Queensland looking at 93 by-elections

Queenslanders will go to the polls on Saturday 31 October in one of the most interesting state elections in recent memory, in the midst of the first economic recession in nearly 30 years and a global pandemic.

With the successful party taking power for the state’s first fixed four-year term in which to implement their agenda, there is both much to gain and much at stake for Queensland.

Minor parties are anticipated to play a critical role due partly to compulsory preferential voting but also their influence in regional marginal seats — as seen in last year’s Federal Government election. However, against the current health and economic backdrop it’s expected the electorate will largely gravitate back towards the majors.

Our 2020 Queensland State Election Analysis forum featuring Rowland strategic advisors, former speaker and Labor Government Minister, Hon. John Mickel and former LNP Government Minister, Ian Walker, covered key election issues, electorates to watch, the regional and south-east Queensland divide and why leadership will be a defining factor in this election.

The ALP currently holds 48 of 94 seats with seven minor parties or Independent MPs, meaning the LNP must make a net gain of nine seats to govern in their own right.

Rather than a presidential-style election, Queensland is looking at effectively 93 by-elections — with both major and minor parties vying for votes seat by seat.

Pathway to Government

Impact of the regions

Hon. John Mickel:

If Labor loses four seats (the seats considered most at risk for the ALP are north of Noosa) and gains nothing in south-east Queensland, then it will be all over for the Palaszczuk Government. That situation would mean the LNP would have to form a minority government with support from Katter’s Australian Party, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Independents to govern.

Ian Walker:

The differing views between regional Queensland and the capital are a huge issue. Rural and regional Queensland can feel badly done by, sometimes justifiably and sometimes not, with the external view of large infrastructure projects in the South-east leading to resentment. Rural and regional Queensland have a very different view of things (to those in the South-east) which will have a significant effect above the ‘Noosa line’.

Seats in play include:

  • Townsville (ALP – 0.4% margin)
  • Gaven (ALP – 0.7%)
  • Whitsunday (North Qld First – 0.7%)
  • Burdekin (LNP – 0.8%)
  • Pumicestone (LNP – 0.8%)
  • Mundingburra (ALP – 1.1%)
  • Aspley (ALP – 1.2%)
  • Bonney (LNP – 1.7%)
  • Barron River (ALP – 1.9%)
  • Maryborough (ALP – 2.5%)
  • Keppel (ALP – 3.1%).

South Brisbane result

Hon. John Mickel:

Former Treasurer Jackie Trad is likely to hold South Brisbane with conservative voters more concerned by a Labor Greens alliance than her track record. She only needs 50 per cent of LNP second preferences to secure the seat, and as seen in the 2017 state election, LNP voters are willing to desert the How to Vote card to make their own choice.

Ian Walker:

There’s a freshness to the Greens’ campaign and whilst you can never write Jackie Trad off, she is under pressure in South Brisbane. The recent Brisbane City Council results also suggest that the electorate is used to voting Green.

Key election issues

Hon. John Mickel:

  • Leadership
  • Health issues driving economic concerns
  • Economic management.

The election will be fought over leadership — Annastacia Palaszczuk has the lead over Deb Frecklington but the campaign is only in its first week and half the votes will be cast before 31 October.

Ian Walker:

  • Economy, high unemployment and bankruptcies
  • Labor Government integrity issues

People should use this as a referendum on the Government — what does the future hold for us?

With polling day only weeks away and both major parties looking at four years in opposition, the contest is well and truly on.

See the video below for the full webinar.

Rowland Webinar: 2020 Queensland State Election from Rowland. on Vimeo.

Our second State Election Analysis webinar with a panel of industry association leaders will be held on Tuesday 27 October. To join, please get in touch.