The end of the Nats

Although the shambolic performance of the Liberal party dominated the election campaign in Queensland, the longer-term implications of the result remain, paradoxically enough, quite good for the Libs. The most important long-term outcome of Saturday’s vote was that, although the One Nation vote finally disappeared (the one remaining MP is effectively an independent), the Nationals picked up almost none of it. Back in 1995, the last pre-Hanson state election, the Nationals got 26.3 per cent of the vote, well ahead of the Libs on 22.7. In 2006, the Nats got 17.3 per cent and the Libs 20.2 per cent.

The only reason the Nats won more seats than the Libs is that their vote is concentrated in a handful of rural seats west of the Great Dividing Range. There’s no reason to think they can ever go much beyond this. Of the coastal seats they held going in to the election, Gaven went back to Labor, and they suffered big swings in several of the others, making them very marginal. The only coastal area where they did at all well was the Sunshine Coast, where the special factor of the Traveston Dam ran against Labor, and the Nats regained Gympie from on-again off-again independent Elise Roberts.

In the absence of a merger, Labor is safe for another two terms. Before the Coalition can get back in, the Libs need to win enough seats to make them the senior partner.

8 thoughts on “The end of the Nats

  1. I guess Qld’s changing demographics are responsible for this. The change in the Nats’ name from Country Party was always over-ambitious as they’ve never broken away from their rural roots and without significant bias in population per seat they’d do even less well than they do now.

    What do you think, btw, of the “Lake Travesty” issue. Dams don’t seem to me to be a very useful way of solving water supply problems anymore. This one seems to have particularly hot issues associated with it. (One of my colleagues at MQ is apparently leading the ‘save the lungfish’ campaign.)

  2. Further, the demise of One Nation is nothing to be especially happy about since it’s rise was one of the chief components in the rise of racial politics within the Liberal Party. Unfortunately, there remains a significant constituency for this stuff in certain marginal seats.

  3. Queensland election wrap up…

    I’ll have more to say tomorrow, but a few points and a few links for today.
    The Greens shouldn’t get too ecstatic about the strength of their vote. Labor strategists I spoke to last night agreed with my proposition that the Green vote was i…

  4. I haven’t had time for a proper analysis of the Dam, Melanie, but it certainly sounds like a dubious proposition.

  5. More blood letting to come for both the national and liberal parties in the next week. It will be a pity If Springborg goes, he seems the only effective one there. Surely they knew that Beattie would jump to an election when the dumped Quinn for Flegg.

  6. Certainly going from Springborg to Seeney would be a backward step. But given his almost non-existent prospects I wouldn’t blame Springborg for jumping before he was pushed.

  7. There is a rumour Springborg will go for a Federal Senate position in today’s Oz. It seems a Sisyphian task to win a state election in the current circumstances, so I can see how strong the temptation is to jump from state to federal.

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