Labor has claimed victory in the Queensland state election with voters overwhelmingly backing Annastacia Palaszczuk and her response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Labor is even on track to increase its majority in the parliament after the LNP failed to pick up any seats from Labor.
At the close of counting on Saturday night, Labor had won 47 seats but was projected to win as many as 51.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The LNP had secured 34 seats but was on track to win 35, giving it a net loss of three seats.
Katter’s Australia Party retained its three seats, the Greens picked up a seat giving it two in the parliament, One Nation retained its one seat along with the independent MP in Noosa.
The LNP lost the seats of Caloundra and Pumicetsone to Labor while it battles to hang onto a number of seats across the Gold Coast.
“Queensland is the best place on Earth”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk thanked the voters of Queensland while acknowledging what the state has gone through this year.
“It has not been an easy year for many, many people. For many Queenslanders, I know it has been an incredibly tough year. It has been tough not being able to see your family and friends in other states, or even around the world, as we’ve been in the midst of a global pandemic,” Ms Palaszczuk told supporters.
“But here in Queensland we’ve all stood strong and united, and together we are on top of the pandemic, and if we continue to work together, we will stay strong.
“This year has been tough because of COVID. Many, many people have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. I know that during this election, there are many people out there in Queensland who have voted Labor for the very first time. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I will return that respect every single day.
“Queensland is the best place on Earth and it is the best state in Australia!”
Labor has seen a statewide swing towards it of 5.3 per cent while the LNP’s vote was up just 1.2 per cent.
One Nation’s vote also collapsed, falling by more than 6 per cent, while Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party polled a miserly 0.6 per cent of the vote across the state.
The only bad news for Labor was the defeat of former Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, who lost her seat of South Brisbane to the Greens.
The LNP had high hopes for the Brisbane seats of Aspley and Mansfield but they were quickly retained by Labor.
It was a similar situation in Cairns and Townsville where Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington spent a huge amount of time during the campaign, all to no avail.
Frecklington plans to stay on as LNP Leader
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington congratulated Ms Palaszczuk and says she accepts the vote of the people.
“Now I may not agree with the Premier a lot of the time but I respect her as an opponent and as the leader of our state. But most of all I respect the voters of Queensland. And we are so privileged to live in this democracy.
“Now, Queenslanders have made their decision, and I thank each and every one of them for voting and for upholding our democracy. This decision is respected by the Liberal National Party. And I am so proud of the campaign that we have fought.
Ms Frecklington will now be under enormous pressure to remain as LNP Leader but insists she has no plan to step down.
“Now, I promise that the Liberal National Party will continue to play its part in our democracy. And I will continue to play my part in the Liberal National Party and I will continue as the leader of this great party.
“Now, the LNP is going to continue to hold the Palaszczuk government to account. We will speak up for those who have been forgotten and left behind. We’re going to fight for the families of this great state because families mean more than anything.”
Labor’s boost on the Gold Coast
Labor has increased its standing on the Gold Coast with the party still in with a shot in a number of seats.
Of the Glitter Strip’s 11 seats, Labor has retained its seat of Gaven with an increased majority.
The LNP has retained Broadwater, Surfers Paradise, Southport, Mermaid Beach and Mudgeeraba while Sam O’Connor saw a massive swing towards him to turn the marginal seat of Bonney into a safe LNP seat.
The LNP is narrowly ahead in Currumbin and Theodore, is trailing in Coomera and is neck and neck in Burleigh.
Federal Labor Senator Murray Watt says the result on the Gold Coast is a great one for the ALP no matter how many seats they end up winning.
“The Labor vote has definitely picked up on the Gold Coast and that’s a real tribute to the work our branch members have put in over the last few years,” Senator Watt told Sky.
Jackie Trad given the boot
Former Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad has been emphatically beaten in her seat of South Brisbane, with the Greens’ Amy MacMahon claiming victory.
The Greens snatched the seat on the back of an 8 per cent swing.
She will become the second Greens MP in the Parliament.
“I think the difference is that we know that people are fed up with both Labor and the LNP,” Ms MacMahon told the ABC.
“They are fed up with cashbacks, meetings, secret royalties deals, fed up to the cuts to wages of teachers and nurses and instead the Greens have been going out with this really positive vision for the future of Queensland.”