Queensland election endgame

The result, barring big surprises at the eleventh hour: Labor 48, LNP 39, Katter’s Australian Party three, One Nation, Greens and independents one apiece.

The ECQ now has “two candidate results after distribution of preferences” for 77 out of 93 seats, with the only theoretically doubtful ones outstanding being Thuringowa and Mundingburra, where the chance of One Nation victories is being used by Tim Nicholls to justify not conceding defeat. Failing that, Labor will emerge from the election with 48 seats out 94, which is exactly what they notionally went in with, based on 2015 election results adjusted for new boundaries in a parliament enlarged from 89 seats, and ignoring seats lost through carelessness and misfortune. However, it has got there in a roundabout way, compensating for losses in the regions with wins in the city.

Partly this was a correction after 2015, when Labor performed strongly in the regions to pick up historically tricky seats like Maryborough and Bundaberg, while falling short in bellwether city seats. It’s also to do with changing preference flows, for which the government’s decision to reintroduce compulsory preferential voting played a substantial part. In regional seats where Labor-versus-LNP data is available for comparison, the LNP received 53% of all minor party preferences this time, compared with 2015 results of 41% for Labor and 17% for the LNP, with 42% exhausting. This was certainly enough to cost Labor victory in Burdekin, and perhaps also Whitsunday (although the preference flow there was almost even).

Labor’s two regional defeats were in Mirani, where Stephen Andrew emerged One Nation’s (apparently) sole winner, and Bundaberg, where Leanne Donaldson failed to replicate a surprise win in 2015, going down to defeat at the hands of David Batt of the LNP. In Mirani, Andrew landed clear of the LNP candidate to take second place on the primary vote, and then secured victory over Labor with what must have been something like 80% of LNP preferences. Labor also suffered a notional regional defeat in Burdekin, but this was an artefact of the redistribution, with LNP incumbent Dale Last successfully defending his seat despite the handicap of One Nation directing preferences against him.

The LNP also appear to have lost two seats in the regions, although only one has been finalised on preferences. Independent Sandy Bolton unseated Glen Elmes in Noosa by a handy margin of 11.5%, having topped the primary vote with 31.4%, then received over three-quarters of Labor, One Nation, Greens and independent preferences. Bolton seems to have poached a lot of support from the Greens, who finished second in 2015, but this time dropped from 21.8% to 11.6%. Katter’s Australian Party is claiming victory for Nick Dametto in Hinchinbrook, at the expense of LNP incumbent Andrew Cripps, but there is no published result yet. One Nation (22.0%), KAP (21.0%) and Labor (19.0%) were closely matched for second place behind Cripps (30.1%), but with Labor bowing out first, its preferences look to have pushed Dametto ahead of One Nation, whose preferences in turn decided the result for Dametto.

In south-east Queensland, the LNP lost three seats — Aspley and Redlands to Labor, where Tracy Davis and Matt McEachan were unseated by Bart Mellish and Kim Richards, and Maiwar to the Greens, which Michael Berkman has won from outgoing Shadow Treasure Scott Emerson. Another two LNP incumbents, Ian Walker in Mansfield and Tarnya Smith in Mount Ommaney, were defeated in seats that had been made notionally Labor by the redistribution. The opposite happened in the seat of Pumicestone, which Simone Wilson won for the LNP with a certain amount of help from the disendorsement of Labor member Rick Williams, who ran as an independent.

The Greens’ win in Maiwar, which is their first ever at a Queensland state election, has been confirmed by a margin of 1.6%, after Berkman kept his nose in front of Labor throughout the late count, then received 79% of the preferences of Labor and an independent. A swing to Labor in Aspley of 4.3% eliminated a pre-election margin of 3.1%, which seems to have been partly filtered through One Nation, whose 9.6% primary vote was a close match for the 10.3% drop in the LNP vote. No final score is available from Redlands, but the pre-election margin of 1.2% has been easily accounted for by a swing of 4.3%.

Labor’s win in Macalister has been confirmed, but we won’t know exactly how close run it was until they publish the full distribution of preferences. The reason the seat was in doubt is that independent Hetty Johnston would have won if preferences had pushed her ahead of the LNP on the primary vote, on which she trailed 26.6% to 23.2%, with preferences needed from the Greens (6.6%) and three minor candidates (6.9%) to close the gap. The other late count cliffhanger of Townsville was decided in favour of Labor incumbent Scott Stewart by 214 votes, a margin of 0.4%.

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.

114 comments on “Queensland election endgame”

  1. Section 7 does not, as far as I (a non-lawyer) can tell, restrict the number of Senators a new state created out of an old state can have. Where it talks about dividing a state into divisions, it is talking electorates (like Wills, Higgins, Kennedy, etc) for the Senate.

  2. Greens preferences flow to Labor was relatively quite weak outside SEQ. I will look at it more closely, but in SEQ it seemed to be a touch over 75%, which is strong but hardly overwhelming.

  3. I get the flow of all distributed Greens preferences at 76-24 though this includes the usual contamination from other parties, and the flow of the non-distributed ones in Maiwar and South Brisbane is probably just a little higher.

  4. Mark Robinson is contesting the LNP leadership. This nomination has come from left field and was not even in the odds on Sportsbet. His chances will be about as good as Kevin Andrew’s becoming liberal leader federally. He is an mp based in Cleveland, Brisbane. He is very Christian and to the right socially.

  5. @ Political Night Watchman

    Robinson uses the title “Doctor” when it suits. He is a Doctor or Theology and is close to Steve Dickson. One Nation left him alone.

  6. Mark Robinsons’s wife. mother of their seven children was seen sticking a “No to Marriage Equality sticker on the window of a nearby Labor party State MP, Don Brown . It was reported with a photo in the Redland City Bulletin.

  7. Still no mention of his candidacy on the Courier Mail website. Mark Robinson announces his candidacy (and a tumbleweed goes by…….)

  8. Good point Tozzer 🙂

    Thinking about it though, it might have been people reacting to those “Put the majors last” campaigns

  9. Deb Frecklington elected as LNP leader with Tim Mander elected as deputy.

    LNP sources say they want to ‘denewmanise’ the party. Langbroek probably was too prominent under Newman. Langbroek has also been prominent in the failed era of LNP leadership either as leader or as deputy with (Springborg, Nicholls etc) and the party needed a clean out and to move on.

  10. Wow. After a fizzer of an election campaign, look at whats shaking up Qld politics. We have a two -term female Premier, with a female deputy, whilst even the LNP elects its first female leader. Labor has a 50/50 gender split in Cabinet.
    Great news for women in politics and about time.
    The old paradigm has been shaken to its roots.

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