Over the weekend the LNP and its leader from outside of parliament, Campbell Newman swept to power in Queensland to take the government benches in an embarrassing rout of an on the nose Bligh Labor Government.
STATE OF THE PARLIAMENT
LNP- 77 predicted according to http://www.abc.net.au/elections/qld/2012/
ALP- 8 predicted according to http://www.abc.net.au/elections/qld/2012/
Katter’s Australian Party- 2 predicted according to http://www.abc.net.au/elections/qld/2012/
Independent MPs- 2 predicted according to http://www.abc.net.au/elections/qld/2012/
The swing away from the ALP was over 15%, a monumental shift in the ALP vote which created this historic state of affairs for the amalgamated LNP, its first election victory as a united force.
MINISTERS KNOCKED OFF
By far the biggest scalp claimed by the LNP on election night was that of the Deputy Premier and Treasurer and MLA for Mount Coot-tha. The new LNP member for this seat will be the giant killer, Saxon Rice. Andrew Fraser was considered by many in the ALP to be a future Labor leader.
Another big scalp comes in the form of the Minister for Education and Industrial Relations, Cameron Dick, the member for Greenslopes, set to be replaced by police officer Ian Kaye. Cameron Dick was also considered future ALP leader material in the post-Bligh era along with the former Deputy Premier and Treasurer.
The latest Queensland Labor Health Minister and representative in the seat of Ferny Grove, after the number of issues facing Queensland Health and as a result of the massive statewide swing also lost his seat. Geoff Wilson will be succeeded by Dale Shuttleworth of the LNP as the member for the suburban seat.
Stirling Hinchliffe was another Bligh Government minister knocked off in the most extraordinary of nights in Queensland politics. The Minister for Employment, Skills and Mining was beaten by the LNP candidate, medical specialist Chris Davis.
Tourism Minister Jan Jarratt lost her idyllic seat of Whitsunday in north Queensland to Jason Costigan of the LNP.
The Minister for Women, Karen Struthers lost her seat of Algester to Anthony Shorten of the LNP, unable to fend off the huge swing against the ALP in the result that was much worse than just about any commentator expected.
Phil Reeves, the Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Sport was beaten by long-time lawyer Ian Walker in the seat of Mansfield. Mr Reeves was on a margin of 4.4% and his seat was always set to go when the swing required for the LNP to take the government benches was more than that required for Mr Walker to win Mansfield.
Sam Cox of the LNP appears to have beaten Craig Wallace the Minister for Main Roads, Fisheries and Marine Infrastructure in the Townsville-based electorate of Thuringowa, achieving a swing of over 9%.
Finally, the Minister for the Environment, Vicky Darling was beaten in what was quite a surprise with the member for Sandgate prior to Saturday night sitting on a margin of over 12%. The swing in the electorate was similar to the statewide swing and the new LNP member for the seat of Sandgate will be Kerry Millard.
THE OUTGOING PREMIER RESIGNS
The morning after the phenomenal result for the LNP, the outgoing Labor Premier Anna Bligh held a press conference where she announced, after promising to stay on, that she would vacate the seat of South Brisbane and the parliament to allow for renewal in the ALP.
This leaves the electorate facing a by-election sometime in the near future which they will not particularly like and does put the seat at some risk in a by-election of falling to the LNP and combined with people’s dislike of by-elections.
SEARCH FOR A LEADER
After the electoral defeat and the resignation of Anna Bligh from the parliament, the ALP will now search, among their 7 or 8 MPs for a leader to take the party forward. With such a low number of seats in the parliament, chances are that the leader will not last until the party is again in an election winning position.
The talk is that the ALP may elect Annastacia Palaszczuk from the electorate of Inala, a minister in the former Bligh Government or even Curtis Pitt the former Minister for Disability Services, Mental Health and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships as Opposition Leader.
A “stop-gap” leader is a real possibility too as is someone of relative youth with some experience like Curtis Pitt when opposition seems a reality for some time yet.
This coming Saturday Queensland will go to the polls with a landslide victory for the LNP a certainty after polls have failed to budge for a significant period of time. Pundits say that the ALP, on the latest polling could see their number of seats in the Queensland Parliament reduced to as little as 12 seats.
Aside from the fact that this would mean a substantial number of backbenchers and new candidates in ALP incumbent seats losing their position or not gaining a spot in the parliament, the polls indicate that a number of Bligh Government ministers are also at risk of losing their seats come Saturday night after polls close.
So just what are the chances of those ministers who will be continuing with their political career at least until after this election has run its course?
Andrew Fraser, if he loses the seat of Mount Coot-tha would be the biggest scalp that the LNP could claim in what is expected to be one of the biggest election victories for a political party in the history of the state of Queensland. Mr Fraser is the current Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for State Development and Trade, the highest profile candidate in real danger of losing his seat to Saxon Rice of the LNP.
The Deputy Premier and Treasurer holds the electorate of Mount Coot-tha by a margin which is just 0.7% above the swing needed for the LNP to take the reins of government from the ALP.
This is certainly winnable for Saxon Rice and the LNP who have been ahead in the polls there since last year, recently polling 56.1% to the ALP’s 43.9 2-party-preferred in a poll conducted by ReachTel.
The unknown factor is whether a high Greens vote for Adam Stone will see the incumbent over the line.
MY PICK: Saxon Rice.
The Minister for Health and Member for Ferny Grove has been embattled for some time, struggling to deal with entrenched problems at Queensland Health including waiting lists, a pay debacle and a fake Tahitian prince who allegedly defrauded the department of millions of dollars. This led to an announcement by Premier Anna Blight that the department would be split into two separate bodies, one covering frontline services and the other corporate affairs.
