Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has vowed to work extra hard to win back voters following a huge swing to Labor in the Stafford by-election.
Queensland’s Liberal National Party was always going to lose the Stafford by-election, but the huge swing to Labor is a blow to the party, a political analyst says.
The 18.6 per cent swing against the LNP exceeded that suffered by the government during the Scott Driscoll-dominated Redcliffe by-election in February.
Labor’s candidate Anthony Lynham is the party’s ninth MP after securing 61.5 per cent of the vote after preferences against LNPs Bob Andersen.
Political analyst Paul Williams, from Griffith University, had tipped a swing to Labor of up to a 12 per cent.
“I don’t think anyone in Queensland would have expected it would have exceeded Redcliffe so that’s a huge surprise, mainly because there was no Scott Driscoll,” he told AAP.
“There are a multitude of factors that work here and basically at every level the LNP has a problem.”
It was “natural selection” – Stafford residents historically vote for Labor – and the fact voters don’t like LNP policies or Premier Campbell Newman’s style, he says.
“Only the rusted on Liberal and National voters are the ones clinging to the party, everyone else seems to be deserting it,” Mr Williams said.
He says LNP’s attempts to position Mr Lynham as a blow in backfired.
“As Newman has found out, it’s very hard to win a public relations battle with people who are of a notable profession,” he said.
It’s difficult to say whether the Stafford by-election is representative of the state, but Mr Williams says, either way Mr Newman will be taking note.
“[The swing] is just so damn big no government can dismiss it and say it’s just a by-election,” he said.
However, it doesn’t mean voters are happy with Labor.
“It’s a begrudging second look at Labor… they’re going to have to do a lot more work,” he said.
“And of course the unknown in this equation is how will the Palmer United Party fair… it does throw the whole game into uncertainty.”
Mr Newman has vowed to redouble his efforts, saying it was clear some voters weren’t happy with decisions the government had made.
“At times, people haven’t liked some of the things that we’ve done,” he said on Sunday.
“I’d like to stress that, as always, we’ve been doing it for the right reasons – to take the state forward.”
Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the result sent a clear message to the government.
“He says Queenslanders don’t understand his message, well Campbell Newman the time to listen is now,” she said on Sunday.
Ms Palaszczuk called on the premier to reshuffle cabinet and make some major changes.
The Stafford by-election comes eight months before the state election and followed the resignation of former LNP MP Chris Davis who spoke out against the government.
In February’s Redcliffe by-election the party suffered a 17 per cent swing against it – a result that came after the dodgy business dealings of disgraced former MP Scott Driscoll were exposed.