It’s bad news for Labor and Greens supporters in Queensland, just under one week out from the state election.
The Galaxy Poll over the weekend had the Liberal-National Party poised to win up to 70 seats, with the most likely Labor representation between 10 and 15 in the 89-member parliament. The Greens are down to 9% support.
Geographically, on the most favourable interpretation of the poll, Labor would hold a clutch of seats around Logan and Ipswich, Lytton on Brisbane’s south-eastern outskirts, Anna Bligh’s seat of South Brisbane, and then just three seats in the whole of the state north of the Brisbane River: Sandgate, Mackay and Rockhampton.
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This is the underlying electoral demography of Queensland — there are no inner-city left redoubts. Labor’s safe seats are simply the ones experiencing the highest level of disadvantage and social exclusion in metropolitan south-east Queensland south of the river.
On these figures, five ministers would survive — Anna Bligh, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Rachel Nolan, Tim Mulherin and Vicky Darling. Four women out of five, and a Labor caucus of 13 (which is what we’re contemplating with a uniform swing) would see a majority of Labor MPs being women for the first time. I would hope that Bligh would be succeeded by another woman (for my money, Palaszczuk) and she almost certainly would be.
The remaining frontbenchers would be joined by four first-term MPs, and a few incumbents left standing after the tide sweeps most Labor members away.
Labor’s momentum, observers suggest, stalled last weekend. The long campaign has proved to be a mistake, and the highly personal nature of the assault on Newman over-egged. Kate Jones, despite receiving Greens preferences, will probably now go down to defeat in Ashgrove, as will deputy Premier Andrew Fraser in Mount Coot-tha and other up and coming frontbenchers.
Ministers have been fighting for their electoral lives, and the Premier has carried the thrust of the attack on Campbell. There are legitimate questions he has to answer, particularly around senior staff in his mayoralty team running development companies on the side, but the sheer negativity of the campaign has now turned around and bit Labor.
Bombarded by paper, dazzled by the onslaught of TV ads, electors have switched off, and the “it’s time for a change” meme has resurfaced with a vengeance. It was always going to be hard for Labor to counter this (though a more thematically unified positive vision would have helped). But the Premier, who is going down fighting, is now reduced to warning of the dangers of a huge LNP majority.
If the result on Saturday looks like the polls suggest, the ALP will face a very difficult task in rebuilding.
Questions will be asked about the wisdom of importing strategists such as Bruce Hawker, and about the impact of federal factors.
But, one way or another, it looks highly likely that Queenslanders face a long LNP reign.
*This article was first published at Larvatus Prodeo