Two years and ten months ago, the morning following the 2012 Queensland state election, I wrote this: http://heyjudeinbrisbane.
blogspot.com.au/2012/03/queensland-state-election-morning-after.html. The people of Queensland had just swept away Labor and installed an LNP government with so large a majority (78 seats out of 89) that, in the absence of a second chamber, it was going to be able to pass whatever legislation it chose. Labor had just seven seats. I felt despondent, with good cause.
What a contrast with today. This time it's the Liberal National Party's turn to be booted out: and Premier Campbell Newman lost his seat of Ashgrove.
LNP supporters handing out voting cards at Bulimba State School yesterday – where I was distributing leaflets on behalf of Clean Air Queensland – were strangely subdued, I thought. Perhaps they already had an inkling from canvassing. I mean nobody believes the polls, do they? During the week they had been either putting the parties neck and neck or the LNP edging ahead.
I asked the Labor team in Bulimba whether they were cautiously optimistic. They were upbeat, but, like the rest of us, didn't dare hope that there could be anything better than the LNP still in power but with a vastly reduced majority.
As the evening progressed, it became obvious that the LNP were in trouble. They were not going to have enough seats to form a government, but Labor might. On Sunday, we still don't know. Labor have 43 seats, to the LNP's 40: they need 45 to form a government. There are two Katter's Australian Party MPs and one Independent, and three seats too close to call.
This was an election that offered voters clear choices: assets to be leased or kept in government hands; big-bucks spending promises or a modest, economic plan; politicians mired in controversy or a seemingly honest and genuine alternative; Campbell Newman or a very different leader.
We should know precisely how Queensland will enter its new political era by the middle of the week.
Update: on Monday morning it is looking more likely there will be a hung parliament. Labor have 43 seats and the LNP 40, with three results unclear. Labor is likely to add one more, not two*. The Katter Party and the Independent MP Peter Wellington have indicated their willingness to talk about a deal with Labor.
Update 2: on Tuesday morning the election result is less certain and further off, with six seats in doubt*. Some seats must have been called to one party or another when there was still a sizeable chunk of votes to count. There is even talk today of Pauline Hanson taking Lockyer, which would add interest to a minority government mix. Early/absent/declaration votes are counted after those from the polling booths, and sometimes favour the incumbent MP. Close final numbers may necessitate recounts, which will further delay the final result of the Queensland election 2015.
This post was last edited on 4 February 2015