The deteriorating Queensland economy is the number one issue in the State election says political scientist Dr Paul Williams from Griffith University.
“With job losses in the mining sector and a $1.5 billion budget deficit, all eyes will be on Queensland to see how voters react to the economic downturn.
“Will voters punish the incumbent, or stick to the devil they know in these uncertain times?” he said.
Dr Williams said it was also an election with a number of firsts.
“It’s Anna Bligh’s first as Premier seeking a mandate in her own right and Queensland’s first opportunity to elect a woman premier.
“It’s the first election on new electoral boundaries since 2001, the first for the LNP — the first new major party in Queensland since 1949 and it’s the first election in Australia since the 2008 economic downturn.”
He said despite the 8 per cent swing and 20 seats needed for the LNP to form government for the first time in 11 years, it will still be an uncertain election.
Leadership will be another critical issue, with Bligh anxious to earn her own mandate away from Beattie’s shadow, and with Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg, after two previous defeats in 2004 and 2006, undoubtedly facing his last tilt at the premiership.
“But voters will also be weighing up the new LNP. For many, the new party is an uncertain quantity, and voters will ask if it’s a genuine partnership, or a really the old National party with a Liberal rump, or a Liberal party with a Nationals rump?
“Ultimately, the LNP will campaign on Labor’s “failure” in infrastructure, as well as mounting government debt, while Labor will warn voters not to risk an untested LNP.”
He says there will be at least two election results in Queensland, with the southeast behaving differently from the rest of the state. But Labor is expected to be returned fairly easily.
Brisbane will stay fairly solidly behind Labor, with polling showing a reluctance to endorse a former National as Premier.
Seat such as Indooroopilly, Cleveland, Chatsworth and Aspley will probably fall to the LNP. Outside Brisbane, expect Whitsunday, Glass House, Hervey Bay, Mudgeeraba and Gaven to similarly fall. North Queensland will also swing against Labor, with Barron River a probably gain for the Opposition.
“The LNP can expect around a 10 seat gain, positioning them nicely for the next election in 2012.”