Queensland election: LNP preferences likely to give Rockhampton to Labor
Labor is on course to win the central Queensland seat of Rockhampton, bringing Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government a step closer to the majority it needs to stay in power.
Independent candidate Margaret Strelow on Wednesday conceded defeat, after Liberal National party preferences went to One Nation and swung the seat to Labor’s Barry O’Rourke.
It would bring Labor’s total confirmed seats to 45, two shy of the 47-seat majority in the new 93-seat parliament. Ms Palaszczuk does not want to have to again rely on the cross bench, which will be larger and more varied after the election.
“It will be very difficult for me to win after the distribution of LNP preferences today. I expect the seat will go to Labor,” Strelow said on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon.
“The LNP swapped preferences with One Nation and about half of LNP voters followed the card. This will wipe out my lead.”
Strelow had been widely tipped to win the seat on the minority party’s preferences.
The former Rockhampton mayor had the support of the state’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, to replace retired agriculture minister Bill Byrne.
She ran as an independent after being overlooked for Labor preselection following a factional battle that instead chose O’Rourke, a public servant.
O’Rourke’s win would bring the government’s confirmed seats to 45, compared with the LNP’s 37.
Labor sources are confident they will also claim the Gaven and Aspley electorates, with Townsville expected to go down to the wire.
Seven seats are still undecided, four days after Queenslanders went to the polls.
LNP leader Tim Nicholls on Wednesday repeated his earlier remarks that the election wasn’t over yet, but the party won’t be able to form government. It has 37 seats at the moment, and may get 40.
He again called on Palaszczuk to say whether she will keep her promise to go into opposition if Labor does
not win enough seats to secure a majority government.
“The answer that Annastacia Palaszczuk is refusing to give is whether she will keep her word or whether she will break her promise like she did in 2015,” he told reporters in Toowoomba. “She said she wouldn’t govern with minor parties or independents and she did.”
Palaszczuk, who has not made a public appearance since Monday, said during the 27-day campaign she wouldn’t do any deals and would rather go into opposition than form government with One Nation.
She remains steadfast in her confidence she will win a majority.
The crossbench will be made up of Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth of Katter’s Australian Party (and possibly a third KAP MP), Noosa independent Sandy Bolton and likely One Nation member Stephen Andrew.
A tight race continues between Labor and the Greens in the seat of Maiwar.