Yesterday, Queensland residents gathered at their local primary schools and church halls to scoff down a few sneaky sausages and cast their votes in the state election. The results were pretty shaky all round, and while incumbent Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk looks likely to hold on to power (albeit without a clear majority), populist party One Nation were among the biggest losers.
Pauline Hanson spent this week telling media that her party would enjoy a resurgence as a political force and possibly gain the balance of power in the state. Things didn’t work out that way, though, with many key One Nation players facing defeat at the polls, and the party looking likely to snag only one or two seats in the next state government.
Malcolm Roberts, who was kicked out of Federal Parliament during the citizenship fiasco, ran as a candidate in Hanson’s heartland of Ipswich, but failed to take the seat from Labor. One Nation state leader Steve Dickson, who won the seat of Buderim as an LNP candidate before changing parties, also conceded overnight.
Hanson herself is refusing to give up on Buderim, hoping that preferences might go in Dickson’s favour, although as it stands, their best prospect is currently the marginal central Queensland seat of Mirani, where a swing against sitting Labor member Jim Pearce may yet deliver a victory to One Nation’s Stephen Andrews on preferences.
While One Nation suffered a routing across the board, it’s not yet safe to assume that they are a spent political force – the party attracted support from around 13 percent of voters statewide, and Hanson is currently spinning their defeat as a victory of sorts, claiming (not inaccurately) that this number is indicative of a rising dissatisfaction with major parties.
“We are going to be around for a while yet,” she told reporters last night. “I’ve still got my Senate seat for another four-and-a-half years, and I do believe that in the vote that we have received across Queensland in this election there is a great potential for One Nation to win Senate seats across Queensland.”
As of this morning, the vote count currently sits at 42 seats to Labor and 36 to the LNP. Annastacia Palaszczuk remains confident that she can reach the 47 seats necessary for a majority, but has said that even if this doesn’t happen, she will not work with One Nation but will instead look to the opposition benches.
With 400,000 postal votes still to be counted, the final result may not be known for a couple of days.