The rout in Queensland

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 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.

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