Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington concedes defeat at the LNP election night reception at the Emporium in South Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall
Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington concedes defeat at the LNP election night reception at the Emporium in South Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Marshall

Six things we’ve learnt from the election so far

It's been a fascinating state election at a Coast level, with Labor finally establishing a foothold in the south and securing significant swings against most sitting LNP members.

The Palaszczuk Government was returned convincingly, with the post-mortem underway within LNP ranks as Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington confirmed she would step down as leader.

Here are six things we've learnt so far this election:

 

1. Change is in the air:

There were swings across almost every Coast seat away from the LNP, culminating in the loss of Caloundra and what could be a very near-thing in Nicklin.

State Election 2020: Rolling coverage as results come

Much has been made of the growth in the area and the population increase still to come and Caloundra South has been one of the main spots that growth has been funnelled into.

With more young families and young couples and first homebuyers, there's a sense that a change in demographic is underway.

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One Labor insider told the Daily the results would have the party eyeing off extending its reach further in the region, and he expected plenty of attention to come by way of infrastructure and investment over the next four years.

LNP sources said the results had more to do with the ongoing pandemic and the power of incumbency, coupled with other changes including compulsory preferential voting.

Swings of about 5 per cent or more look likely in four of the eight Coast seats, with Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson the only one tipped to secure a swing towards her.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with dogs Oakey and Winton, following her election win, at Seventeen Mile Rocks. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with dogs Oakey and Winton, following her election win, at Seventeen Mile Rocks. Photographer: Liam Kidston

 

2. One Nation vote collapse hurt:

It's no secret One Nation's profile has fallen away dramatically of late.

That was evident in the low returns for the party on primary vote across the state, and it was replicated on the Coast.

In Nicklin Marty Hunt is locked in a race with Labor's Robert Skelton to retain the seat for the LNP, and it appeared the plunge in One Nation popularity had contributed significantly to that.

LNP takes another tight Glass House contest

In 2017, Steven Ford picked up more than 21 per cent of primary votes, and Mr Hunt picked up more than 71 per cent of preferences from Mr Ford, helping him secure the seat.

In Buderim it was Steve Dickson flying the One Nation flag three years ago, as he secured 28.57 per cent of the primary vote, and there was a high preference flow from him to Mr Mickelberg.

This time around, as an independent, he'd only pulled 7.13 per cent by late Monday, and One Nation candidate Joyce Hosking had only secure 4.38 per cent of first preferences.

There's no doubt the drop in profile of Pauline Hanson's party has contributed to the swings.

Denis Healy, Gordon Barnard and Clarke Chapel at the Pacific Paradise State School polling booth on October 31. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Denis Healy, Gordon Barnard and Clarke Chapel at the Pacific Paradise State School polling booth on October 31. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

 

3. Health had a huge say:

From massively reduced election day numbers, to the swing towards Labor, there's no doubt the health crisis has had an impact.

Voters numbers were well down on election day and the increased postal and prepoll figure makes for a long wait in some seats for an official result.

The reasons for the swing will come out in the wash, but anecdotally there is a sense that some conservative, elderly voters may have swung in behind the Premier and her border control measures, as they grapple with the threat of coronavirus.

The plummeting One Nation vote and compulsory preferences will all have had an impact as well, and a full post-mortem will reveal more about what drove the outcome, but the turnaround in Labor's fortunes, largely due to Ms Palaszczuk's steady hand throughout the pandemic, is nothing short of remarkable.

 

4. No such thing as a sure thing:

If there's one lesson to take away from this election, this is it.

Nicklin is a prime example.

Few pundits would've seen the challenge coming in the seat.

But the gauntlet was well and truly laid down by Labor's Robert Skelton.

Mr Hunt was not considered to be under any real threat, although there were some fears a falling One Nation vote could cause issues in terms of preference flow.

But few would've predicted a race this close.

Mr Hunt had a 5.3 per cent margin coming into this election. Not the blue-chip comfort some of his colleagues enjoy in the more conservative seats, but not tight enough to be of major concern.

But the widespread swing towards Labor has been significant and consistent.

If he holds on, the seat will be marginal, and the next four years very lively in the former domain of independent Peter Wellington.

 

5. We are on the way to marginal:

It may be a bold statement, but if these predicted swings hold true, there could be some serious erosion happening to the foundations of the LNP base in the region.

Buderim could effectively have its margin halved, while Glass House, Caloundra and Nicklin will remain extremely marginal, as other seats including Ninderry suddenly look like becoming serious contests, should Labor be able to replicate its success in four years' time.

It makes for an interesting four years ahead as the sitting members work to shore up their seats and fight for progress, while Labor may consider themselves a chance to take more ground in the region, and may be inclined to throw some serious effort into major projects and initiatives on the Coast.

Buderim edges closer to staying in LNP hands

It's not a bad position to be in potentially for the average punters, to have both sides of politics starting to show real interest in the region if they both fancy their chances.

With more young families tipped to flock to the region on the back of the pandemic and the significant population growth expected, the demographics of the region will continue to shift, and that will have ramifications at the polling booths.

Gordon Barnard at the Pacific Paradise State School polling booth on October 31. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.
Gordon Barnard at the Pacific Paradise State School polling booth on October 31. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily.

 

6. Leadership void:

The LNP will now begin a process to replace Deb Frecklington, after she stepped down as Opposition Leader following the result.

David Crisafulli is being talked up as a leading contender, while other names thrown around have included Kawana's Jarrod Bleijie and Maroochydore's Fiona Simpson.

Party insiders on the Coast rate Ninderry incumbent Dan Purdie as a future leader of the party, but becoming one in just his second term may be a little hasty.

Either way, the LNP has a leadership void to fill and there are several experienced campaigners on the Coast who will have plenty of input into the decision.

The internal frictions in the lead-up to the election caused plenty of problems for the party, so it will be all eyes on who can come in and clean the slate, with four years to try and rebuild, and offer a viable alternative to a fourth Labor term.


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