Queensland election outcome (crosspost from Crooked Timber)

We just had an election in my home state of Queensland, and the outcomes will be of some broader interest, I hope. The governing Liberal National (= conservative) Party has (almost certainly) gone down to a surprise defeat, going from 78 of 89 seats at the last election to a probable 40 or 41 this time. The key issues were broken promises (particularly regarding job cuts) and government proposals for privatisation.

This can be seen either as a reversal or a repeat of the last election when the governing Labor Party went from 51 seats to 7. That election was also fought on broken promises and privatisation, but with the roles of the parties reversed (Labor had won an election opposing privatisation, then immediately announced it would go ahead).

Among the actual or potential ramifications

* The first instance of a woman Opposition Leader defeating an incumbent government at state or national level in Australia (there have been examples in the much smaller territory governments, but I think this is the first case at State level. The more common pattern has been for a woman to get a “hospital pass” when it is clear that the government is on the way out.
* At the national level, the replacement of the current conservative prime minister Tony Abbott
* The abandonment of the biggest coal mine project in Australia

Looking internationally, the outcome can be seen as a defeat for the politics of austerity and maybe as an example to suggest that Pasokification can be reversed, under the right circumstances.

Finally, I’ll link to my analysis of the asset sales, which got a reasonably prominent run during the campaign. It probably didn’t change many minds, but it helped to counter the barrage of pro-privatisation propaganda.

87 thoughts on “Queensland election outcome (crosspost from Crooked Timber)

  1. @James Wimberley

    “For once, it’s reasonable to assume that markets are fairly efficient.”

    If you were right, then coal power plants would have disappeared a long time ago because ‘the investors’ would have anticipated average global warming. This did not happen. It did not happen because there is no market price for the negative externality. Therefore the relevant information does not enter the profit calculation. You construct an example of informational efficiency (between buyer and seller) but you ignore that the price system is incomplete. Therefore your example is irrelevant for resource allocation. This is exactly where the result of generic Pareto inefficiency for incomplete markets bites.

    As stated by BilB, the inefficiency problem is bigger still. The GFC is not merely an example of ‘imperfection’ but an example of system failure with the consequence of wealth redistribution

  2. Out in the world of electronic graffiti a lot of ALP folk are wailing about the horror prospect that Pauline Hanson might win Lockyer.

    On current counting, the primary votes were:

    ALP 6368
    LNP 8593
    ONP 6981

    Hanson is just ahead on preferences at the moment. It’s fair to assume that crucial to that lead is a chunk of ALP votes that took party advice to “Number Every Box and Put LNP last”.

  3. A quick look at the One Nation Site demonstrates that Pauline Hanson in state Parlement is not going to be an asset to Queensland. She has written, “Global warming is all about a power grab by a wealthy elite and their collectivist sycophants — using the U.N. as a cover and tool.” Which shows a marked inability to actually examine the evidence, such as, you know, looking at temperature records, examining pictures of glaciers now and in the past and seeing how far they have retreated, checking to see if the North-west passage is possible, impossible, or used all the time now. Those sorts of things. But in practice what is she going to do? Oppose carbon pricing and subsidise coal mining? No difference from the LNP there. And with regards to people who made the mistake of not being born pasty white, what is she going to do there? Put them in concentration camps? She should be complaining that the other parties have stolen her policies.

  4. Hanson is just ahead on preferences at the moment. It’s fair to assume that crucial to that lead is a chunk of ALP votes that took party advice to “Number Every Box and Put LNP last”

    Be careful what you ask for. 😉

    I would never give Hanson an effective preference, but then, I’d never preference the LNP either.

    Part of the problem is the view that the message must be simple, like the voters. They could have said: Vote 1 ALP and then use your best judgement … (while producing localised HTVs) …

    Someone who in Lockyer had voted 1 ALP and 2 LNP could not have helped the LNP defeat the ALP of course, even if the ALP candidate had run second on primaries, nor could they have helped the LNP defeat Hanson, unless the ALP had run third to Hanson and the LNP.

    Had I been in Lockyer — perish the thought — I’d have probably voted Greens 1 ALP 2 and then exhausted.

    As horrendous as Hanson’s politics are, her victory at the expense of the LNP would almost certainly have been more damaging to them than the ALP since she would continually wedge them against their own nutbag constituency. So while it would be unprincipled to support her, shrugging your shoulders about who wins has its advantages.

  5. I don’t know how we got on to Hitler, but there is a Law that covers such matters. I’ve deleted Jack’s last comment and the reply. Jack, please take another week off and add Hitler, Mussolini and anything related to the list of topics on which you are not to comment.

  6. Seems pretty amazing that Springborg is still trying to cling to power even though Labor has 44 seats and the support of the independent. Obviously it will take a while to sort out the Ferny Grove situation, but in the meantime surely AP should be able to form government? What’s the talk in the street in Queensland?

    (I ask that of course being aware that the views of one’s friends and acquaintances are no guide to political opinion in general! I know I’ve linked it here before once, but after the 2013 election there was a very funny piece in Crikey about how inner Melbourne – “Greenstown” – was a world unto itself.)

  7. However (re my last question) I get the impression that several commenters from Queensland here (Julie? Ikon?) live in quite conservative areas and talk to people with a wide range of views so maybe you do get a broader sense of what people think?

  8. @Val

    Springborg feels entitled because he was going to challenge Newman and that is why he – Newman – called the election so quickly; before the Borg could take over and they woulda won if he was the leadert.

    They love him out here because he is one of ours. They agree that he is a bit stupid or even more, really stupid, but they foolishly imagine that he is honest or more accurately they understand his level of dishonesty and are okay with it, because everyone in the city does it, but they don’t blame him for the rank corruption that Newman and his cronies were engaged in.

    When local politicians do things like Joh did like diverting a road to go past their place, the locals think that they have had a win and that they are getting some of their taxes back even though it doesn’t benefit them at all. Even better when the highway is diverted in a dogleg so it passes the pub owned by someone on the council or state govt as happened back in the murky past.

    I can’t help you with what people think Val. I’m not very good at understanding people’s thoughts but I can see that there are behaviour changes and the only proof I can give is the true story about my youngest son’s new friend the gun lover and a new one about a neighbour who is another former LNP voter.

    She is older than me, in her 70’s, and she says she has no idea how or why she changed to ‘the right’ because she was raised in the UK as a leftie through and through. Perhaps one of Howards battlers? Small business people, really small business, who thought that the Liberals meant them when they said they were for business.

    She sort of apologised to me for having been so wrong, and we have had many interesting conversations about politics and people since then. We have in common the desire to build the community, this town, and that is enough to overcome any personal differences we may have.

    She has already made an appointment to talk to our new MP Pat Weir, about how we – that’s our local school – can do something about the $2000 application fee to begin the process of starting an after school care service at the school.

    We have the skills but not the money. How is a school with 2 1/2 staff able to raise $2000?

    So I hope Pat Weir is ready for her. I might go along with her and ask Pat why he referred to The Greens as “greenies’ in his mail outs during the last week of the election.

  9. Sounds good Julie. All the best with the after hours care campaign and your thoughts about what people think about Springborg sound really interesting, it makes sense the way you explain it. I hope AP (I am taking the lazy way out with spelling her name!) does get to form government soon though.

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