Barton Deakin Brief: Queensland Election Analysis

Date: Oct 2020

Barton Deakin Brief: Queensland Election Analysis

30 October 2020


The Queensland election will be held on Saturday, 31 October 2020.  The current Australian Labor Party Government holds 48 of the 93 seats in the Assembly and the Liberal-National Party holds 38. The LNP needs to win 9 seats to form a majority government.

On the crossbench, Katter’s Australian Party holds three seats and One Nation, the Greens, North Queensland First all hold one seat each. There is one Independent Member.


Since 1989, the ALP has only been out of Government in Queensland for a total of five years.  A record number of minor parties and candidates are running in this election.

Queensland is the only unicameral state in Australia, having abolished the upper chamber in 1922.

The Assembly currently has 93 Members, elected through a full preferential voting system, with this election marking the beginning of four year terms with a fixed date (the last Saturday of October every four years).

Opinion Polls

Newspoll results from 9 October to 14 October show the ALP and LNP with the same primary vote of 37 per cent.  In the two-party preferred vote, the ALP leads with 52 per cent to the Coalition’s 48 per cent.  A Roy Morgan Poll in Queensland has Labor ahead of the LNP 51 per cent to 49 per cent in two-party preferred.  The same poll said that people support the ongoing border closure with NSW 53 per cent to 47 per cent.  The highest support was from those under 35 years old.  According to polls, it is unlikely that Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party will win a seat at this election.


Katter’s Australian Party and One Nation announced a preference deal on 8 October 2020, agreeing to preference each other second on how-to-vote cards.  Katter’s Australian Party decided to preference Green’s candidates last on their how-to-vote cards, suggesting that the LNP’s decision would constitute a win for the Greens in a number of Brisbane seats.

The LNP announced in early October that it would preference Labor candidates last in all seats.  Therefore, the Greens will be placed above Labor which may have an impact on incumbent Labor Member Jackie Trad in the seat of South Brisbane.

Key Seats

The successful party will require at least 47 seats to gain a majority. There are a number of key battleground seats, and outcomes in these electorates will influence the outcome of the election.

There are several important retirements, including:

  • Kate Jones (ALP –Cooper);
  • Anthony Lynham (ALP – Stafford);
  • Coralee O’Rourke (ALP – Mundingburra);
  • Mark McArdle (LNP – Caloundra); and
  • Simone Wilson (LNP – Pumicestone)

Aspley – ALP incumbent Bart Mellish holds the seat by 1.2 per cent.  At the 2017 election, the LNP candidate received 39.7 per cent of the primary vote while Ms Mellish received 37.5 per cent.

Barron River – Labor MP Craig Crawford holds the seat by 1.9 per cent and secured 33.5 per cent of the primary vote.

Caloundra – Mark McArdle is retiring after representing the seat since 2004.  He held the seat by 3.4 per cent and had suffered a 1.3 per cent negative swing at the last election.

Gaven – Labor holds northern Gold Coast seat by 0.7 per cent.

Keppel – Labor’s Brittany Lauga holds the seat by a 3.1 per cent margin.  At the last election, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation entered the race and secured 25.5 per cent of the primary vote.  This election will see a different PHON candidate facing off against the incumbent.

Mansfield – the ALP holds the seat by 1.6 per cent, having grown the margin by 0.8 per cent in the last election.  The primary votes for both major parties were 40.2 per cent for the LNP and 39.4 per cent for the ALP.

Mundingburra – Retiring Labor MP Coralee O’Rourke held the seat by 1.1 per cent.  One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party both saw increases of 15.5 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively at the last election.

Pumicestone – Liberal incumbent Simone Wilson is retiring from her seat which she holds with a 0.8 per cent majority.

Redlands – Labor took Redlands at the last election, which was held by a small margin by the LNP.  The last election saw large primary vote swings to One Nation and the Greens.

Townsville – The ALP’s Scott Stewart is the incumbent with a 0.4 per cent margin.

Whitsunday – Incumbent Jason Costigan won the seat for the Liberal-Nationals at the last election but will contest this election for his new party, North Queensland First.

Key Election Themes


Premier Palaszczuk has said that a border decision will come this month.  The border closure has received mixed approval from Queenslanders.