Geoff Wilson holds the seat of Ferny Grove on a slender margin of 4.5%, that is 0.1% below the swing required for an LNP Government. Mr Wilson will face Dale Shuttleworth of the LNP who looks almost certain to win, save for a very good showing by the Greens.
MY PICK: Dale Shuttleworth.
Craig Wallace is the Minister for Main Roads, Fisheries, and Marine Infrastructure and the member for Thuringowa, an electorate based around Townsville in Far North Queensland.
Mr Wallace has consistently been rated as one of the poorest performers in the Bligh Government. He sits in a safe Labor seat with a margin of 8.5% but his position still could be lost to the LNP candidate Sam Cox, particularly after the swing at the last election if that is any indication of the prospects of this under-performing minister. The seat also entirely envelops the federal electorate of Herbert which is held by Ewen Jones of the LNP.
MY PICK: Sam Cox.
Cameron Dick is the Minister for Education and Industrial Relations in the Queensland Parliament and the MLA for the seat of Greenslopes, an inner suburban electorate.
Mr Dick holds this seat by a margin of 6.9% and is more than under threat of losing it at the election, facing defeat at the hands of long-term policeman and LNP candidate Ian Kaye who received a 4.5% to him when contesting this seat at the 2009 election when Anna Bligh and the ALP were returned.
MY PICK: Ian Kaye.
Tim Mulherin is the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies and the sitting member for the seat of Mackay. Mr Mulherin holds this seat by a margin of 16.7%, making Mackay a very safe Labor seat.
Mr Mulherin faces LNP candidate John Kerslake who is likely to erode some of the margin of the incumbent ALP minister.
MY PICK: Tim Mulherin with a much reduced margin.
Stirling Hinchliffe is the Minister for Employment, Skills and Mining in the Bligh Government and the current MLA for the electorate of Stafford near Brisbane. Mr Hinchliffe holds this safe Labor seat by a margin of 7.3% but there will certainly be a major contest for this seat between Mr Hinchliffe and his LNP opponent, Chris Davis.
The electorate of Stafford shares its constituency between the federal Labor held electorate of Lilley and the LNP held seat of Brisbane.
MY PICK: Despite the margin, Chris Davis may well pick this one up, a suburban Brisbane seat that has changed in complexion but it will be a very close contest.
Rachel Nolan is the Minister for Finance, Natural Resources and the Arts and the member for the seat of Ipswich, near Brisbane. This electorate is a very safe Labor seat with a margin of 16.7%.
This seat, regardless of the immense margin required to clinch it by the LNP candidate Ian Berry will be one to watch because of the massive upset that a poll conducted by ReachTel seems to predict. This poll shows that the LNP candidate Mr Berry would win, polling 59.4% to 40.6% for Rachel Nolan. The sample size however is small so may not be so indicative of voting intentions.
MY PICK: Ian Berry in a marginal victory.
Annastacia Palaszczuk is the current Minister for Transport and Multicultural Affairs and MLA for the electorate of Inala, a working class suburb that the electorate is named after and based upon.
The minister and MLA for Inala holds this seat by a margin of 21.5% which even in a complete electoral massacre will not be eclipsed. Her LNP opponent is Joanna Lindgren.
MY PICK: Annastacia Palaszczuk by a significant though reduced margin.
Phil Reeves is the current Minister for Child Safety and Sport and the incumbent for the seat of Mansfield in the outer suburbs of Brisbane. Mr Reeves holds this seat on a slender margin of 4.4% and has been running an intensely local campaign with almost no mention of the Labor brand save for some red signs around the electorate which bear the party name but not the logo.
Phil Reeves faces lawyer Ian Walker of the LNP and looks set to lose this seat after lacklustre performance after poor performance since becoming the MLA for Mansfield.
The margin of 4.4% is 0.2% lower than the absolute minimum swing required by the LNP to form government which will certainly be eclipsed by a substantial margin statewide.
MY PICK: Ian Walker in a canter.
Karen Struthers is the Minister for Community Services, Housing and Minister for Women and the MLA for the seat of Algester, based on the suburb that gives the electorate its name.
The LNP candidate for the electorate is Anthony Shorten who faces a task of eclipsing a margin of 9.2%.
The 8.6% swing that the LNP achieved at the last election in Algester in 2009 will give heart to the LNP candidate that he is in with a shot of taking the seat.
MY PICK: Karen Struthers to retain but by a fairly narrow margin.
Jan Jarratt is the current Minister for Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business and the MLA for the electorate of Whitsunday. The member for Whitsunday holds this seat with a slender margin of 3.2%.
Jan Jarratt is up against Jason Costigan of the LNP.
MY PICK: Jason Costigan should win this easily.
Simon Finn is the current Minister for Government Services, Building Industry and Information and Communication Technology and the MLA for Yeerongpilly. This electorate has a margin of 8.7%.
Simon Finn is up against the LNP candidate Carl Judge.
MY PICK: Simon Finn is considered by many to be an invisible member in his electorate and though the margin is safe for Labor this will probably go down to the wire on Saturday night. Either candidate by a small margin.
Curtis Pitt is the current Minister for Disability Services, Mental Health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. Mr Pitt is the sitting MLA for Mulgrave, holding the safe Labor seat with a margin of 8.1%.
Polls have the LNP candidate Robyn Quick ahead of the sitting ALP MLA but also have the Katter’s Australian Party candidate, Damian Byrnes polling well which could impact significantly on the result in this electorate.
MY PICK: Curtis Pitt to hold on with a possible surprise packet in the KAP candidate.
Vicky Darling is the current Minister for the Environment and the sitting member in the electorate of Sandgate, a seaside part of Queensland, less than an hour from Brisbane.
This seat is consider very safe Labor with a margin of 12.4%. Vicky Darling is up against Kerry Millard of the LNP.
MY PICK: Vicky Darling to win but with a much reduced margin.