A defiant Annastacia Palaszczuk delivers a stinging message to her critics as she claims a historic election victory in Queensland as Labor’s gamble to shut borders pays off and crushes the LNP
- Annastacia Palaszczuk’s win shows popularity of Queensland border closure
- Labor premier is now Australia’s first female leader to have won three elections
- Retirees worried about COVID-19 could see coastal seats swing to Labor Party
- Opposition LNP banking on Townsville gains with a tough teen curfew policy
- Former Labor deputy premier Jackie Trad set to lose South Brisbane to Greens
Annastacia Palaszczuk has defiantly claimed victory with a message to critics of Queensland’s tough border closure.
The Labor Premier’s side scored a four per cent swing in its favour and looks likely to have a majority again, despite being in power now for almost six years, as the Sunshine State rejected the Liberal National Party’s calls to relax COVID-19 restrictions.
Wearing pink, Ms Palaszczuk had a message for critics of Queensland’s border closure, from her New South Wales Liberal counterpart Gladys Berejiklian to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
‘We stood strong Queensland, we stared down our critics,’ she said.
She acknowledged the border closures had been difficult for those who couldn’t see loved ones as she claimed victory shortly before 10.30pm Queensland time.
‘It has not been an easy your for many, many people,’ she said.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has defiantly claimed victory with a message to critics of Queensland’s tough border closure
Wearing pink, Ms Palaszczuk had a message for critics of Queensland’s border closure, from her New South Wales Liberal counterpart Gladys Berejiklian to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. She is pictured in her Inala electorate in Brisbane’s south with her mother Laurel
‘For many Queenslanders, I know it’s been an incredibly tough year.
‘It’s been tough not being able to see your family and friends in other states or even around the world.’
‘COVID has taken an incredible toll and I want to thank Queenslanders for the work you’ve done.’
This was also Australia’s first ever state election contest between two female leaders, with Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington conceding defeat at exactly the same time as the Premier claimed victory – breaking convention.
‘It was a much more respectful debate,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
Ms Frecklington apologised to the LNP party faithful for failing to win the election, with her party set to have less seats in Parliament than the 2017 election, leaving it in the political wilderness as new four-year terms come into effect.
‘I’m sorry we didn’t get there but I’m just so grateful to each and every one of you,’ she said.
‘This was not our time but our time will come and we will get Queensland working again.’
The Labor Premier’s side scored a four per cent swing in its favour and looks likely to have a majority again, despite being in power now for almost six years, as the Sunshine State rejected the Liberal National Party’s calls to relax COVID-19 restrictions
Annastacia Palaszczuk’s likely election win tonight would give her a mandate to keep Queensland closed to Sydney and Melbourne to contain coronavirus
ABC election analyst Antony Green declared a Labor victory less than four hours after polls closed – with retiree-heavy electorates switching to the ALP.
Seats to watch
Pumicestone, covering Bribie Island north of Brisbane: LNP 0.8 per cent
Townsville: Labor 0.4 per cent
Mundingburra: Labor 1.1 per cent
South Brisbane: Labor 3.6 per cent where former deputy premier Jackie Trad faces strong Greens challenge
Caloundra, Sunshine Coast: LNP 3.4 per cent
‘The LNP can’t form government, there is nothing other than the Labor Party being returned,’ he said.
Older Queenslanders worried about coronavirus have endorsed Labor’s border closure with the government having a massive 11 per cent primary vote swing to it in the ultra-marginal LNP seat of Pumicestone, taking in Bribie Island, north of Brisbane.
Labor is also ahead in the LNP-held Sunshine Coast seat of Caloundra, which the ALP has never held before, and had an earlier lead in the Gold Coast electorate of Currumbin on the Queensland-New South Wales border.
The ALP also had an edge in Hervey Bay, another retiree electorate near Fraser Island, which it lost in 2009.
There, Labor had a nine per cent swing in its favour.
With storms stopping counting in 20 polling booths, 10 seats remained in doubt three hours after polls closed in Australia’s first state election during this pandemic.
The Greens however are set to end the political career of former Labor deputy premier Jackie Trad in South Brisbane with an 8.7 per cent swing against her in the cosmopolitan, inner-city electorate.
The One Nation vote has also fallen by 5.8 per cent across the state while the LNP’s controversial curfew plan for teenagers has failed to see it pick up any seats from Labor in Townsville, despite Ms Frecklington campaigning hard on law and order in north Queensland.
The LNP’s deputy leader Tim Mander conceded the Opposition had all but lost as Labor capitalised on the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘It’s extremely difficult to win from here,’ he told the ABC.
‘It’s very difficult to get oxygen during a crisis. The government has milked it extremely well.’
With more than a third of the vote counted, the ABC at 10.43pm AEDT (or 9.43pm Queensland time), was giving Labor 47 seats, enough for a majority, with the Greens also ahead in the inner-city seat of Cooper, where tourism minister Kate Jones is retiring.
Former LNP premier Campbell Newman, who previously held the seat of Cooper when it was known as Ashgrove, said Ms Frecklington, a junior minister in his one-term government, was vulnerable even in the party’s heartland.
‘Take the Gold Coast – Currumbin might be under threat tonight,’ he told Sky News.
