In a single chamber parliament with 93 members the magic number is 47 with preferential voting compulsory. Currently the party balance is Labor 48, LNP 38, KAP (Katter) 3, Greens 1, PHON (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) 1, Independent 1, and FNQ (Far North Qld) 1.
The FNQ (Whitsunday) member was elected as LNP in 2017. The member Jason Costigan:
- was expelled from the LNP in February 2019 over sexual harassment claims, first aired in Parliament, that were later withdrawn. The LNP did not reverse the expulsion and Costigan formed North Queensland First.
So if Labor lose two they lose their majority, a swing of 0.7% would do it; the LNP need to pick up nine to govern in their own right, a swing of 3.4%.
Across the board swings have limited relevance, because, as the ABC’s excellent election preview says:
The multi-party complexity of Queensland politics was revealed by the 2017 result. Only 65 of the state’s 93 seats finished as traditional two-party preferred contests between Labor and the LNP.
- There were 21 contests where One Nation finished in the top two after preferences, eight in contests versus the LNP and 13 versus Labor. One Nation’s Stephen Andrew won Mirani on LNP preferences. Katter’s Australian Party finished in the top two after preferences in four seats winning three, and the Greens in two seats winning one. Independent Sandy Bolton took Noosa from the LNP. With six crossbench members plus Jason Costigan, it is possible the 2020 election will produce an inconclusive result and who forms government will be a process of negotiation.
Looking at the minor parties, all have excellent chances of improving their representation, so the most likely outcome is thought to be a minority LNP or Labor government.
Katter’s three seats, which are very safe, were won on 2.32% of the overall vote. Their territory is Mt Isa and just north of Townsville, but could conceivably make gains in central Qld. They only contest where they think they have a chance, contesting only 10 seats in 2017.
Contrast this with PHON who contested 63, gained 13.73 of the overall vote, but won only one seat. They may have more luck this time, but a YouGov poll published in the Courier Mail on 6 October sees their vote slipping to 9%.
The Greens only landed one seat from 10% of the overall vote. YouGov has them at 12%. Since their vote in Qld is concentrated in the gentrifying inner city areas they look like breaking through in a few seats, so that Michael Birkman will no longer be doing it alone.
There was talk of seven Greens. The best chances are South Brisbane where the LNP are likely to come third. Their policy is to put Labor last on preferences, which seems specially designed to give Jackie Trad the flick.
Next best chance is McConnel, where the Greens could do a Maiwar, where Michael Birkman edged 78 votes ahead on Ali King, a very good quality Labor candidate, by 78 votes on a 7.4% swing, then won on Labor preferences.
Just going on letter box drops and visual signs, The Greens seem to be outspending Labor and the LNP by about an order of magnitude. Here’s an image of a corflute just down the road from us on the border of Cooper and Maiwar:
In Cooper and Maiwar there have been Greens corflutes everywhere on the main roads – two different big ones with different messaging, three or four versions of the smaller ones. Labor and LNP corflutes are a bit hard to find.
The letterbox material mainly targets Labor, like:
Don’t freeze teachers’ and nurses’ wages, Tax mining corporations instead.
On the other side they tell us there should be more for Queenslanders and less for mining billionaires. They are looking to treble mining royalties to raise an extra $55 billion for essential services and infrastructure.
Speaking of signs, this one is is being used by the Labor member for Mackay:
I think that is 18 new mines since 2015, to make 57 now. Unions are part of Labor historically, and some of them are existentially attached to coal. It doesn’t sit well with people inside Labor who understand something of climate change. I’ll say more about that the other day.
Antony Green’s preview shows Labor in trend decline:
This one from his piece shows that in 2017 the Greens broke through their previous ceiling of about 8.4% top reach 10%:
However, Newspoll published today shows Labor on 37%, LNP on 36%, the Greens on 11% and PHON dropping back from 13.7% to 10%.
However, it is still a contest that will be decided by the stories of about 20 seats.
A few generalisations are possible.
Paul Williams, the ‘go to’ political scientist for the ABC said at the outset that there were three main issues, firstly, COVID, secondly, economic recovery after COVID, and thirdly, youth crime in Townsville, where there are three Labor seats on small margins. He thought Labor was ahead on the first two (Campbell Newman really trashed the LNP’s record on economic management, and Frecklington was his assistant minister), but Labor could lose it’s majority in Townsville.
That is all still true, but he has since said that all the provincial seats from Gympie north (that is, north of the Sunshine Coast) apart from perhaps Mackay, are volatile.
It has also become evident that several seats in the Southeast with high numbers of retirees, like Pumicetone (Bribie Island and nearby) could go Labor.
