The rout in Queensland

February 1st, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

When Campbell Newman won Queensland in 2012 with a 62% share of the two party preferred vote and 78 seats to 7 for Labor, the only question was whether they would do two or three terms, or more. The thought of Labor winning in 2015 from a base of seven seats was unthinkable.

Yet they are on the brink of doing that. Campbell Newman has lost his seat and Labor have 42 seats to 40 for LNP. You need 45 to govern and three are undecided so Labor just needs two out of three to govern.

Newman’s government pursued hardline policies that alienated Queenslanders. They failed to carry the people with them. What happened in Queensland is what would have happened in NZ if the Key Government had used the financial crisis to break its promises and slash spending (as opposed to restrain it’s growth). You get a one term Government that doesn’t get to have any enduring policy legacy.

The result was mainly a referendum on the Newman Government, but Abbott’s unpopularity would not have helped. He did not campaign there at all. This result increases the pressure on his caucus to make a change unless they also want to be a one term Government. Malcolm Turnbull is very popular with the public, and if the caucus chose him (which is unlikely) they would have a better than even chance of surviving.

Abbott has a major media speech to the Press Club on Monday. We should see after that speech what is likely to happen.

Queensland’s new Premier

March 28th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

This is new Queensland Premier Campbell Newman on election night. Now recall that Labor Premier Anna Bligh launched a massive smear campaign against Newman and his wife’s family. She even said that Newman would end up in jail.

At 5:20 see what he says about Bligh. It is:

I want to acknowledge and thank the Premier for her service to Queensland and particularly I think it is appropriate this evening that we all thank her and particularly acknowledge her inspirational leadership during the 2011 floods and Cyclone Yasi

A very good start to his new job. He would have had every reason to be bitter about her smear campaign against him, but he rose above it.

Hat Tip: Andrew Bolt

The satisfaction of throwing out a despised Government

March 27th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I have said many times that overall MMP is significantly superior to FPP. But the recent slaughter in Queensland reminds us of something that you don’t get under MMP – the satisfaction of seeing a despised Government crushed at an election.

Australian Labor won only 7 out of 89 seats, despite winning 27% of the vote. Now this is certainly unfair in terms of proportinality. But in terms of teaching a Government a lesson (being don’t lie and don’t run dirty smear campaigns), MMP reduces the impact of losing the public favour. You can’t actually throw out the top Ministers, as they did in Queensland, as they would all remain safe on the party list.

In fact under MMP it is possible Labor could have retained power in Queensland if they did a deal with Bob Katter.

Again don’t get me wrong, MMP is better than FPP overall. But I do miss losing the ability to really punish a Government as they have just done in Queensland.

The great Queensland massacre

March 25th, 2012 at 11:22 am by David Farrar

Two seats are still in doubt, but they will not change the scale of the slaughter in Queensland. Labor were hoping to retain at least 20 seats, but they look to have gone from 51 seats to seven seats.  This means they do not automatically get recognised as an official party in the Queensland Parliament, with access to offices, staff and resources.

The LNP will have 78 out of 89 seats. Bob Katter’s Australia Party got two, and others got two.

In terms of primary vote Labor dropped 15.7% to 26.6% – around what NZ Labour got in our 2011 election. Instant run-off voting is harsher on losing parties, than MMP is.

The LNP got a very high 49.7% primary vote.  The Katter Party got 11.6% – more than the Greens on 7.6%.

Too early to know the two party preferred results but it may be over 60% for the LNP. Commentators have said that many of those who defected from Labor to Katter did not rank any candidate beyond their first, so their votes were exhausted, rather than preference back to Labor.

Labor look to be in opposition for at least two, maybe three, elections in Queensland (unless some major scandal).  They ran a dirty negative campaign against new Premier Campbell Newman, with former Premier Anna Bligh even declaring he will end up in jail over his business dealings.

Federal Labor also look set next year to run a similar campaign. Their only slogan will be to stop Tony Abbott. When Rudd challenged for the leadership, that was all he could talk about.

I saw concession speeches by Anna Bligh and Kate Jones (who lost her seat to Newman). Both seemed to me to be quite arrogant and defiant, with little of the contrition you would expect for such a massacre.  Left politicians always seem to retreat into talk of how proud they are of their values, as if other politicians are not. Jones was thought to be a potential replacement for Bligh, but is now out of Parliament. She is fairly typical of modern politics – elected at age 27 after working as a media advisor to two Ministers, and married to Bligh’s former media advisor. These career politicians tend to be very skilled at politics, but do not always have a lot of experience of the world outside politics.

The next elections in Australia are Northern Territory by August 2012 and ACT in October 2012 but hey are  of little importance. The only state election before the federal election is Western Australia in March 2013. The Liberal Party is currently 18% ahead of the Labor opposition there so a change of Govt is unlikely.

The vote in Queensland was primarily on state issues, but the scale of it will have Labor nervous, especially with NSW having had such a strong result also. If this sort of swing happened in the federal election, even Kevin Rudd would lose his safe seat.

Tony Abbott was on TV this morning saying that the Coalition will repeal the carbon tax, no buts and no ifs. When asked about the Senate, he said that he doubts Labor will want to be punished twice over the carbon tax but if they blocked it in the Senate he would do a double dissolution election.

Queensland Election

March 22nd, 2009 at 1:50 pm by David Farrar

Labor’s string of victories in Queensland continues. Anna Bligh has won them a fifth consecutive term.

Despite polls showing Labor behind, they have lost only 6 seats so far with 70% of the vote counted. Their electoral system has helped them as they are only 1.6% ahead on the primary vote.

Labor look to have 53 out of 89 seats. They had a majority of 34 and it has dropped to 19 – still pretty comfortable.

Labour have ruled for all bar one period since Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s 19 year resign. The Nationals won all eleven election from 1957 to 1986. Sir Joh was then forced out of office and the recent elections have been:

1986 Nat/Lib 59 to Lab 30
1989 Lab 54 to Nat/Lib 35
1992 Lab 54 to Nat/Lib 35
1995 Lab 45 to Nat/Lib 43 + 1 Ind. A by-election saw power transfer to Nat/Lib
1998 Lab 44 to Nat/Lib 32 and One Nation 11 (plus 2 Inds)
2001 Lab 66 to Nat/Lib 15 (One Nation 3 and 5 Inds)
2004 Lab 63 to Nat/Lib 20 (One Nation 1 and 5 Inds)
2006 Lab 59 to Nat/Lib 25 (One Nation 1 and 4 Inds)
2009 Lab 53 to Nat/Lib 32 (4 Inds)

On the positive side, Pauline Hanson got only 22% of the vote, and has retired from politics.