Annastacia Palaszczuk’s is on track to claim an historic election victory but the result could be delayed after 20 booths stopped the vote count because of storms.
With polls now closed, 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.
Early counting showed Labor ahead in the Sunshine Coast seat of Caloundra, which Labor has never held before, and in the Gold Coast electorate of Currumbin on the Queensland-New South Wales border.
The Opposition Liberal National Party, however, is polling strongly in Townsville and far north Queensland.
If Labor fails to win a majority in its own right, the Greens would be likely to help it form a minority government, with the hard-left party tipped to hold up to three seats.
Adding to the drama, Sky News reports 20 booths have been closed because of storms.
As Sunshine State voters went to the polls, neighbouring NSW recorded just one locally-acquired case of COVID-19.
Annastacia Palaszczuk’s likely election win tonight would give her a mandate to keep Queensland closed to Sydney and Melbourne to contain coronavirus
Griffith University political lecturer Paul Williams, who is based in Brisbane, said older voters and retirees had backed Labor’s border closure.
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
‘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.’
Labor is hoping to regain the ultra-marginal Liberal National Party-held retiree seat of Pumicestone, covering Bribie Island north of Brisbane, and possibly the marginal LNP seat of Caloundra, on the Sunshine Coast, which has never voted Labor.
ABC election analyst Antony Green said Labor was ahead in Caloundra in early counting with a 4.5 per cent two-party preferred swing to the ALP.
Queensland Labor senator Murray Watt said Labor was targeting Caloundra which has ‘a very big retiree community’.
Former LNP premier Campbell Newman told Sky News Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington was unlikely to win tonight’s election and could even be vulnerable in the Gold Coast border seat of Currumbin on the Queensland-NSW border.
‘Take the Gold Coast – Currumbin might be under threat tonight,’ he said.
Labor was only ahead in Currumbin, with the ABC projecting a 4.6 per cent swing towards it.
Saturday’s Queensland election is also the first state poll conducted during the coronavirus pandemic and the first ever where both major party leaders are women.
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.
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
Townsville, Mundingburra and Thuringowa are held on margins of 0.4 per cent, 1.1 per cent and 4.1 per cent.
Former Labor deputy premier Jackie Trad, who had been Ms Palaszczuk’s likely successor from the Left faction, looks set to lose her inner-city seat of South Brisbane to the Greens.
This would see the minor party double its number to two and give it the power to decide government policy should Labor need it to form a minority government.
The Greens are also have an outside chance of grabbing the seat of McConnel, in Brisbane’s inner north, held by Education Minister Grace Grace.
A hung parliament could also see Labor call on Noosa independent Sandy Bolton for confidence and supply.
A Labor victory would make Ms Palaszczuk the first Queensland premier to win a third consecutive term since Labor’s Peter Beattie in 2004.
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