As an aside Labor, has an excellent candidate in Ali King in Pumicetone, who was beaten by a handful of votes by Michael Birkman in Maiwar in 2017, then moved north.
Then, the Greens look certainties in South Brisbane and are looking good in McConnel (CBD, Newfarm and inner northside). Our seat of Cooper is also in play, following the unexpected retirement of Kate Jones.
Palmer United Party will get no seats, he knows that, but has run candidates everywhere so that he can attack Labor in his advertising. The big lie is that Labor “could” introduce a death tax, so we need to boot them out on the off chance they might. Opinion is that he could not run those ads in SA or the ACT, who have decent truth in advertising laws.
It may be worth a point or two here or there, and that could make the difference.
So anything could happen, but it’s looking like a hung parliament. The LNP can only look to KAP and One Nation.
Labor, I think will not do a deal with the Greens, because Michael Birkman says his top priority is to soak the miners.
Robbie Katter said his priorities were (1) water storage (2) mining (3) biofuels and (4) social issues, which includes opposition to voluntary dying legislation promised by Labor.
The first two are problematic for Labor and are likely to be diabolical for the Greens.
So a minority Labor government would be left without a promise of confidence or supply, having to negotiate individually on every piece of legislation.
To start with the Greens, minor parties have trouble in gaining media attention. The only thing I heard from Michael Birkman on the airwaves is that school children should have free breakfast and lunch. It seems that because Frydenberg and Morrison have deemed poverty a necessity we can’t do without:
- 20% of children start the school day without eating breakfast, while 15% of kids will arrive at school without lunch.
If he succeeds in getting something done about it he will have earned his keep in parliament. In the campaign it grabbed attention for a few hours. The Greens policies are here.
If they get a boost to public housing, it would also be good.
The LNP started with saying the would build a rocket launching facility at Bowen, then ran into a factory on the Gold Coast where they said they would build a rocket. “We can’t send these rockets to Cape Canaveral!”
Then it was a four lane highway all the way to Cairns, above flooding rivers and flood plains, and bypassing cities. It’s just that they aren’t going to spend anything much at all in the next four years apart from a feasibility study.
This was followed by a new Bradfield Scheme:
- To drought-proof Queensland and plan for the future, an LNP Government will partner with CSIRO to make the New Bradfield Scheme a key economic driver that helps build a stronger economy and drag Queensland out of recession.
The New Bradfield Scheme is a visionary project that will deliver water security, transform our regional economies, boost renewable hydroelectric power, reduce carbon emissions from new vegetation growth and limit nutrient runoff into the Great Barrier Reef.
I think they are talking about the Hells Gate Dam proposal on the Upper Burdekin, which KAP want as a water supply to Townsville.
Put a bunch of engineers and agricultural scientists in a room for a few days, and they will tell you it can’t be done. The Palaszczuk government signed off on a feasibility study in July 2019. The Queensland Conservation Council have taken a look.
It’s not needed for water, it would struggle to make money out of crops and most importantly the environmental impacts will be profound. That’s without lifting the water into five or six river basins to “drought proof” Queensland.
Then Frecklington and Morrison ran into a Metallwerk factory, which Palaszczuk had opened in February, for photo ops driving around in serious armoured vehicles made in Queensland, saying we are going to make things in Queensland.
Over four weeks money and all good things were showered upon the electorate. I’m not sure anyone with a brain takes them seriously.
There election promises are here, highlighting the $300 rego rebate to all drivers as a Christmas present, costing a mere $1.1 billion.
Labor did a really good job of presenting its policies on the net in 2017. This time not so good. I could not find them by Googling of from Labor’s site. They are here under Palaszczuk’s Labor site, I think in the order they were announced.
As far as I can make out, there is about $6 billion in development, and $4 billion of borrowing. It includes $600 million to buy 20 new trains, a ‘second Bruce Highway’, a highway up from Mungindi (south of Goondiwindi) straight up the middle to Charters Towers, seven satellite hospitals across Southeast Queensland and lots of just about everything.
It doesn’t sound like a complete transformation, or a new portal for a different future, but if you want to move into the future you have to start from where you are.
Time is up, I’ll post this and watch the TV to see how it all turns out.
I was one of about a third of us who left there voting until today. As usual it was in a commodious school hall, built after a different emergency, plenty of room for spacing. To the right was the oval with kids palying cricket, about a dozen parents yakking under the pergola. Not a mask in sight anywhere.
Our neighbour can’t get his new pool rendered because the people who do these things are too busy. Real estate agents are saying that southerners are buying houses here sight unseen. They can’t get enough stock to meet the market.
Queensland is not closed down as the headline on the Oz would have it. Still I’m wondering whether Antony Green will be here in person. I believe he lives in Surry Hills.