Another feature of the Queensland results worth noting are the 3 cornered contests, where Liberals and Nationals competed against each other alongside labor. There were 5 of these seats in Queensland and these results should give the Liberals some cheer in amongst their losses, as they clobbered the Nationals in 3 of them and made up big ground in another.
In Capricornia (based on Rockhampton but also with a lot of rural areas), the Libs and Nats are level pegging in primary votes, but this is an improvement from the last election for the Libs of 6.7%, while the Nats have gone backwards by over 10%.
In Fadden (based on the northern end of the Gold Coast), the Nationals polled just 7%, compared to the Liberals at around 50%.
Flynn provides the only ray of hope for the Nats. This is a new seat, based on Gladstone but going as far inland as Winton and with much rural and mining heartland in between . The Nats got 33% and the Libs 14% (although Labor won what was a nominally National seat, so not really that much cheer for them)
Forde, which covers Beenleigh and the newly urbanising Beaudesert region, had the Libs score 34% and the Nats only 12%. This was despite the fact the Nationals’ candidate is a local councillor in Beaudesert Shire and by all accounts quite competent, and even with a story hitting the Courier-Mail in the final week saying the local Libs were putting their resources behind the Nats because they felt their own campaign and candidate was so bad. In that circumstance, it is perhaps no surprise that this seat had the biggest swing to Labor in the whole state.
Leichhardt, which covers Cape York and most of Cairns, had the Libs at 38.5% and the Nats at less than 4%.
Even more than the fact they’ve lost two Queensland seats in Dawson and Flynn (plus another in northern NSW), I think its these figures that show the Nationals are at serious risk of following the path of the Democrats in a decade or so.
A key thing to watch in this regard next election will be the seat of Dawson. Although prior to this election Dawson has been held by the Nationals for over 30 years, as it is now a Labor held seat, the Liberals will be able to contest it as well next election. With Dawson becoming much more coastal and far more influenced by sea changers and the mining boom, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Libs made big inroads into the National Party vote next time (while the three cornered contest will also make it easier for Labor to hang on to it for another term.)