Counting has resumed today for the Queensland election results with 13 seats still undecided. Labor has a small lead heading in into today but that is unlikely to be the major talking point of the result with a hung parliament very much a possibility.
Labor currently holds about 36% of the vote whilst the Liberals are at about 34%. With a total of 93 seats available and Labor currently holding 42, they will need to gain 5 seats of the remaining 13 in order to ensure a majority parliament.
The currently low share that both of the major parties hold is evidence of the new trend in which voters appear to be turned off the major parties. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has managed to gain quite a significant share of votes (14%) for a minor party to highlight the change in attitude.
Despite not being able to turn these votes into seats, it does highlight the shift in thinking of Queensland voters and is likely to have repercussions for Malcolm Turnbull and his party.
It is predicted that the Labor government will gain majority when counting is concluded and there are four key implications that it will have for the Turnbull government.
Firstly, it makes the by election of December 16 even more important and Turnbull’s government is heavily centred on this. Secondly, the federal MP’s of Queensland’s Coalition will want more attention from government. And finally, the already nervous and depressed federal backbench will be further unsettled.
With the citizen crisis having erupted over the past few months, the Bennelong election was always going to be important, however the impending Labor victory in Queensland only makes it more so.
Mr Turnbull now has to become involved in the Bennelong seat left vacant by former MP John Alexander in an attempt to highlight his leadership and ensure a Liberal victory.
The challenge associated with this is that a loss will see Mr Turnbull at the front of the failure and have to cope with the ensuing responsibility of the swing in parliament. However, should they succeed, it will greatly benefit him having taken control of the situation and highlighted his own leadership.
Turnbull failed to appear regularly during the month-long campaign run by the LNP for the Queensland election, potentially highlighting the current struggles within parliament.
With the current dual-citizenship drama and constant media around the same-sex marriage debate it is unsurprising that the Turnbull government are in chaos. This only further strengthens the need for Mr Turnbull to play a role in the upcoming by-election to emphasise his leadership.
Whilst Mr Turnbull is yet to face any challenges to his leadership, the potential for a weakened party and many Queensland MP’s demanding greater attention is likely to cause further unsettlement within the party.
There is no doubt that Mr Turnbull cannot do it all himself and he therefore must enlist the power of the party to ensure a win come December 16.