Labor looks set to pull off a stunning victory in a cliffhanger Queensland election, after securing an “extraordinary”, double-digit swing that has ended the political career of Premier Campbell Newman.
Labor is on track to claim 45 or 46 of the 89 seats in the state’s parliament, after going into the poll holding only nine seats.
“My political career is over,” Mr Newman told Liberal National Party supporters as he conceded defeat in his seat.
The LNP has not conceded the overall result, but ABC election analyst Antony Green has said projections suggest “there is a Labor government coming in Queensland” – at worst relying on one of three crossbenchers.
“You’d have to put the money on Labor forming government,” Mr Green said.
A handful of seats were in doubt when counting was stopped at midnight, including Caloundra, Mansfield, Mt Ommaney, Redlands and Whitsunday.
My political career is over: Campbell Newman
Campbell Newman spoke at LNP headquarters, conceding defeat in his electorate of Ashgrove and thanked his party colleagues.
“Over the last three years we’ve had to make some very important decisions for this state,” Mr Newman said.
“They were necessary and I do truly believe that they have put Queensland in a far better place.
“We have put the state in a far better place than the way we found it.”
“I also want to reflect on the MPs that lost their seats tonight in the LNP team.
We have put the state in a far better place than the way we found it.Queensland Premier Campbell Newman
“I just say this, ladies and gentlemen: when the history of this government is written, people should look long and hard at a political team who did the hard yards and didn’t bitch and moan.
“They got on with the job because they knew they were doing the right thing for Queensland.
“So to all those who lost their seats, I am sensationally proud of you.
“I just wish the community knew that you were all men and women of conviction and I wish you the very best in your future careers.”
Among the other high-profile casualties of the election were Police Minister Jack Dempsey, who lost Bundaberg, and Local Government Minister David Crisafulli, who lost Mundingburra.
Arts Minister Ian Walker’s Mansfield seat was in doubt.
However, Mr Newman stopped short of conceding defeat for his government.
“The LNP will offer either a strong and stable Government or a very effective Opposition.”
Palaszczuk ‘very hopeful’ Labor can form government
Labor Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has so far achieved a 19 per cent swing in her Inala electorate, said that three years ago Labor did not believe it could come this close to victory.
“It’s still too close to call at present, but I’m very hopeful that we will be able to form government in this state,” she said.
“Can I thank the union movement,” she said.
“Because it it is the union movement that stands up each and every day and fights for better conditions for workers across this state.”
Ms Palaszczuk campaigned on a “no asset sale agenda” and said a Labor government would not offload the $37 billion worth of assets the LNP wanted to privatise.
“Let’s put the past three years behind us,” she said.
“Let’s have a consensus government where we bring people together, where we listen and where he unite.
“Tomorrow we begin a brand new chapter in Queensland’s history.”
Earlier, Green noted an extraordinary swing back to the Labor Party, and raised the likelihood of a hung parliament if Labor failed to achieve a safe majority of 46 seats.
“It looks like at the moment it is a very narrow Labor majority,” he said.
“There are still some seats still to call, but at the moment there’s a high likelihood we could get hung parliament. I’ve got the Labor Party on 45 seats.”
“There’s lot of votes to come, a lot of votes to be counted tonight, but this an extraordinary result and I think it’s too close to call yet.”
Jones wins comfortably with grass-roots campaign
One seat that is not in question is Ashgrove after Ms Jones comfortably won over Mr Newman using a grassroots, low-key campaign.
Ms Jones spoke to supporters in Brisbane after defeating Campbell Newman in the key election seat of Ashgrove.
“When I was defeated in 2012, I retreated back into my community. I retreated back into my family who raised me here in Ashgrove, into my Ashgrove community,” Ms Jones said.
“For the first time in many years, I had the opportunity to step back and look on.
“What I saw happening over the last three years was that Queensland was going backwards.
“A Queensland where I did not want to live and a Queensland where I did not want to raise my children.”
She said local community members encouraged her to recontest the seat of Ashgrove.
“People saying to me that they did not like the direction that we were going in,” she said.
“They did not like the attacks on our judiciary. They did not like the attacks on our doctors, our lawyers and on our community.
“They wanted a community that was not divided but one where we work together.”