26th June 2020

As the Queensland election rapidly approaches, media opinion polls are ramping up but Past Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and QUT Adjunct Associate Professor John Mickel says they fail to factor in the growing popularity of minor parties.

“The election is set for 31 October – Halloween – and could be a nightmare for either major party,” said Professor Mickel.

“The LNP and Labor are struggling to achieve 70 per cent of the primary vote, with more than 30 per cent now being grabbed by minor parties like The Greens, the Katter Australia Party and One Nation.

“Media polls operate on the assumption that all minor parties finish third, but this is not the case.

“That was the outcome at the 2017 election in 66 of the 93 seats but in the other 27, minor parties finished in the top two choices by voters.

“There were 12 seats where the contest was between Labor and One Nation, and another eight in which the LNP was up against One Nation with Labor finishing third.”

QUT Adjunct Associate Professor John Mickel

Professor Mickel said South Brisbane was a prime example, with the LNP running third in a two-party contest between the Labor party and The Greens.

“Meanwhile it’s the reverse in Maiwar in Brisbane inner west. Michael Berkman won the seat for The Greens, but Labor is third choice behind the LNP,” he said. 

“On the Sunshine Coast, Labor often brings up the rear in a head-to-head contest between an Independent and the LNP.

“In the Far North and the west, the LNP runs third to the Katter Australia Party and Labor whilst in three seats Labor is third to the LNP and the Katters.

“The preferences of those third-place getters are counted which is a key reason why state-wide polls on preferred parties or leaders are meaningless.

“It would be far better to conduct polls in marginal seats in the Far North, North and South East so that the public can be given a real guide as to the respective popularity of each party, major or minor.”

Media contact:

Amanda Weaver, QUT Media, 07 3138 3151, amanda.weaver@qut.edu.au

After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901, media@qut.edu.au

Find more QUT Law news on

Media enquiries

For all media enquiries contact the Faculty's Business Development Team

+61 73138 7723

Sign up to the quarterly QUT Law Newsletter