Qld election wrap: a sea change in politics


The Electoral Commission says it may take 10 days to finalise the Queensland election count. Remembering that 45 is the prize, the latest count has 42 seats to Labor, 38 for the LNP, 3 ‘other’ and 6 now undecided, up from 3 the day before.

It looks as though Pauline Hanson is in with a show in Lockyer, though Poll Bludger thinks she might come up short.

Without any confidence, I think the likeliest result will have the ALP on 44. In that case they would govern with the assistance of Peter Wellington. He could be offered Speaker, which he would refuse, preferring to actively represent his electorate. This result would avoid having to do a formal deal with KAP, but KAP would be consulted on any legislation brought forward. I think this would be ideal for democracy.

Second likeliest, I think, would be Labor on 43, necessitating a deal with KAP, who would insist on certain items like a 10% methanol in fuel mandate. It would be better if Labor could freely consider the merits of KAP policies.

Third likeliest is Labor on 45 or 42.

Meanwhile it is important to realise that Newman is still premier and leader of the LNP. Seeney announced a party meeting to resolve the leadership, for reasons best known to him, but was countermanded by Newman.

The best analytical piece so far is by Mark at The Guardian Queensland rejected hubris and unrestrained power when it rejected Campbell Newman. In effect it is a fleshing out of his statement I identified here that “the Labor victory in Queensland is a defining moment of change in Australian politics, which will never be the same.”

Some excerpts:

If the voice of Queenslanders said anything on Saturday, it thundered a rejection of the culture of power unrestrained and politicians’ hubris and arrogance. No more bills passed in the night, stripping citizens and workers of fundamental rights. No more dodgy donations. No more jobs for the boys and girls. No more “don’t you worry about that”. Queenslanders voted in massive numbers for a return to accountability and the basics of good government and democratic practice, conventions trampled underfoot by the RM Williams boots of the LNP’s ministers over the past term.

Any Queensland government must now understand there can be no going back to the dark days of the past, that there is no electoral reward to be had from “strong plans” that don’t factor in the human cost of unrestrained crony capitalism. There will from now on be no electoral reward from “strength”, if that means treating citizens with disdain and contempt.

Let all the misgovernment and malfeasance come to an end, and let it be unmourned. There was a sly charm in the old Queensland, a seductive whisper that the state’s distinctiveness was expressed through its baroque tropical politics, a humour beneath the cattleman’s hats. But Russ Hinze is dead, he’s not sleeping. He was never a king or an emperor, even if Sir Joh was a Knight, and after this result, he should never be coming back. Lawrence Springborg and the LNP – take note.

To understand fully the Russ Hinze reference, you have to read the whole piece, which I recommend.

One of the ways Labor reconnected with the community was through the choice of an “astonishingly diverse array of candidates”, including:

Leanne Enoch, the state’s first Indigenous woman MP, as well as electricians, defence lawyers, medical specialists and tradies.

In a sense, then, one sleeping giant has been awakened through this election – the sense that so many have of Queensland as a project. A work in progress, sure, but progress to a more humane, more inclusive, more transparent, fairer and more accountable polity and society. That project, the legacy not just of figures such as Tony Fitzgerald and the late Wayne Goss but also of a multitude of activists and citizens over the decades, has shown its strength when tested against the flim flam of “strong plans” offered by a rattled party in a state of advanced decay.

Political nostrums that have endured for ages should now be tossed out, along with the many, many LNP MPs who have lost their seats. The LNP must understand that Russ Hinze’s ghost no longer slumbers under the hills of Coomera. And Labor, though it will tread softly, has learned the key lessons of its defeat in 2012 – that privatisation is poison, that Queenslanders want a government that respects not hectors them, and that there’s life still in social democratic politics, provided it connects with citizens. This result is truly an astonishing one, and its implications are manifold. The political rulebook has been smashed to smithereens along with the LNP’s majority, and every political party must now take stock.

There will be fewer cranes, diggers and bulldozers than there would have been if people had voted for the ‘Strong Choices’ on offer, but as Mark says, Queensland is a project and we look forward to a softer, more congenial, more humane polity and society. Palaszczuk has promised a consultative, consensual style, of bringing Queenslanders together. She was never overtly ambitious, but has grown in the role of leader. We must hope that she can make the transition into the real job, where Newman manifestly failed.

