Queensland election minus nine days

A Roy Morgan SMS poll adds to the impression of a close race, as both sides pay an inordinate amount of attention to north Queensland.

Roy Morgan yesterday published an SMS poll crediting Labor with a 51-49 lead ahead of next Saturday’s Queensland election, from primary votes of Labor 36%, LNP 35%, One Nation 12%, Greens 10% and Katter’s Australian Party 2.5%. The poll was conducted Monday to Thursday last week from a sample of 1187.

Other happenings:

• Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party has run double page advertisements attacking Labor each day in the Courier-Mail since Sunday, with a half devoted to the government’s “policy-motivated stance” (apparently a bad thing) on COVID-19 and the other to a made-up claim about a Labor plot to introduce a death tax. The Roy Morgan poll had support for the party in statistically significant territory, at less than 0.5%.

• The campaign has been all about north Queensland this week, and in particular about the future of the Bruce Highway. The LNP signature election promise is a $200 million contribution to a dual carriageway from Gympie to Cairns, to which Labor has responded this week by building an alternative route further inland for heavy vehicles. Labor has been mocking the LNP for relying on an $800 million contribution from the federal government, but its own policies encounter much the same issue.

• Also in north Queensland, three Labor candidates have been disseminating campaign material imploring voters to “put the LNP last”, at odds with the party’s official position that that honour should go to One Nation, and with Labor’s attacks on the LNP for favouring both One Nation and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party ahead of Labor on its how-to-vote cards. These include incumbents Craig Crawford in Barron River and Brittany Lauga in Keppel, along with Mike Brunker in Burdekin, which the LNP holds on a margin of 0.8%.

• Deb Frecklington yesterday targeted (white) voters in Townsville and Cairns by proposing curfews on children in the two cities, with parents potentially to receive $250 fines if it is broken. All three of Townsville’s seats are held by Labor on tight margins (Townsville by 0.4%, Mundingburra by 1.1% and Thuringowa by 4.1%), as are two of the three seats that cover Cairns (Cairns by 3.3% and Barron River by 1.8%). Townsville in particular is suffering a confluence of high crime and unemployment, as noted in a report in The Australian. While the notion of a curfew evidently has support locally, it has been criticised not just by indigenous and human rights groups, but also by some local police and Katter’s Australian Party, with Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto questioning the need for a “police special ops team just to look after stray kids”.

• A “Labor insider” quoted in the Courier-Mail says the party is “not ahead in all the seats we have”, but it hopes to compensate for any losses by poaching Pumicestone, Currumbin, Coomera and Caloundra from the LNP. Both sides are said to be feeling confident about Aspley.

The Australian reports the Electoral Commission of Queensland expects 1.5 million out of a total of around 3 million votes to be cast as pre-polls. This comes after around 120,000 such votes were cast when voting opened on Monday, compared with an equivalent figure of 29,000 in 2017, with a further 140,000 voting on Tuesday.

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.

57 comments on “Queensland election minus nine days”

  1. That being said, a minority LNP state government propped up by nationalists might not be a bad thing for the country as a whole.

    Queensland has no upper house and the next election is 4 years away.

  2. Queensland doesn’t need an upper house.

    If the final numbers are something like this, the only plausible outcome is an LNP minority propped up by conservative nationalists:

    ALP 44 Green 1 Independent 1 KAP 3 ON 1 LNP 43

    It would not be a good electoral move for the LNP to form a formal coalition and give ON or KAP cabinet positions. But who knows. In any case the people of Queensland get to see what change this kind of arrangement causes their state.

  3. “Queensland doesn’t need an upper house.” I could have been clearer. My point was that an unchecked minority government working with ON and KAP could do a lot of damage in 4 years. I’d rather not experience that.

  4. Soz, I misunderstood your statement.

    Indeed, if I were a resident of Queensland, I’d rather not experience that. It would be objectively a diabolical outcome, worse than an LNP government that governs with a weak majority (the mirror image of the current Parliament). But in terms of federal politics, it might not be a bad thing that the people of Queensland learn what such a scenario actually means in reality. It might even mean that Labor can get more than five or six federal seats out of 30 next time round.

  5. The Katters would be a check on the LNP if they held the balance of power, at least on economic issues. They are very different to ON, being a mix of old Nats and conservative Labor people. For example it would be hard to see the Katters supporting privatisations. They are also not mad.

    However, on environmental and social issues you would think they would support the LNP more.

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