Recent events – Queensland 2015

At the 2012 election, the Liberal National Party swept to power after fourteen years of continuous Labor rule. The LNP increased its seats from 31 to 78, while Labor’s seats were cut from 51 to 7. In addition, two seats were won by Katter’s Australian Party, and two seats were won by independents.

Anna Bligh resigned immediately after the election, and the April by-election for her seat of South Brisbane was narrowly won by Labor candidate Jackie Trad, despite a further swing to the LNP on top of the swing at the March election.

Bligh was succeeded as Labor leader, and thus as Leader of the Opposition, by Annastacia Palaszczuk, who had served as a minister since 2009.

In late 2012, the LNP lost three of its members to the crossbench. Ray Hopper, who had held a seat since 2001, switched to Katter’s Australian Party, and was immediately elected as the party’s new state leader for their caucus of three MPs.

In addition, Carl Judge and Alex Douglas both resigned from the LNP to sit as independents. In April 2013, both independent MPs joined Clive Palmer’s newly-created United Australia Party (later renamed Palmer United Party). Douglas led the new party until he resigned as leader and from the party in August 2014 over lack of involvement in preselection of candidates. Carl Judge briefly served as PUP leader but also resigned in October 2014. Both Judge and Douglas now again sit as independents.

Two by-elections in 2014 saw Labor regain two of the seats they had lost at the 2012 election.

Scott Driscoll had won Redcliffe in 2012, but was suspended from the LNP in 2013 due to allegations of financial impropriety. In November 2013, he resigned from Parliament in the face of threats to expel him. The Redcliffe by-election took place in February 2014, and was won by Labor candidate Yvette D’Ath with a 17% swing. D’Ath was a former two-term federal MP who had lost her overlapping federal seat at the 2013 election.

Chris Davis won Stafford for the LNP in 2012. He was appointed Assistant Minister for Health, but came into conflict with many of his colleagues. Davis spoke out against various government policies including the way the government approached the Crime and Misconduct Commission, and proposed electoral law changes. In May 2014, he was sacked as a minister. Ten days later, he resigned from Parliament, triggering a by-election in Stafford for July 2014.

The Stafford by-election was won by Labor’s Anthony Lynham with a 19% swing. This brought the number of Labor MPs in the Parliament up to nine.