Three-peat! Palaszczuk to claim third term for Labor

Labor will form government in its own right after the Liberal National Party failed to convince Queenslanders it was time for change.

Oct 31, 2020, updated Oct 31, 2020
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk led Labor to a third term in power. (Photo: AAP Image/Darren England)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk led Labor to a third term in power. (Photo: AAP Image/Darren England)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been rewarded for her government’s handling of the pandemic with Labor set to improve its numbers for Queensland’s first four-year term of parliament. On the latest count, the LNP is well behind in the overall race for seats, and even a late swing would not be enough to loosen Labor’s grip on power.

After Labor ran a fear campaign warning the LNP would put Queensland’s health and economy at risk, the swing to the incumbent government was strong. Once the result is confirmed, Labor will prioritise a budget, and the introduction of euthanasia laws, and continue rolling out its economic recovery plan.

Addressing jubilant supporters at a fishing club in her electorate, Palaszczuk acknowledged it had been a tough year for Queenslanders and there was more work to be done. She promised to repay the trust of first-time voters.

“We will roll up our sleeves and we will get back to work as quickly as possible for you,” Palaszczuk said.

“And I am confident we will do it with a majority Labor government.”

Palaszczuk, who followed her father into politics, will become the first female party leader to win three elections and surpass Peter Beattie’s period as Labor premier.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington gave her concession speech at the same time as Palaszczuk was declaring victory – it is not clear whether they spoke beforehand – and vowed to stay on as opposition leader. She told the party faithful “our time will come”.

“We’re going to fight every minute of the next four years to get there,” Frecklington said.

“I’m sorry we didn’t get there.”

ABC election analyst Antony Green had called the election for Labor before 10pm, initially with a caveat that Palaszczuk could negotiate a minority government scenario if required. The cross-bench will be roughly the same size due to the Greens picking up another seat in Brisbane.

With a surge in votes for the Greens in urban areas, and the collapse in support for One Nation in regional areas not necessarily helping the LNP, Labor has also benefitted the most from any preference flows. However, the majority of postal votes have yet to be returned, meaning close seats may not be decided for days.

In former LNP seats of Pumicestone and Caloundra, where there are a large proportion of older voters, people have rallied behind Labor, likely to result in those seats change hands. That likely reflects concern over COVID-19.

But in South Brisbane, former Labor star Jackie Trad has been unseated by the Greens. Trad was forced to resign from Cabinet this year and was demonised by the LNP throughout the campaign, while also enduring a bruising battle with the Greens.

Greens candidate Amy MacMahon is set to become the party’s second elected representative in State Parliament, alongside Maiwar MP Michael Berkman who is set to become the Greens’ first re-elected member. Those seats were traditionally held by Labor and there has been animosity between the parties this campaign.

If Queensland did end up with a hung parliament, Deputy Premier Steven Miles would not be keen to do a deal with MacMahon, likening her to One Nation candidates and the extreme fringe.

“They’re not the kind of people Labor would support,” Miles told the ABC.

Palaszczuk has yet to speak publicly on election night but has previously ruled out doing deals to form government.

Labor is ahead in the key north Queensland seats of Mundingburra, Townsville and Barron River.

A large number of pre-polls, some lodged much earlier in the campaign, are being counted tonight, along with returned postal votes. In close seats, the outstanding postal votes may not as strongly favour the Greens due to the party parties having a stronger mail-order program. Labor is also likely to increase its share of postals.

Going into the election, of the 93 parliamentary seats, Labor held 48 to the LNP’s 38, with the cross bench comprising three Katter’s Australian Party members, one Green, one One Nation, one North Queensland First and independent Sandy Bolton.

The ABC’s Antony Green was predicting Labor taking government in some form, with as many as 51 seats to the LNP’s 35, and a cross-bench likely to exist of three from KAP, two from the Greens, one from One Nation and independent Bolton.

While the LNP was holding most of its traditional ground, the seats of Currumbin, Bundaberg and Chatsworth and Caloundra were at risk of falling to Labor.

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