Elsewhere Jason Wilson has a fine piece The world is turning against austerity. Now it’s Queensland’s turn, Mark outlines the sequence of the Newman/LNP maladministration in Why you should not go to war with the public #qldvotes, Jason Wilson again in Why Queensland will never Joh again, and Mr Denmore at Failed Estate has a piece Graffiti Crimes where he looks at the coverage, the disgraceful front page propaganda we got from the Courier Mail and the role of social media.

In a piece published before the election Brian Costar, inter alia, points out the difficulty encountered by polling companies in finding representative samples over the holiday period, and how optional preferential voting renders the concept of ‘two party preferred’ meaningless.

38 thoughts on “Qld election wrap: a sea change in politics”

  1. So spending more than you earn is ” in ” and the best thing to do.
    Got it.
    Grandkids can pay for the comfort we want now, rather than the other way around.

    Me, I’m now willing to bend certain laws to protect my grandkids from the inevitable suffering this horrible attitude guarantees.

    Hence forth, my moniker will change.

  2. So spending more than you earn is ” in ” and the best thing to do.

    Just like buying a house.

  3. Just like buying a house.

    And repossession is likely if one borrows to pay the repayments, never lessening the initial borrowed capital thus plunging, exponentially, into bankruptcy.
    But hey, if the Grandkids are saddled with the burden, Live It Up.
    ALP in a nutshell, well done zoot !

  4. And yet again, the Party that most voters wanted to Govern, will not.
    Democracy thwarted.

  5. So tell me again who was fiscally prudent and doubled the deficit?
    Who was so terrified of a budget emergency that he removed the cap on govt borrowings?
    And who can’t bring themselves to make the rich bastards pay their fair share?
    (Okay, that last one applies to both Tweedledum and Tweedledumber)

  6. ALP or LNP, the general public are fed up with all bad government, with having their revenue grossly mismanaged, with having communal revenue-producing assets flogged of to any scoundrel who desires them and with so-called businesses bludging on them.

    Let’s all hope the Two-Party-Preferred swindle is dead-and-buried too.

  7. Gooblygook N@5: In case you missed it a very clear majority of people gave their primary vote to someone other than the LNP. When it came to the crunch those that allocated preferences gave a very clear majority of their preferences to the ALP – which is why the ALP rather than the LNP is close to governing. Or, to put it another way, the vote suggests that if the contest had been just one on one the ALP would have won.
    What you are trying to do is do me out of my right to say that I would prefer a Greener government without losing the opportunity to say whether I would prefer an ALP or LNP government.

  8. KN @ 4: It is interesting to note that the Labor led ACT governmentis proposing to pay for specific infrastructure projects.

    Mr Barr said the money would go towards several major infrastructure projects.

    “The major projects in that fund include the light rail project, the University of Canberra public hospital, and a range of other road related projects.”

    I have no problem with considering specific asset sales to pay for new assets. It would be something like Jumpy selling an idle piece of land to expand his business. The problem I had was that the the Qld government looked as though the money from asset sales would be used to finance election promises. It is something like Newman selling someone else’s house to pay for his potlatch.

  9. Chuck, we knew Jumpy, and speaking for myself, had some affection for him. Frankly, it’s hard to feel anything for Kolobok Norris ( call me Chuck ).

    What brought that on?

    Still, if you insist…

  10. Brian

    I have come to realise that neither of our ruling coalitions wish direct my contributions in the directions I believe is necessary to improve Australia.
    Zoot is correct that both, recently, have grown deficits, increased Govn’t income and spent more.

    I now plan to pursue a personal, non-violent campaign of financial, civil disobedience.
    When they said ” Jump ” I said ” how high ? “, now I’m the Gingerbread Man with a trust less distain for all levels of fox.

    I will decide the who receives my generosity ( same amount ) and the manner in which it is received.

    Jumpy may return if things improve but I fear that compliant, trusting piece of driftwood has gone down an S-bend.

  11. zoot @ 14

    No, not at all, I’ll just stop being ignorant of tax minimisation strategies ( even ” grey area ” ones), GSTless online overseas purchases, bartering, deductible gifts, sponsorships, that sort of thing.
    All legal yet things I’ve never considered till now.
    I’ll still pay some net tax, way more than this lot combined and then some.
    Just way less than I was.

