A constitutional law expert says Campbell Newman could continue as Queensland premier even if he loses his seat of Ashgrove.
The Liberal National Party looks set to win Saturday’s election but a recent ReachTEL poll shows Mr Newman is set to lose his seat to Labor contender Kate Jones.
University of New South Wales constitutional law professor George Williams said the premier has already broken convention before and could do it again.
In 2011, while Mr Newman was Brisbane lord mayor, he was made LNP leader without being a member of parliament.
“Strange things happen in Queensland sometimes,” Mr Williams said.
“Mr Newman was opposition leader without having a seat in parliament so he’s shown he’s certainly not beholden to convention.”
If Mr Newman can contest another seat and hold a by-election within 90 days, he would be able to remain premier, something Mr Williams says is legal.
There is also no rule in the Queensland constitution which says the premier must have a seat in parliament.
“If he loses his seat then maybe he could convince someone who won their seat to resign and he could contest it. If that happens it would have to happen quickly.”
However, the decision to stay on may not bode well politically because he has has repeatedly ruled out re-contesting another seat.
“Legally, he could get away with it, but politically could he? I’d think not because of the statements he’s made about not continuing if he loses his seat,” Mr Williams said.
It’s not uncommon for politicians to continue in their roles without a seat in parliament during the transition from one government to another.
In 2007, John Howard lost his seat and continued as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until Kevin Rudd was sworn in a week later.