Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has announced a date for the state election, with voters heading to the polls weeks earlier than expected.
Mr Newman left Government House just before noon after asking the Acting Governor to issue the writs for an election on January 31.
This leaves just 26 days for the election candidates to rally across the state.
Political commentators have said the sudden and unexpected move could give the LNP a slight advantage, with Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk among those on annual leave.
Mr Newman’s staff were also on holidays and had to cut their leave short. Mr Newman said they were “delighted” to be back at work.
Although the LNP hold 73 out of 89 seats, and Labor just 9, the polls are tipping a close contest between the two major parties.
Mr Newman said yesterday the reason for a sudden election was because he did not want months of “politicking and electioneering” which could “set Queensland back”.
“We’re going to see Queensland become the lead economy in Australia this year, and we can’t allow that to falter,” Mr Newman said.
“We need to make sure we create jobs, we need to get on and have an election and then Queensland can go forward to brighter things.
“We are asking for the opportunity to keep working on our economic blueprint; one that will best position Queensland for a strong and prosperous future.”
Mr Newman said it was important the party kept Queensland on track to secure the future in terms of job creation, eduction, health and frontline services.
“We know where this state needs to go, and we have a strong team to take it there.”
Labor candidate Kate Jones, who held the seat of Ashgrove from 2006 to 2012, announced in September she planned to recontest the seat.
This morning I visited the Acting Governor. Writs have been issued for 31 January 2015. The most important election in many years. #qldpol
— Campbell Newman (@theqldpremier) January 6, 2015
— Nine News Brisbane (@9NewsBrisbane) January 6, 2015
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is also out of the country and would be unable to join the Premier on the campaign trail until some time after Australia Day.
The electoral rolls will close on Saturday, January 10. Queenslanders are urged to ensure their enrolment details are up-to-date.