The next Queensland election is likely to see Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party re-establishing itself as the power broker in the next state parliament.
Some analysts are predicting that the increased support for One Nation is so high that the election result will ‘hang’ Queensland’s Parliament for the next four years.
One Nation has not held a parliamentary state seat in Queensland since 2009.
According to latest polling, the party may attract as much as 18% of the primary vote, although experts concede the figures vary widely across Queensland.
The party is set to contest every state seat, excepting those held by the Katter’s Australian Party, Bundamba held by ALP’s Jo-Ann Miller and the LNP’s Mark Robinson in Oodgeroo.
One Nation party tacticians have also recommended that every sitting MP should be placed last on One Nation How-To-Vote cards, in order to deflect criticism of back room deals and underhanded tactics.
According to the ABC’s James Ashby, Pauline Hanson’s chief of staff said that if they proceed with the party’s recommendations, both major parties would find themselves in ‘a dangerous predicament’.
‘Certainly it doesn’t leave One Nation in a dangerous predicament, but certainly any sitting member would find that quite alarming.’
Mr Ashby believes that the major parties are worried.
In far North Queensland, both the LNP and the ALP have steadily lost support, with the ALP losing as much as 10% of the primary vote. The LNP is faring better, but One Nation has swept up most of the disenfranchised, potentially attracting as much as 20% of the primary vote.
In South East Queensland, the major parties are neck and neck. In the remaining regions, which include the seats of Nanango, Southern Downs and Warrego, there has been a significant loss of support for both major parties. In coastal areas like Gladstone and Bundaberg, the ALP is on the nose.
Recently, compulsory preferential voting has been re-established in the state and Queenslanders will now be required to number each box on the ballot paper. For analysts, this reform makes the election outcome very hard to predict.
One Nation is set to take full advantage.
‘We have no choice but to indicate to voters a recommendation on how we would think those preferences should flow’, said Mr Ashby to the ABC:
‘But ultimately it needs to come down to the voter making an informed decision of their own — they own their preferences, not the political parties.
‘It’s only when the voter understands the political system that they take control of their vote.’
According to many experts, support for One Nation is continuing to grow in marginal electorates like Callide (LNP) and Keppel (ALP).
If they fall to One Nation candidates, it is likely that Queensland politics will again take centre stage.