QLD election – where we stand


Well that was an interesting election night! Almost one third of seats have a candidate other than Labor or the LNP in the top two, with a few others where a minor party is threatening for the top two. We also have numerous seats where it is very unclear who will come in second place (ala Prahran 2014), so those seats will likely drag on for numerous days.

I thought I’d run through my assessment of where the seats stand, and what information we are lacking for each seat.

Firstly, I estimate that Labor has won 44 seats, the LNP has won 34, and Katter’s Australian Party has won two. This puts Labor three seats short of a majority.

I think Labor has retained 42 of their seats (including regaining Cairns) and gained Aspley and Redlands. I think the LNP has retained 33 of their seats (including winning back Buderim from One Nation) and has gained Nicklin back from retiring independent Peter Wellington.

There are five conventional races which are just very close:

  • Bonney – Labor lead by 10 votes
  • Bundaberg – LNP lead by 201 votes
  • Caloundra – Labor lead by 146 votes (Antony has given this seat to the LNP)
  • Gaven – Labor lead by 462 votes
  • Pumicestone – LNP lead by 263 votes

I’m sure there’ll be more analysis about where votes are outstanding here as the week goes on. As a reminder, three Labor wins in this category would give them a clean majority.

Then there are eight (count it, 8!) seats where there is uncertainty about who finished in the top two or an incorrect preference count meaning we don’t know how preferences will flow.

By my count five of these eight seats cannot be determined until the full distribution of preferences is concluded.

I’ll run through them one at a time.

Thuringowa – likely Labor hold, possible LNP gain

The election night preference count clearly put Labor on 56% against One Nation. It’s not clear whether One Nation or the LNP will come in the top two (this will need to wait for a full preference distribution). If One Nation comes in top two, case closed, it’s a Labor win. If the LNP come in the top two, we don’t know how their preferences will flow, but it’s hard to see the LNP overcoming the Labor lead.

Labor leads the LNP by 11.2% on primary votes, with 35.9% between One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party, and 5.4% for the Greens. If we assume this lead increases to 16% with Greens preferences, the LNP would need about three quarters of the ON/KAP preferences to win. Seems unlikely. Since this won’t be answered without a full preference distribution, we won’t get a final answer on this seat for a while.

Mirani – likely ON gain, possible Labor hold

Labor leads with 36.9% of the primary vote, followed by One Nation on 31.5% and the LNP on 27.4%.

We don’t have a preference count between Labor and One Nation. Presumably that will come today or in the next few days. It seems likely this will put One Nation over the top.

Burdekin – likely LNP gain, possible ON/Labor

I keep coming close to calling this seat for the LNP. We have three candidates effectively tied for first place: LNP on 33.7%, ON on 32.3%, Labor on 31%. As long as the LNP comes in the top two, they should win. We have a clear preference count putting LNP over Labor, and Labor preferences should favour the LNP over One Nation.

The only way the LNP loses is if they drop into third place – the margin for this is 2.7%. Right now I’m keeping it undecided, but don’t expect it to stay that way unless things change.

Cook – likely Labor hold, possible ON/KAP gain

We have effectively a three-way tie for second. Labor leads on 39.3% of the primary vote, followed by One Nation on 18.9%, the LNP on 17.9% and Katter’s Australian Party on 17.6%.

We know Labor wins easily against the LNP. But what happens if KAP or (more likely) ON comes out on top in the three-way tie? It appears that the ECQ is planning to switch its preference count to Labor vs ON which should answer this question.

One Nation would need to close a 20.4% preference gap with 35.5% of votes from the LNP and KAP, which would require a very strong preference flow.

Hinchinbrook – likely KAP gain, possible LNP hold/ON gain

Four candidates have polled between 19% and 30%. The LNP lead on 29.9% of the primary vote, followed by One Nation on 21.9% and KAP on 21.2%, wth Labor fourth on 19.1%.

The ECQ is planning to do a new preference count, presumably between LNP and One Nation. The ABC is reporting a 3.5% margin for KAP over LNP, but it’s not clear if this is a projection or the old preference count. We won’t know the result here until the full preference count is completed.

You’d expect Labor preferences to aid KAP, and they don’t need much to jump ahead of One Nation. At that point, you’d also expect them to do well on One Nation preferences. So we could see a candidate win from third. Or not. Who knows?

Rockhampton – likely IND gain, possible ALP hold/ON gain

Yet another case where we don’t know who the top two candidates are!