    But please, if you feel your not paying enough, put cash in an envelope addressed to ” Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, Locked bag 1793, Penerith, NSW, 1793 ”

    Don’t forget the stamp.

  12. John D.: You said “It is something like Newman selling someone else’s house to pay for his potlatch.” I thought the original potlatch fulfilled a tribal purpose – wheras STRONG ™ Mr Newman’s version of potlatch seems to have done nothing but annoy the voters.

  13. All legal yet things I’ve never considered till now.

    If they’re legal they don’t really count as “civil disobedience” do they?

    I urge you to go full bottom of the harbour, or whatever the equivalent is now. Stick it to the man. No taxation without representation!!! We shall overcome!!!

  14. Peter Wellington looks set to reveal his hand today. It’s extremely unlikely that he will go for the LNP. He says he has been approached by three different groups from the LNP, at a time when he is calling for stability.

    One would think KAP will follow suit.

    It looks as though Ferny Grove, currently a narrow Labor win, could need a bi-election. The PUP candidate was found to be an undeclared bankrupt, which I gather invalidates the votes cast for him.

    Bob Katter said today that Newman’s problem was that he wasn’t running the joint. It was being run by Seeney and Nicholls. He could be onto something there!

  15. Brian @18: That might explain Seeney’s spending so much time away from his electorate. It should have been a dream team with a civil engineer as Premier and with a grazier as a Deputy – instead, it turned into an ongoing nightmare.

  16. GB: Potlatches also fulfilled a tribal political purpose. They gave power, influence etc to those putting on the potlatch as well as helping share assets.

    By the time the election was reached Newman’s use of the asset sales money sounded more and more like a potlatch to me. The asset sales were going to allow Newman to promise anything he liked without having to say where the money was coming from.
    BTW, Wellington has decided to support the ALP in return for strengthening the checks and balances.

  17. Brian: A by-election for Ferny Vale would only make sense if the PUP candidate had won.
    Under the Qld electoral system the preferences made by PUP voters were controlled by the individual PUP voters, not the PUP.
    The right of PUP voter to vote and allocate preferences was not lost simply because the PUP candidate was invalidated after the election.
    Would anyone be seriously talking about the need for a by-election if an unsuccessful candidate died immediately after the election?
    McIvor is merely hoping that a by-election just might give his party an unexpected win.

  18. Good point John but have they counted preferences yet or are we relying on Antony Greens software ?

    I only ask as the ABC site says ” 0 of 18 ” in the 2pp bit.

    ( i have zero idea of how the count works )

  19. KN: I am mainly going off the Qld Electoral Commission results Preferrences are counted as the counting proceeds so the progressive two party preferred (TPP) for seats is based on actual preferences.
    TPP appears near the bottom of the results for electorates but is not always there.
    The disturbing thing for me is the high number of exhausted preferences shown with the TPP. Quite a few people I talked to thought that the state election worked the same the Senate so that if they just voted 1 the preferences used would be those put up by the party organization.

  20. John, what you say makes sense. Anthony Chisolm, the campaign director for the ALP reckons the Ferny Grove result will stand. Presumably it will be declared in favour of Labor, if the current trend continues, and then will be contested in the Court of Disputed Returns. If Chisolm is right then nothing changes.

    Meanwhile the KAP boys are waiting to see whether they have any leverage. I heard today that one of their demands was that the Galilee Basin railway support would go ahead. If we end up with 44 ALP plus Wellington, as seems likely, they have no leverage.

    If the LNP gets to 43, I’m thinking now that KAP will go with them.

    BTW the number of preferences exhausted in Maryborough is huge.

  21. Further to the Anthony Green article the state of play for Ferny Grove at 2.36 PM Fri 6/2 was:

    PUP 870 votes
    Exhausted 1302
    ALP 348 ahead.

    Anthony thinks the court of disputed returns may decide that a by-election is necessary on the grounds that PUP voters who exhausted their preferences may have voted for a major party if PUP had not run.
    The irony is that the LNP vote 1 campaign gave some voters the impression that the Qld system was the same as the senate system in the sense that if you just voted 1 your preferences would be distributed according to what the party receiving the just vote 1 vote decided. I was amazed at the number of booth workers and other people who held this view to the point where I asked our booth workers to point out to voters that the only preferences counted were the ones the voter put on their ballot paper.