Economy and Jobs

The ALP promised $140 million for small business, including $100 million for a Business Investment Fund, $30 million to increase skills and capability, and $10 million for the ongoing funding of a Small Business Commissioner. The LNP has committed to an unemployment target of 5 per cent before the end of the next term of government.  The ALP has said that the economic recovery plan will support 55,000 jobs but they have not committed to jobless target.


The ALP pledged $160 million to health services in the Gold Coast area which includes a $3 million for consultation and planning for a new hospital in Coomera. Labor wants to hire 5,800 nurses, 475 paramedics, 1,500 doctors and 1,700 allied health professionals, with funding to come out of the existing health budget.  The Liberal-Nationals will hire 4,500 more nurses, doctors, paramedics and allied health workers at a cost of $1.3 billion footed by the taxpayer.


Labor announced a $40 million environment and tourism package for the Great Barrier Reef.  The LNP is looking to invest $50 million in ‘green roads’ which will be built from recycled bottles and plastic bags.  Ms Frecklington also pledged to build a solar panel recycling facility and to ban sending electronic waste to landfill.

Voluntary assisted dying

Ms Frecklington has stated that she will wait for the Law Reform Commission before deciding how she would approach voluntary assisted dying.  The ALP will introduce legislation if re-elected.

Women and domestic violence

This is the first time both major party leaders are women.  Ms Frecklington has committed to increased sentences, new offences, GPS safety alarms, and emergency grants to help women in domestic violence situations.  Labor has a ten-year domestic violence strategy from 2016 to 2026 at a cost of $500 million.  The strategy focuses on cultural awareness and the criminal justice response.

Cost of living

The LNP pledged $80 million to before and after school care in state primary schools.


The ALP has pledged to hire a 6,100 teachers and 1,100 teachers’ aides over four years at an expected cost of $2.2 billion.  Given many of the positions are replacements, the net increase in teachers is closer to 2,200.  The LNP will hire 3,350 new teachers (replacements excluded) and 760 teachers’ aides at an expected cost of $1.05 billion.


Ms Frecklington has proposed to enforce a youth curfew in Cairns and Townsville to reduce juvenile crime.  She will also increase funding for crime stoppers by $1.5 million.  Ms Palaszczuk wants to hire 2025 additional police personnel over five years.

The Leaders

Annastacia Palaszczuk MP (Australian Labor Party)

Ms Palaszczuk has been the Premier of Queensland since 2015 and Leader of the Queensland Labor Party since 2012. Ms Palaszczuk has been the member for Inala since 2006.

Before entering the Legislative Assembly, Ms Palaszczuk was a political adviser to a number of Labor Ministers. She has degrees in Arts and Laws from the University of Queensland, as well as a Masters of Arts from the University of London, which she attended as a Chevening Scholar. Ms Palaszczuk succeeded her father in the seat of Inala upon his retirement.

Key Priorities:

  • Building another M1 urban road corridor
  • Legislation to legalise euthanasia
  • Hiring scheme for nearly 10,000 new frontline health staff and just over 2,000 new police officers by 2025
  • No new taxes

Deb Frecklington MP (Liberal Party of Australia)

Ms Frecklington is the current Leader of the Opposition and Member for Nanango. She has been the Member since 2012.

Ms Frecklington has a Bachelor of Business from the University of Southern Queensland and a Bachelor of Laws from the Queensland Institute of Technology. Prior to entering the Legislative Assembly, Ms Frecklington worked in the clothing, motor vehicle, newspaper and agricultural industries, as well as family and property law.

Key Priorities:

Robbie Katter MP (Katter’s Australian Party)

Mr Katter is a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the seat of Traeger. Mr Katter previously represented the seat of Mount Isa from 2012-2017. He is leader of Katter’s Australian Party, having taken over from his father and the Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, in 2020.

Mr Katter worked in mining, property and small business before entering politics.


For more information, contact David Alexander on +61 457 400 524, Grahame Morris on +61 411 222 680, Tahlia Robertson on +61 438 259 671, Cheryl Cartwright on +61 419 996 066, John Fitzgerald on +61 488 111 568, or Georga Nonnenmacher on +61 457 662 422.