News State Queensland Palaszczuk ‘optimistic’ of winning majority

Palaszczuk ‘optimistic’ of winning majority

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Queensland Labor Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk is optimistic the party will win the two seats it needs to form a majority government.

The ALP achieved one of the biggest swings in Australian political history in Saturday’s state election, which saw Premier Campbell Newman and a swag of his MPs lose their seats.

Labor had so far secured 43 electorates in the poll, but will need 45 for a majority.

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Four seats were still in doubt on Sunday afternoon, including Mansfield, Maryborough, Whitsunday and Redlands.

Ms Palaszczuk cultivated the “no asset sale vote” to lead Labor to an outcome few believed was possible, three years after the party was reduced to just seven seats.

The Liberal National Party (LNP) failed to win support for its asset leasing program, which would have raised at least $37 billion.

Ms Palaszczuk said the result proved that Queenslanders did not want their assets sold.

“Labor will stop that sale,” she said.

“We are going to restore good government to this state … that works for all of Queensland; we will govern for all of you.

“That is my commitment and the commitment of my entire Labor team.

“We are hopeful and optimistic, but it will be a couple of days until we know the final result.”

It was unclear who would be Ms Palaszczuk’s deputy after Tim Mulherin announced his resignation at the start of the campaign.

Newman to stay on in caretaker role

Mr Newman will continue in the job as caretaker until the election result is clear, he says.

Labor is ahead of the LNP with 43 seats to 39 but needs to pick up another two to govern in its own right.

Mr Newman declared his political career was over on Saturday night after conceding defeat to Labor’s Kate Jones in the Brisbane seat of Ashgrove.

He has not addressed the question of who will lead the LNP in the long term.

However, LNP president Bruce McIver said a fresh leadership team would be chosen after Saturday’s election result.

Mr Newman returned to his offices at State Parliament and the government executive building early on Sunday morning.

Later in the morning, he revealed on Twitter that he had called Ms Palaszczuk to congratulate her on the success of her candidates.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott released a statement on Sunday saying he had spoken to Mr Newman to thank him for his service.

“Obviously, it has been a very difficult outcome for him and his government,” Mr Abbott said.

“There are lessons in this result for all governments, including the federal one.”

Mr McIver said federal factors did not help the party’s state election campaign, and admitted he was “shocked” by Mr Abbott’s decision to award a knighthood to Prince Phillip.

However, he said, Mr Newman made a lot of hard decisions and the LNP would conduct a thorough independent review.

Campbell Newman
LNP Leader Campbell Newman says his political career is over. Photo: AAP

“Whether those decisions were accepted by the people, or the way they were done were accepted by the people is one of the things we’ll be looking at,” he said.

Meanwhile, New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley said Premier Mike Baird should be worried about the Queensland election result with an election due in his state at the end of next month.

Mr Foley said he believed the privatisation of public assets was a major factor in the Queensland result.

He said the same issues were at play in NSW.

“So it may be that Mike Baird is Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott with a nicer smile, but his agenda’s the same,” he said.

Labor in the box seat

The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) said counting had resumed, with the result still too close to call in several seats.

Counting of ordinary votes, pre-poll votes and declaration votes will take several days.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of postal votes for this election, and postal votes are not due back at the offices of the returning officer until the 10th of February, 10 days after polling day,” ECQ principal elections officer Carrick Brough said.

But the most likely outcome was that the Labor Party will form government, reversing the 2012 election result in which the LNP gained the largest government majority in Queensland history.


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