Feeling a hangover coming
Labor luminary predicts a clear majority is unlikely
QUEENSLAND is headed for another hung parliament, with the LNP and One Nation in the box seat to form the next government, Labor elder John Mickel has predicted.
The former speaker says both major parties are at risk of losing several seats to Pauline Hanson’s party including his former seat of Logan, a traditional Labor stronghold.
“It looks to me as if neither side will get a majority,” the ALP luminary said.
LABOR statesman John Mickel says Queensland is headed for another hung parliament, with the LNP and One Nation in the box seat to form the next Government.
The former parliamentary speaker and QUT adjunct professor said both sides were at risk of losing several seats to Pauline Hanson’s party, including his former seat of Logan, a traditional Labor stronghold.
Mr Mickel said Queenslanders should expect a hung parliament.
“It looks to me as if neither side will get a majority,” he said.
“With both (Labor and the LNP) their vote – in the 30s in the last published poll – that’s very hard to get a majority government out of that.”
Mr Mickel said the seats One Nation had the strongest chances of winning were Thuringowa, Mirani, Bundaberg, Scenic Rim, Hinchinbrook, Lockyer and Burdekin.
He said if One Nation picked up several seats at the election it made an LNP minority government more likely.
“If One Nation wins seats off Labor, and Labor doesn’t win more seats in southeast Queensland, then the odds weaken for Labor,” he said.
“There’s no chance of a Labor-One Nation government. But I honestly think it will come down to the campaign.
“If Pauline Hanson does what she did in WA, she will crack under pressure.”
Mr Mickel said it was possible for Labor to win in its own right but its Left-wing agenda might have alienated regional Queensland, which would be crucial to its chances.
“The Premier is popular, she has an unpopular federal government so the cycle is right for them to be returned,” he said. “But there is a historically high representation in regional Queensland and regional Queensland is soft for Labor.
“To what extent has the Green-Left image of the Government hurt it in regional Queensland?”
Mr Mickel said One Nation’s declining statewide poll numbers could be deceiving.
“What tends to happen in the inner cities, One Nation does way below the state average,” he said. “As you get further out they get above the state average.
“Then you get pockets of regional Queensland where One Nation does well above the state average.”
Mr Mickel said the resurgent party would do well in areas with a “trifecta of pain” where cost of living pressures, low wage growth and underemployment were common.
“Townsville is a question mark for whoever is in government, state or federal, at the moment,” he said. “It’s got the trifecta of pain there but it’s also got a crime issue.”
Mr Mickel said to watch seats in Rockhampton, Mackay, Ipswich, the Wide Bay-Burnett region and outer suburban areas in southeast Queensland.
“Rocky is quite bad. It’s quite economically recessed, therefore we think One Nation will have a prospect there,” he said.
Mr Mickel said Labor had “a candidate problem” in the seat of Bundaberg. Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson quit Cabinet last year after revelations she hadn’t paid her council rates and drove her car unregistered.
Mr Mickel said predicting the upcoming election would be harder than previous polls, as compulsory preferential voting returns and the seat boundaries have changed to accommodate an increase in the number of seats from 89 to 93.
CRYSTAL BALL: John Mickel predicts a hung parliament after the next state election. Picture: AAP/ Claudia Baxter