Last night’s Queensland election result has been described as one of the biggest surprises in the state’s political history.
Labor, which pulled off a double-digit swing in the Queensland election, now sits poised to claim 45 – enough to form government – or 46 of the 89 seats, after going into the polls yesterday holding just nine seats.
As for Premier Campbell Newman, “my political career is over”, he said late last night.
After thanking his voters and congratulating his opponent in the seat of Ashgrove, which he lost to Kate Jones, Newman gave a scathing response to Labor voters.
“The times that we are living in are uncertain… Over the last three years we’ve had to make some very important decisions for this state. They were necessary and I do truly believe that they have put Queensland in a far better place,” he said.
“I just say this, ladies and gentlemen: When the history of this government is written, people should look long and hard at a political team who did the hard yards and didn’t bitch and moan. They got on with the job because they knew they were doing the right thing for Queensland.
“So to all those who lost their seats, I am sensationally proud of you. I just wish the community knew that you were all men and women of conviction and I wish you the very best in your future career.”
Aside from the party’s federal issues, the Newman government’s proposed asset sales to pay off debt, cuts to the public service, health, education and the former Premier’s all-cation personality all played a part in his ousting.
Following the result Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss sent out a warning to fellow politicians: no government is safe.
“Queenslanders have now demonstrated a preparedness for volatility and I don’t think any government anywhere can ever, after this result consider themselves to be safe and that is a good message that all governments should learn.”
All eyes will now be on the impact this result has on the federal government – and in particular Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Yesterday Fairfax Media revealed that former Howard government cabinet minister Mal Brough was being urged to challenge Abbott for the prime ministership.
And unlike ministers Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull, Brough has not denied the option: “Clearly people are talking to each other because we are all interested in doing what’s best for the nation.”
Last night, Queensland-based federal government backbencher Jane Prentice said Abbott may not be the right person to lead the Coalition to the next election.
“Well, that’s a discussion, isn’t it? We need to look at where we’re going,” she said during an interview with the ABC.
“Tony has said he has listened and learned. He is making a keynote speech on Monday at the press club [and] we can’t continue as we are. We are not taking the people with us. We are getting bad feedback.”
She is the second in the party to highlight the importance of Abbott’s National Press Club speech, following Bishop’s comments that it would be Abbott’s chance to make a comeback.
Here’s the official result thus far from the Queensland electoral commission.
Read more here.
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