The Queensland Labor Party has made an astonishing return in the election count as voters have rounded on Campbell Newman’s LNP government after just one term.
Counting ended on Saturday night with Labor leading the race to form government by around three seats from the LNP.
At 11pm, the ALP had 43 seats, the LNP 40, with 3 seats still in doubt.
Two hours into the count, with just under half the votes counted, the swing to the ALP was nearly 13%, putting them within reach of seizing power after being reduced to just 7 seats at the 2012 election. Labor needs a swing of 12% to form government.
Police minister Jack Dempsey lost the seat of Bundaberg to Labor’s Leanne Donaldson with a swing of more than 22%. In Ipswich, a swing of 21% saw traditional Labor seat return to them from the LNP.
The staggering turnaround has also brought an end of the state political career of premier Campbell Newman after just one term.
Newman has lost the seat of Ashgrove to Labor’s Kate Jones, who held Ashgrove previously. Jones claimed the seat before 10pm with a swing of 10.4%, having outpolled Newman on the primary vote too. Jones sits at 54.9% to Newman’s 45.1% on preferences, with around 75% of the vote counted.
The ALP has gathered first preference votes higher than pre-polling predicted, giving them a much stronger result.
With around 60% of the vote counted at 10pm, the ABC was predicting 45 seats to Labor, 41 to the LNP, with 3 independents.
With the LNP behind in the seats still in doubt, Anthony Green predicted there was no chance of the LNP forming a majority government.
The poor showing of the LNP in Queensland will add to the pressure on prime minister Tony Abbott as nervous federal Conservatives, who face an election next year.
Speaking on ABC News24, Liberal MP for Ryan Jane Prentice said “we can’t continue as we are”, saying Monday’s National Press Club address by the PM was “make or break” for his leadership.
Whether Abbott could continue as leader was “a discussion we need to look at” Prentice said.
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