Labor leads with 31.8%, followed by ex-Labor independent Margaret Strelow on 23.8%, One Nation on 21.3% and the LNP on 17.6%. LNP preferences will likely decide whether Strelow or One Nation make it to the final count.

We don’t have a current preference count, I expect the ECQ is planning to do one between Labor and Strelow. She would need to close an 8% gap with 38.9% preferences from One Nation and the LNP, which seems very doable. We won’t know for sure until the final preference distribution. Does anyone have insights into how Strelow’s voters would have preferenced One Nation?

Noosa – likely IND gain, possible LNP hold

We know who the top two candidates are in Noosa. Independent Sandy Bolton leads with 32.2% and the LNP trails with 29.8%. We just need a preference count, which I expect to come today or tomorrow. It seems likely Bolton will do well off Greens, Labor and One Nation preferences.

Maiwar – GRN or ALP gain

Finally, the seat of LNP shadow treasurer Scott Emerson. Another seat where we don’t know the top two!

Emerson leads the primary vote on 40.7%, with the Greens second on 28.8% and Labor third on 28.1%. Labor and the Greens are very close, and late counting may change the order. There are also preferences from an independent which could change which of the two progressive parties makes it to the final two. Whoever does should win. We won’t know the final answer until the final distribution of preferences, but this can be counted as a seat which will help Labor form government.

Liked it? Take a second to support the Tally Room on Patreon!


  1. Thanks Ben for the update – as you say a very interesting night! So now its a waiting game to find out the final numbers.

  2. The question over Hinchinbrook to me seems to be whether or not Labor can leapfrog the KAP with Green preferences. If Labor leapfrog Katter then the seat will go to the LNP.

    It’s quite interesting to see how complicated an election can get under this voting system when there are several three or even four party contests in them.

  3. No matter which way it goes, it’s interesting that so many seats will be won by a party with a very low primary vote (lots of 30%s and even into the 20%s).

  4. So One Nation win Mirani, i think that they are still a chance in Keppel, Cook, and Rockhampton, perhaps even Mundingburra where if they are above the LNP they might win.

  5. Owen, that is the reason everyone still has Hinchinbrook in doubt. If Labor moves ahead of KAP, then presumably their preferences flow to the LNP over One Nation and the LNP wins. (It is not, of course, possible for Labor to actually make the final two, because KAP preferences will favour One Nation.)

    Western Australia Party, One Nation cannot win any of the seats that you mention. In Keppel, they would need a ridiculously strong flow from the LNP which they simply won’t get (and that’s if they even stay ahead of the LNP). In Cook, preferences are based on real data which show Labor easily defeating One Nation. In Rockhampton, Margaret Strelow is an ex-Labor member and it is pretty much impossible that her preferences would favour One Nation to anything like the degree required. Mundingburra is the only one where I can see even the slightest possibility of a One Nation victory, but 16.7% is a very, very low vote to win from (almost never done before – McMillan 1972 being the only occasion I can think of, and that involved DLP and inter-Coalition flows which were famously disciplined).

  6. Yes however in Rockhampton there was a big campaign by the put majors last organization and Strelow seems to have gotten a lot of that vote.

  7. Ben, the ECQ has now suspended scrutineering of preferences pending a full count on Tuesday. This means that the only updates will be outstanding postals and absentee votes that haven’t been counted yet.

    Also 1) Townsville isn’t on your list and should be. There are a chunk of outstanding overseas votes to come yet for Townsville and Mundingburra.
    2) Macalister and Logan are both assumed to be Labor seats but the preference flow is interesting.
    3) The ECQ listed 27 seats where the notional preference was incorrect. It should probably be 28 because they list Buderim as a PHON/LNP finish, whereas PHON will probably finish third.

  8. Yep I haven’t been trying to keep track of all the preference counts since I wrote this post on Sunday. You can follow them in depth at Kevin Bonham’s blog or at Poll Bludger.

  9. ALP now get all three Townsville seats … so much for the Nicholls “I won’t concede because On Nation might win those seats” ..

  10. ALP must have wish they had taken decisive action in Townsville when Refinery went belly up. Palmer valued Refinery at virtually nothing. He could have been induced to sell for very little if State Government had taken over the responsibilities and in any case State Government could have told Palmer we are paying $2 if you do not like that we will Nationalize and pay you nothing and a single word of complaint and we will take all other assets you have in Queensland where you are found not to be a good employer. Palmer himself suggested that this was quite acceptable when he suggested that any Hospital sold by Newman would be Nationalized without compensation.

Comments are closed.