PM may face a spill as polls hint huge upset
A NEW Premier, a new look Cabinet and possibly even a new party in government all now appear possibilities with a day to go to the 2015 Queensland election. .
There is also increasing speculation that a bad day for the LNP may trigger, as early as next week, a Liberal Party move against Tony Abbott.
Latest polling released by Essential have turned the contest on its head, suggesting Labor has a 51%-49% lead over the LNP on a two-party preferred basis.
The poll has found that if the past week the LNP was favoured by 38% of respondents ahead of Labor, 37%, the Greens 10 % and Palmer United 5%.
Griffith University humanities lecturer Dr Paul Williams, a political campaign expert, said a double-digit figure swing against the LNP, on top of the recent loss at the Victorian state election, could well lead to a leadership spill being called next week by a party disillusioned with its head.
"It's a perfect trigger well before the New South Wales state election and before the return of parliament,'' he said.
The latest Galaxy polling, conducted on Australia Day, had Labor federally ahead 56.5% to 43.5% on a two-party preferred basis.
Dr Williams said the numbers were worrying given an "average" Opposition Leader in Bill Shorten
A figure close to the LNP predicted everyone involved in the Queensland LNP campaign would be pointing the finger at Mr Abbott come Sunday.
Sunshine Coast LNP cabinet ministers who spoke to the Daily yesterday remained adamant Campbell Newman would retain his seat of Ashgrove.
They are views at odds with both polling, which gives Labor's Kate Jones a 54-46 two-party preferred lead in Ashgrove, and betting.
Ms Jones has firmed into a $1.35 favourite.
An LNP win remains likely but its 73 seats in the parliament may be cut to as few as 46 but with 48 firming as the more likely number. That would leave Labor with 35 to 37 seats and the balance with independents and Katter Australia Party candidates.
The LNP may be reduced to just two seats in north Queensland and faces heavy losses in Brisbane.
Despite increasing signals that the swing against the government could reach 12-13%, Dr Williams believes it may be less and is tipping 9.7% across the board, but says his numbers may be conservative.
A consistent swing of 9.7% would leave the government with 49 seats, sufficient to govern but facing Labor with 38 seats (up from nine) and Katter and independent candidates with five.
"It may be closer run, far closer than I thought,'' Dr Williams said." I've been conservative, but maybe Morgan (poll) had it right at 50.5 LNP and 49.5% Labor, and a cigarette paper thickness between them.
The next Cabinet will have a different leader and a different ball game.''
He said the final result might not be known until well into next week. Some seat outcomes would remain subject to appeals to the Court of Disputed Returns.
What was certain was the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast would provide a new LNP Government's bedrock and as a consequence retain significant representation in senior cabinet positions.
Dr Williams said with two days to go the electorate had stopped listening and barring a late surge, which was still not apparent, Mr Newman would lose Ashgrove.
University of the Sunshine Coast lecturer in politics Bronwyn Stevens said the electorate was disappointed with some actions of the Newman Government, particularly public servant sacking that were not foreshadowed before the 2012 election - something that played into the same anger with the ALP's asset sales.
"It's not a swing to Labor, it's anti-LNP,'' she said.
"Arrogance was the other side of 'Can-Do Campbell'. It turned into a negative. The government also didn't appear to take kindly to any opposition.''
Ms Stevens said it was a case of you being with the government all the way or against it.
She said the government had picked too many fights with conservative groups, such as judges, and in its sacking of the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee.
She said Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney's attack on independents was an own-goal that had really belittled the very hard work of retiring Gladstone independent Liz Cunningham.
"It was a case of either you agree with us right now, and fully, or you're against us,'' Ms Stevens said. "That's just bad politics."