The ABC was earlier projecting a 4.6 per cent swing towards it in Currumbin where former LNP member Jann Stuckey’s husband Richard Stuckey is running as an independent and preferencing Labor in a bid to defeat the LNP’s Laura Gerber.
Federal Liberal Industry Minister Karen Andrews, who holds a Gold Coast seat, said older voters who don’t normally vote Labor backed Ms Palaszczuk’s border closure.
‘The older demographic are feeling safe with the borders closed and they may have swung to Annastacia Palaszczuk,’ she told the ABC.
‘Annastacia Palaszczuk has picked up some reward for the way she has dealt with the health issue and that was front of mind for many people.’
ABC election analyst Antony Green had a 4.9 per cent two-party swing to Labor in Caloundra, where former LNP minister Mark McArdle is retiring.
The Labor Premier is set to make history as the first-ever female political leader to triumph at three elections, thanks to the support of retirees worried about COVID-19
Opposition Leader Deb Freckington has largely backed Labor’s border closure, apart from criticising the premier in September for stopping 26-year-old Canberra nurse Sarah Caisip from attending her father Bernard Prendergast’s Brisbane funeral
Queensland Labor senator Murray Watt said Labor was targeting Caloundra which has ‘a very big retiree community’.
Women leaders in government
Rosemary Follett, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Terrritory: May 1989 to December 1989; June 1991 to March 1995
Carmen Lawrence, Premier of Western Australia: February 1990 to February 1993
Joan Kirner, Premier of Victoria: August 1990 to October 1992
Kate Carnell, Chief Minister of the ACT: March 1995 to October 2000
Clare Martin, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory: August 2001 to November 2007
Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland: September 2007 to March 2012
Kristina Keneally, Premier of New South Wales: December 2009 to March 2011
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia: June 2010 to June 2013
Lara Giddings, Premier of Tasmania: January 2011 to March 2014
Katy Gallagher, Chief Minister of the ACT: May 2011 to December 2014
Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland: since February 2015
Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of NSW: since January 2017
The ABC had Labor getting a 11.2 per cent primary vote swing to it in the ultra-marginal LNP seat of Pumicestone, translating into a 7.8 per cent two-party swing.
Former Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson said Ms Palaszczuk was likely to win a majority in her own right in the 93-seat Parliament.
‘I think she’s going to bolt in. This is going to be a very good win for her,’ he told Sky News.
A Labor victory tonight has made Ms Palaszczuk the first Queensland premier to win a third straight term since Peter Beattie in 2004.
Saturday’s Queensland election is also the first state poll conducted during the coronavirus pandemic and Australia’s first ever state election where both major party leaders are women.
Former Labor deputy premier Jackie Trad, however, has lost her inner-city South Brisbane electorate to the Greens with the ABC projecting a 8.7 per cent swing to them.
Until a series of political scandals, Ms Trad from Labor’s dominant Left faction was considered the most likely to succeed Ms Palaszczuk as premier.
Amy MacMahon, who has won South Brisbane for the Greens, said: ‘We know people are fed up with Labor and the LNP.’
Former LNP leader and treasurer Tim Nicholls is also in trouble in his Brisbane inner-north seat of Clayfield, with the ABC showing a 2.9 per cent swing to Labor with Greens preferences.
Education Minister Grace Grace is also in doubt in her Brisbane inner-north seat of McConnel, with Labor, the LNP and the Greens having similar primary votes.
Labor has campaigned strongly on the border closure but as Sunshine State voters went to the polls, neighbouring NSW recorded just one locally-acquired case of COVID-19.
The LNP was polling better in Townsville than the state’s south-east corner but is now unlikely to win that seat of Labor.
A Labor victory tonight has made Ms Palaszczuk the first Queensland premier to win a third straight term since Peter Beattie in 2004. Pictured is her father Henry Palaszczuk who was a minister in the Beattie government
Labor also had swings to it in the neighbouring suburban marginal seats of Mundingburra and Thuringowa, despite the Opposition campaigning strongly on law and order in that part of north Queensland.
Griffith University political lecturer Paul Williams, who is based in Brisbane, said older voters and retirees had backed Labor’s border closure.
‘That’s the received wisdom that older Queenslanders may in fact be grateful that their premier has protected them,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Saturday.
‘It won’t be the most pivotal factor or demographic but it’s one of several that may see a swing to Labor.’
Ms Freckington has largely backed Labor’s border closure, apart from criticising the premier in September for stopping 26-year-old Canberra nurse Sarah Caisip from attending her father Bernard Prendergast’s Brisbane funeral.
The LNP instead focused on its efforts on winning three marginal Labor-held seats in Townsville with a plan to fine parents $250 if their children, aged up to 17, were outside after 10pm. Kids under 15 would have to be inside by 8pm.
When Ms Palaszczuk took over as Queensland Labor leader in March 2012, the party had just seven MPs.
Her former boss Anna Bligh had been decimated at the polls, giving the LNP under Mr Newman 78 seats in an 89-seat Parliament for Australia’s biggest ever majority.
Ms Palaszczuk was considered an accidental premier in February 2015 but that is certainly not the case now.