Shock losses to LNP and Greens in Queensland elections sound warning for Labor ahead of October poll | Queensland politics

Queensland’s Labor government has taken a huge hit in two byelections, seeming likely to lose the once-safe seat of Ipswich West and suffering a huge swing in Inala, previously held by the former premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Queensland’s governing party also bled votes to the left in Saturday’s local government elections, with the Greens registering their best-ever result.

On Sunday, Brisbane-based federal Labor minister Anika Wells told Sky News there was “clearly a lot for us to work on” ahead of a state election in October and a federal election due next year.

“As a member of federal Labor in Queensland, it’s always tough for us here,” Wells said.

Labor appears to have lost nearly half its primary vote – 30% – in its safest seat, Inala. If the result holds, it would be a worse result than the Liberal National party government of Campbell Newman experienced in two disastrous byelections before its defeat at a general election in 2015.

Labor appeared to have suffered a 17.7% two-party-preferred swing in Ipswich West, according to early counting.

The LNP candidate in Ipswich West, Darren Zanow, a retired former concrete business owner, campaigned on a platform of cracking down on youth crime.

Members of the LNP were confident of taking the seat on Saturday night, although not yet declaring victory.

The state will hold a general election in October. If repeated, Saturday’s result would mean an end to the 10-year Labor government and give the state’s conservative party its third government since 1989.

The opposition leader David Crisafulli told a jubilant crowd of supporters at the Mihi Tavern in Ipswich that the electorate had sent the government a message. “It is clear that tonight we have created history.

“The results in the seats give comfort to people who are looking for a better way. Who are looking to be listened to, who are looking for an end to the youth crime crisis, the housing crisis, the cost of living crisis and the health crisis.

“Tonight, residents in two Labor party heartlands said enough is enough.”

The byelections were the first electoral test for the new Labor leader, Steven Miles, who replaced Palaszczuk as premier in December. Her resignation in Inala sparked the byelection there.

Miles left an election-night party in Inala early on Saturday night, without speaking to media. Earlier on Saturday he told media it wasn’t unusual to see large swings in byelections.

“Byelections are hard for governments and easy for oppositions,” he said.

Council elections

Labor’s woes may be compounded by the continued advance of the Green party, to their left.

Brisbane’s lord mayor, Adrian Schrinner, has held on at the head of Australia’s biggest council and has retained a majority of council wards, which are elected separately.

Just one LNP electorate, Paddington Ward, appears most likely to have fallen, to the Greens. Several others are in doubt.

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The Greens, who campaigned with the slogan “the system needs a shake-up”, replaced Labor as the second party in a number of inner city wards.

The lord mayor candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan failed to beat Labor into second place, with just 20.7% to 26.3% at close of counting.

“We are getting much closer to the point where Brisbane is not a two-party city,” the state MP Michael Berkman told ABC radio.

The Labor backbencher Mark Bailey said the advance of the minor party wasn’t coming at the expense of the major party, because they weren’t losing wards to the Greens. “The Greens have got one more out of 26, we have five,” he said.

“Labor is still the opposition in the council and the Greens have still got to make up, I suggest, a fair bit of ground, before they can consider themselves a genuine threat.”

Meanwhile, the state held 76 council elections on Saturday, with one local government ballot delayed a week due to bad weather.

Due to low staffing at the state’s electoral commission, people queued for more than an hour in many Brisbane booths, despite turnout being lower than that at the height of the pandemic in March 2020.

Some voters were turned away from booths due to local government boundary issues; some reportedly after waiting in line for lengthy periods. 150,594 voters weren’t issued a ballot at all, due to uncontested elections.

Counting had yet to begin for many positions on Saturday night.

The alleged murderer Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden looks to have failed in his bid for reelection to the Gold Coast council, trailing in third place.

The controversial former LNP MP Andrew Laming has also fallen short in his bid to become the mayor of Redland City, south of Brisbane.

The Labor-aligned Townsville mayor, Jenny Hill, looks to have lost to challenger Troy Thompson.

The Gold Coast’s mayor, Tom Tate, has been comfortably reelected.

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