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Maroons hold Albo at bay: Labor goes dim in Sunshine State

by Mark Sawyer | May 26, 2022 | Lobbyland

In the week after the 2019 election, everyone was talking about Queensland. If not for the Sunshine State, Bill Shorten would have been elected prime minister and Anthony Albanese would be a mid-tier minister. Now, perhaps not enough people are talking about Queensland, at least outside Queensland.

That’s because while Labor is on the cusp of majority government, its presence in Queensland is extraordinarily weak. The latest tally gives the Coalition at least 21 of the state’s 30 seats in the House of Representatives. Labor went into Election ’22 with only six seats, and still went backwards, losing Griffith to the Greens. The Greens have also taken Ryan from the Liberals and may take Brisbane. Bob Katter continues to run his fiefdom in Kennedy.

The Albanese government’s Queensland representation will be the lowest of any Labor government in our 121 years of nationhood. Even the Whitlam government, seen by many Queenslanders as a southern plot, never ruled without at least a third of the Queensland seats.

Yes, Queensland was one of the few jurisdictions to record a swing to Labor on May 21. The others were Western Australia and the ACT. And many more of the Coalition’s Queensland seats moved into the marginal column. But it remains a poor result. Queensland has one sixth of Australia’s seats yet gave Labor only one-fifteenth of its seats.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers will top Labor’s Queensland team but the frontbencher who would have been environment minister, Terri Butler, was defeated in Griffith.

Queensland has taken over from Victoria as the state that doesn’t decide the election.

 

Mark Sawyer is a journalist with extensive experience in print and digital media in Sydney, Melbourne and rural Australia.

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