  22. I heard on ABC radio that if a bye election is required it will be in 6 to 8 months.
    Bye elections seldom go the sitting Govts way which is fatal for whomever forms now.
    Has our GG, Paul de Jersey ( appointed under Can-no longer-Do) said anything at all ?

  23. KN: The GG has no say in the matter. It is ultimately up to the courts.
    The recent by election in SA resulted in a 6% swing to the government. A government that has been in power for about 20 yrs!

  24. John D. @ 23: I wasn’t the only one who ensured my preferences were exhausted before my vote went to an unwanted candidate against my will in the “two-party preferred” racket. It would be interesting to see if optional preference voting reduced the incidence of informal votes. The informal vote has been the traditional Australian way for voters to say that they wouldn’t touch this or that bad candidate with a barge-pole.

  25. Lawrence Springborg is leader of the LNP, with John-Paul Langbroek as deputy. So it’s back to the future in some ways.

    KN @ 27, Pater Beattie won a by-election six months after he had to form government with the help of Peter Wellington.It depends on how a Palaszczuk government performs (if we have one) and how the opposition performs under new management, as well as local candidates and other specifics.

  26. GB: I have no problem with people like you who decide that the don’t want to allocate preferences. This includes people that are so pissed off with the majors that they couldn’t be bothered giving either a preference.
    My problem with this election is the number of people i and my wife spoke to who thought the state election was the same as the Senate. If you just voted 1 the party you just voted 1 for would allocate your preferences for you.
    I am talking about people like Greens voters and booth workers who clearly wanted the LNP kicked out but thought all they had to do to achieve this was just vote 1 Green.

  27. GB: The informal vote for this election was 2.1% @ 10 pm on Sat Feb 7. That is pretty low by most standards.
    I did this analysis of the effect of various variables on informal voting after the 2010 federal election.
    One of the analysis done for this post estimated that 1.3% of the vote was “deliberately informal” in 2007 vs 3.1 % in 2010. This result is hardly surprising given the mood in 2007 vs 2010. The total informals were 3.6% for 2007 and 5.6% for 2010. Number of candidates, % non English speakers and whether the states had optional voting affected the % of avoidable errors.
    A figure of 2.1% informal suggests that almost all informal votes were deliberate.

  28. The twittersphere is saying that Foley is close to conceding in Maryborough. If he does it’s over bar the formalities, Palaszczuk becomes premier.

  29. Foley should have conceded ages ago, it’s a 2 horse race between Maddern and Saunders.
    Time for Maddern to concede.
    That, as you say Brian, is an ALP minority Government.
    Credit where credit is due, well done Anastasia Palaszczuk.

    (Note to the Premier- Watch your back, nobody on your side wanted your job, till now)

  30. @ 33, I heard 10 minutes layer that Foley had in fact conceded about 6pm last night. So I awaited confirmation.

    Now there’s this from Channel Nine:

    Queensland Labor is on the brink of being named state election victor, hours after Lawrence Springborg was named the new LNP leader, promising to deliver a “competent caretaker government”.

    This evening independent MP Chris Foley conceded he cannot win his seat of Maryborough, with Labor likely to claim victory when new figures are released by the electoral commission tomorrow.

  31. The ABC site has Labor now on 44, so when the writs are returned Palaszczuk should be premier, right?

    Not according to Springborg. He seems to think he should be caretaker premier until the Ferny Grove matter is decided. It will be, of course when the writs are returned. A member will represent the seat. The court of disputed returns may or may not subsequently decide that a by-election is necessary.

    Perhaps he’ll try to govern without calling parliament. But then he has no commission unless Newman resigns and he gets one from the Governor.

    Thankfully the Governor is Paul de Jersey, former chief justice and one of the best lawyers around.

    Then think about this. The current chief justice is that third-rater that Newman appointed. He will select which judge sits as the court of disputed returns.

    Only in Queensland!

  32. Thanks John D. @ 31,32.

    Brian @ 37: Compelling reasons indeed for having Separation from Queensland.

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