Labor To Form Majority Govt After LNP Tim Nicholls Concedes
Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls has finally conceded defeat in the state election nearly a fortnight after polls closed.
Mr Nicholls called Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday morning to concede after Labor won enough seats to form a majority government.
This morning I rang @AnnastaciaMP to concede & wish her the best. I am proud of the positive campaign @LNPQLD ran. I take full responsibility for it. At the party room on Tuesday I will not seek to continue as LNP leader. It is time for a new generation of LNP leaders.— Tim Nicholls MP (@TimNichollsMP) December 8, 2017
He will also resign as opposition leader and a party room meeting has been called on Tuesday to choose his successor.
Annastacia Palaszczuk becomes the first woman leader in Australia's political history to win a second term.
The Premier is expected to visit Governor Paul De Jersey to declare she can form a government this afternoon.
However, a spokesman for the premier said Ms Palaszczuk will wait until the Electoral Commission of Queensland officially declared Labor has won the 47 seats needed to form a majority before making the trip.
With the vote count tight across most of the state, the LNP said it would only concede once it had no chance of claiming victory.
But with the ECQ set to declare the winners of the final handful of seats in state parliament today, the LNP now admits it has no path to victory.
It's on track to pick up 39 seats to Labor's 48, which would give Labor a slim two-seat majority.
CHALLENGES FACING THE NEW LABOR GOVERNMENT
* ECONOMY - Queensland's government debt is forecast to hit just under $81 billion by 2021. Labor announced four new taxes in the tail end of the election campaign to help fund its election promises, but the "debt action plan" announced during the campaign had no new measures. Dealing with debt while still maintaining services and creating new infrastructure projects will be a key juggling act for the government in its second term.
* POWER PRICES - Labor has committed to a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, and has been in a public fight with the federal government over that pledge, with the Commonwealth claiming it will lead to blackouts and rising power costs. Power bills have also been rising, but not by as much as in southern states where electricity generation is wholly in private hands.
* EMPLOYMENT - Annastacia Palaszczuk famously said she wanted " an unemployment figure with a '5' in it" before the end of her first term in office, and got her wish when the trend unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 per cent earlier this year. Many of Ms Palaszczuk's election promises centred around her multiple job-creating programs. However, the state's job market has also softened significantly over the last few years, with more part-time and casual positions compared to full-time jobs.
* TRANSPORT - Southeast Queensland's rail network has been beset by problems for the better part of a year leading up to the election, with cascading timetable failures caused by rostering issues and the bungled delivery of new trains which didn't meet safety and disability guidelines. The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April are expected to put even more pressure on the southeast's struggling transport network, and whoever winds up Transport Minister will have their work cut out for them.
* INTERNAL DIVISIONS - Ms Palaszczuk had to contend with squabbling factions and troublesome MPs during her first term and, with a thin majority, The Premier will again have her work cut out for her. Top of the list of internal troubles will be rogue Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller, who almost derailed the final week of Labor's campaign by meeting with, and embracing Pauline Hanson on the campaign trail.