29th September 2020

The recent Northern Territory election results point to a similar geographic political separation in Queensland says a QUT political analyst.

Past Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and QUT Adjunct Associate Professor John Mickel said while in the NT it was the Berrimah line, in Queensland it could be the Noosa line come the state election on 31 October.

“Labor performed poorly in regional seats outside of Darwin in the Northern Territory election last month, but its vote held up in Darwin off the back of COVID-19,” said Professor Mickel.

“In regional Queensland, north of Noosa, Labor’s majority is at risk and it needs to hold all of its current seats or win seats south of Noosa to offset any regional losses.

QUT Adjunct Associate Professor John Mickel

“If Labor loses just four seats to the LNP, there will be no credible pathway for the party to retain Government.”

Professor Mickel said an OmniPoll conducted in early September showed Labor at risk in Keppel and Thuringowa.

“In 2017 Thuringowa was almost lost to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Labor came within a whisker of also losing Townsville to the LNP,” he said.

“The seat by seat tussle for the regions with the Minors and the Majors is fuelling the great unpredictability of this campaign.

“Katter’s Australian Party has previously been competitive in Thuringowa which partially overlaps the Federal seat of Kennedy, home to Bob Katter senior. KAP are also favourites to retain their existing seats of Traegar, Hill and Hinchinbrook but will also give Labor a run for its money in Cook.

“Any Government party needs to actively defend the traditionally change of Government Cairns- based seat of Barron River and the change of Government Townsville -based seat of Mundingburra - losses in both would spell danger for a Labor majority.

“In addition to these seats, the LNP would like to recapture Whitsunday from former LNP member Jason Costigan and overwhelm One Nation in Mirani. With a North Queensland macro swing, they could achieve these objectives.

“Last year’s Federal election highlighted the massive desertion Labor faced when its former voters turned to One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party and gave the LNP their second preferences to decisively win regional seats.

“The regional Queensland results helped Scott Morrison retain the Prime Ministership and winning an extra South East seat, Longman, put an LNP victory beyond doubt.”

Professor Mickel said a 2020 repeat of this regional desertion could put Labor’s slim majority at risk if more seats are not won from the LNP in the South East.

“Potential extra seats Labor could win from the LNP south of Noosa, are Pumicestone with a retiring one term LNP Member, and Caloundra with a long term retiring LNP member,” he said.

“Labor can also hope for a Beattie-style Gold Coast breakthrough in Currumbin, Burleigh, and Bonney, while the fast-growing seat of Coomera may favour them too.

“However, Labor has its work cut out to defend its South East marginal seats of Aspley, Pine Rivers, Redlands, Springwood and Mansfield.”

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

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