greens for 2nd place on the primary vote. If the LNP do preference the Greens then it would be difficult IMO for Labor to retain the seat.

    As a betting person I would be having something on the Greens to win the seat.

  8. I cannot comprehend Palszczuk’s strategy on Adani. She spends two years courting the right wing vote while gambling Green votes will come back to her as preferences. Now she seems to be trying to recover Green votes in a very unconvincing fashion. Has she received bad seat level polling?

    The only winner from this will be PHON. I predict minority government.

  9. Asha

    I am inclined to agree with you re South Brisbane. It is not just about Adani either. Jackie Trad as Minister for Planning has copped quite a bit and although it is really the council to blame, the massive Guanjoisation of the city and suburbs is not popular and Jacqui will cop the blame in part.

  10. Tozzer – thanks for posting. Keep it up – I love hearing about the local “vibe”.
    We have happened to be in many states on holidays during election campaigns (spouse believes this is no accident!). And we had state/territory elections when we lived in Alice Springs, Darwin and Gold Coast – all very memorable experiences for a Melburnian.

  11. I tend to agree with asha leu. I’m certainly not game to pick a winner but whoever wins isn’t going to have a comfortable majority. Unlike the two previous elections, when Newman was on the nose majorally and Anna Bligh’s government had burnt itself out electorally, there appears to be no groundswell of “throw the government out” opinion. Voters aren’t impressed with AP but Nicholls has poor ratings and a smell of ” newman”about him. As asha says, apart from the rusted on LNPers and those who have gone over to PHON, many voters may give AP’s somewhat underperforming mob a second shot.
    For the LNP,one would think the also underperforming Tim Nicholls is on his last shot,as there are certainly LNP MPs who reckon they could lift the Party’s profile. He will be gone if he doesn’t get this one.
    We live in interesting times.

  12. I suspect the ALP has some pretty bad internal polling in South Brisbane yes but I don’t understand why they would cause a change of track though, South Brisbane / McConnel to a lesser extent / their shot at Maiwar have always been dicey propositions while backing Adani They’ve known that since the the last election. Surely they picked this strategy after considering that and deciding the potential sacrifices were worthwhile ? Why would you back out this late and in such a messy manner which gets you little good will and costs you that which you achieved by backing Adani ?

  13. Elaugaufein says:
    Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I suspect the ALP has some pretty bad internal polling in South Brisbane yes but I don’t understand why they would cause a change of track though, South Brisbane / McConnel to a lesser extent / their shot at Maiwar have always been dicey propositions while backing Adani They’ve known that since the the last election. Surely they picked this strategy after considering that and deciding the potential sacrifices were worthwhile ? Why would you back out this late and in such a messy manner which gets you little good will and costs you that which you achieved by backing Adani ?

    Is it even a strategy, though? I got the impression that the Adani decision was more a last-minute attempt to avoid having the campaign bogged down by conflict-of-interest issues surrounding Palaszczuk’s partner than anything to do with appeasing anti-Adani voters.

  14. It doesn’t seem so. The correct response there is to simply recuse herself from input (as was recommended) not a veto (which only makes “sense” in an anti-Adani context).

  15. Some fun tidbits from the candidate nominations:
    – a total of four ex-LNP MPs running for One Nation (including Steve Dickson; the others are Sam Cox, Neil Symes and Michael Pucci);
    – an exceedingly optimistic independent run for Redlands from ex-LNP MP and noted red wine enthusiast Peter Dowling;
    – the fact that the pretty large number of independent candidates already includes quite a large number of ex-One Nation candidates;
    – one of the most unexpected attempted returns to politics I can remember, with a run for Bundaberg from Alan Corbett, pioneer of the upper-house-vote-harvesting game who was a NSW MLC from 1995 to 2003 representing “A Better Future for Our Children”.

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