Queensland’s LNP government has suffered a battering at the hands of voters, with Premier Campbell Newman the most high-profile casualty of the night.
A final result is yet to be determined, but the LNP has lost dozens of the 73 seats it held and looks like losing government after just one term.
Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said she is optimistic Labor can form government.
“It’s still too close to call at present but I’m very hopeful that we will be able to form government in the state,” she told Labor supporters.
Late on Saturday night, Labor was projected to win 43 of the 45 seats it needs to form government.
At the 2012 election, Campbell Newman’s LNP crushed Labor, leaving it with just seven MPs in the 89-seat parliament.
Labor later won two by-elections.
Of the more than 30 seats it won at Saturday’s election was the seat of Ashgrove, lost by Premier Newman.
“I also on a very serious note want to wish Campbell Newman and his wife Lisa and their family all the very best for their future,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
ABC election analyst Antony Green says on the current figures, the LNP has little hope of picking up the 45 seats needed to form a majority government in the 89-seat parliament.
“The Labor Party can make majority government. The second most obvious case is a minority Labor government. Then there is potential of a minority LNP government,” he said.
“But there doesn’t seem to be any chance of majority LNP government out of these numbers.”
Few commentators saw the result coming, with most tipping Mr Newman would lose his seat of Ashgrove but that the LNP would narrowly hang on to power.
But voters have vented their fury at the ballot box, and delivered a swing against the LNP that’s even bigger than the swing that cost Labor office three years ago.
Sky News commentator Graham Richardson said it was the “most extraordinary night” he had ever witnessed.
Former deputy prime minister Wayne Swan wasn’t prepared to call the election, but described the unfolding results as “an electoral earthquake”.
“We have seen the biggest majority in Australian history eroded right back. There is an electoral earthquake happening,” Mr Swan told the ABC.
Newman government ministers David Crisafulli and Scott Emerson acknowledged they had made mistakes, but argued the hard decisions had to be made.
“Just because it’s politically difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reform,” Mr Crisafulli, who is in danger losing his seat of Mundingburra, told the Nine Network.
“That doesn’t mean we didn’t make mistakes.
“We haven’t taken people on the journey. In many ways we’ve just gone in and fixed problems and then told people why they needed to be fixed after.”
Treasurer Tim Nicholls, who is now a contender to take over as LNP leader, agreed their failure to communicate was the issue.
“I think the concern from our side tonight is that, having done the right thing, having put in place a policy about fixing up the state we found when we came in 2012, we obviously haven’t communicated that well enough to the public,”
“We will have to, I think, concentrate more on how we communicate that message.”