Tonight there’s a full moon, which is probably apt for the more than usually lunatic election campaign we’ve enjoyed over the past month. Whatever else Queensland politics is, it’s never boring.
As I predicted earlier in the week, the Coalition has been playing the stronger Opposition card. Both Clayfield candidate Tim Nicholls and Chatsworth MP Michael Catalbiano have been interviewed in the last two days arguing that Beattie will be returned and that cutting his majority will be healthy for democracy. Catalbiano was also distancing himself from Flegg on ABC radio today, and running the “strong local member” line. The trouble is that this is probably too late to have much of an impact. The Nats, meanwhile, are accusing the Libs of playing the blame game, which has the added extra of diverting the blame from themselves.
Labor has countered by leaking some polling to the Courier-Mail showing their vote going backward in a few marginals. This is probably accurate enough, picking the small swing away from Team Beattie, but the Labor vote was never going to hold at a level where a larger majority could have been in the offing.
So what’s likely to happen on Saturday night? The basic dynamics of the campaign were established in the first few days. Labor’s vote peaked last week, or more accurately, the Coalition’s vote hit rock bottom. There’s likely to be a bit of a correction, but although anything could happen, the most probable result – surprisingly for such a dynamic and odd campaign – is that not too many seats at all will change hands.
My reading of the situation is not too far from William Bowe’s at The Poll Bludger except that I wouldn’t be giving away Bundaberg to the Nats or Mudgeeraba to the Libs. Noosa, where former Labor member Cate Molloy is running is an Independent, is probably going to the Libs, but largely because a lot of votes will exhaust in a crowded field. But Cate Molloy couldn’t entirely be ruled out of contention. Claims that Family First are in with a chance in Gympie, where former One Nation MP Elisa Roberts has been withdrawing and re-entering the race more often than most observers can keep track of, are rubbish. It’s likely to be a Nats gain. John Bjelke-Petersen won’t have a show in Narangba, and the Libs will lose their by-election gains of Redcliffe and Chatsworth.
My best bet for the final tally? Labor 60, Nationals 17, Liberals 7, Independents 4, One Nation 1. That would leave Labor three down on its 2004 haul, and only six down on its 2001 landslide.