By SAS Group Consultant Jonathan Pavetto
Following the Queensland election on Saturday, it remains unclear who will form government.
While voting continues, neither Labor nor the LNP have a majority to govern outright. Three seats are too close to call, but it appears that neither party will receive the required 45 seats to form a majority government.
In the event of a hung parliament, either the Labor Party or LNP will require the support of two Katter Australia Party MPs and maybe the Independent MP from the Sunshine Coast to form government.
Counting continues in many seats across Queensland, particularly as postal votes are returned, which can take up to 10 days before a result is known. In some seats, the postal vote count is very high – up to 25%, which should favour the LNP over Labor in many key seats.
A very large LNP postal vote could also swing some seats to the LNP that have been previously declared for Labor. These seats include Barron River, Mundingburra, Brisbane Central, Pumicestone, Springwood, Ferny Grove and Mount Coot-tha. Any change in these seats could drastically alter the outcome of the election.
Seats too close to call
The state electorate of Maryborough in the Wide Bay region has frequently changed between the Liberal Party, the Nationals, Labor, One Nation and various independent MPs. At the last election, the LNP received a swing of 9.97% to claim the seat from independent Chris Foley.
With 77.87% of the vote counted, the Labor candidate, Bruce Saunders leads the LNP's Anne Maddern. The swing against the LNP in Maryborough was 3.4%, less than the 8.8% experienced statewide. Due to uncertain preference flows from a large number of candidates and exhausted preferences, it is unclear if this seat will be retained by the LNP or gained by the Labor party.
The southern Brisbane electorate of Mansfield has traditionally moved with the government of the day. At the last election, the LNP received a swing of 15.5% to claim the seat from the long-time Labor member and then Assistant Minister to the Premier, Phil Reeves.
With 76.30% of the vote counted, the LNP candidate and current Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, Ian Walker leads the Labor Party's Adam Obied. The swing against the LNP in Mansfield was 10%, larger than the 8.8% experienced statewide. Despite a relatively high Greens vote (8.8%), which will mostly favor Labor, the LNP is expected to retain Mansfield.
The state electorate of Whitsunday is a rural seat, centered on the sugarcane-growing town of Proserpine and the tourist hub of Airlie Beach. For nearly 50 years, the seat had been a safe Country Party/Nationals seat. Labor won the seat in 1989 and held it for every term since but one, until the last election. At the last election, the LNP received a swing of 14.1% to claim the seat from Labor's then Minister for Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business, Jan Jarratt.
With 76.08% of the vote counted, the LNP candidate, Jason Costigan leads Labor's Bronwyn Taha. The swing against the LNP in Whitsunday was 10.5%, greater than the 8.8% experienced statewide. Due to a high Palmer United Party vote and the absence of a Katter's Australia Party candidate, it is unclear where preference will flow between the LNP and Labor candidates. The LNP should hold the seat.
Robbie Katter – Katter's Australian Party
37 year-old is the son of local federal MP Bob Katter. Robbie Katter worked in the mining industry and as a property valuer before standing for local council in 2008. He was elected to state parliament at the 2012 election and is state leader of the Katter's Australian Party. Katter received a 9.6% swing to him at the election.
Shane Knuth – Katter's Australian Party
Aged 48, Knuth is a former welder with Queensland Rail and the brother of former One Nation MP and fellow Katter candidate Jeff Knuth. Shane Knuth contested the newly created seat of Dalrymple in 2008, defeating One Nation MP for Tablelands Rosa Lee Long. Knuth announced resigned from the LNP in October 2011 and was re-elected in 2012 as a member of Katter's Australian Party. Knuth received a 1.4% swing to him at the election.
Peter Wellington – Independent
57 year-old Wellington was a local Maroochy Shire councillor who snuck between Labor, One Nation and the National Party to win Nicklin at the 1998 election, defeating National MP Neil Turner. With the overall election outcome inconclusive, Wellington found himself with the critical vote in determining the fate of government, Labor having finished one seat short of a majority. With Wellington's vote he assisted Peter Beatie's ascension to the Premiership. Wellington was easily re-elected at the 2001 election, doubling his primary vote, and has been re-elected at each election since. Wellington received an 11% swing to him at the election.