Queensland state election, 2012

Queensland state election, 2012
24 March 2012 (2012-03-24)

All 89 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
  First party Second party
Leader Campbell Newman Anna Bligh
Party Liberal National Labor
Leader since 22 March 2011 (2011-03-22) 13 September 2007 (2007-09-13)
Leader's seat Ashgrove (won seat) South Brisbane
Last election 34 seats 51 seats
Seats won 78 seats 7 seats
Seat change Increase44 Decrease44
Percentage 62.8% 37.2%
Swing Increase13.7 Decrease13.7

Results by electoral division.

Premier before election

Anna Bligh

Elected Premier

Campbell Newman
Liberal National

The 2012 Queensland state election was held on 24 March 2012 to elect all 89 members of the Legislative Assembly, a unicameral parliament.[1]

The Labor Party (ALP), led by Premier Anna Bligh, was defeated by the opposition Liberal National Party (LNP), led by Campbell Newman. It is only the sixth time that Queenslanders have ousted a sitting government since 1915. The ALP was attempting to win a ninth consecutive election victory, having won every general election since 1989 although it was out of office between 1996 and 1998. Katter's Australian Party contested its first election. Before the election, it held two seats whose members had been elected as LNP candidates.

Labor suffered one of the worst defeats of a state government since Federation, and the worst defeat of a sitting government in Queensland history. From 51 seats in 2009, it was reduced to only seven seats, suffering a swing of 15.6 percentage points. The LNP won a majority for the first time in its history, jumping from 34 seats to 78 seats to win the largest majority government in Queensland history. It was the first outright non-Labor majority since the Queensland Nationals won their last victory in 1986. Katter's Australian Party won two seats, though leader Aidan McLindon lost his own seat. The remaining two seats were taken by independents. Newman took office two days after the election.


The Gallagher Index result: 31.16

Queensland state election, 24 March 2012
Legislative Assembly
<< 2009 2015 >>

Enrolled voters 2,746,844
Votes cast 2,499,612 Turnout 91.00 +0.07
Informal votes 53,797 Informal 2.15 +0.21
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal National 1,214,553 49.66 +8.06 78 +44
  Labor 652,092 26.66 –15.59 7 –44
  Katter's Australian Party 282,098 11.53 +11.53 2 +2
  Greens 184,147 7.53 –0.84 0 ±0
  Family First 33,269 1.36 +0.54 0 ±0
  One Nation 2,525 0.10 –0.28 0 ±0
  Independent 77,282 3.16 –3.42 2 –2
Total 2,445,966     89  
  Liberal National 62.8 +13.7
  Labor 37.2 −13.7
* The two-party preferred summary is an estimate by Antony Green using a methodology by Malcolm Mackerras.

The estimated two-party preferred result was 37.2% for Labor and 62.8% for the LNP, a swing of 13.7% from Labor's result of 2009.[2]

The LNP had been unbackable favourites to win the election. By the time the writs were dropped, they had led opinion polling for over a year, and had been ahead of Labor on all but one Newspoll since 2010.

The LNP swept Labor from power in a massive landslide, taking 78 seats to Labor's seven on a two-party-preferred swing of 13.7 points away from Labor. The 44-seat loss is double the 22-seat loss suffered by the Nationals in the 1989 election, the previous record for the worst defeat of a sitting government in Queensland history. The 13.7-percent swing is one of the largest against a sitting state government in Australia since World War II.

In the process, the LNP won many seats considered Labor heartland. It broke Labor's longstanding grip on Brisbane, taking all but three of the city's 40 seats, some on swings of 10 points or more. By comparison, Labor went into the election holding all but six seats in the capital, which had been its power base for over 20 years. In every election since the "one vote one value" reforms of the Goss government, Labor had won at least 30 seats in Brisbane. The LNP also won every seat on the Gold Coast while strengthening its hold on its traditional heartlands in provincial and rural Queensland. Ten members of Bligh's cabinet were defeated. Newman won Ashgrove handily, defeating Labor's Kate Jones on a 13-point swing, almost double the 7-point swing he needed to take the seat off Labor.

ABC News called the election for the LNP at 6:48 pm Queensland time, less than an hour after counting began. Bligh conceded defeat at 8:25 pm, and Newman publicly claimed victory 20 minutes later.[3]

The day after the election, Bligh announced she was resigning as Queensland Labor leader. She also announced she was resigning from parliament on 30 March and retiring from politics, triggering a by-election in her seat of South Brisbane.[4][5] An hour later, Newman, who at the time did not know that Bligh had resigned, announced that he would be sworn in as premier on 26 March, heading an interim three-man cabinet composed of himself, Seeney and Tim Nicholls. Although Newman's victory was beyond doubt, counting was still under way in some seats.[6] Bligh handed in her resignation later on the afternoon of 25 March, but remained as caretaker until Newman was sworn in the next day.

Although Labor came up two seats short of official party status in the legislature, Newman promised that Labor would be "properly resourced as an opposition".[7]

Summary of Assembly results

Popular vote
Liberal National
Katter's Australia Party
% of the seats won
Liberal National
Katter's Australia Party

Seats changing hands

Labor lost 44 seats, all but one to the LNP. Katter's Australia Party took the other, but lost its leader's seat to the LNP, which also gained three seats formerly held by independents.

Seat Pre-2012 Swing Post-2012
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Albert   Labor Margaret Keech 6.5 –18.4 11.9 Mark Boothman Liberal National  
Algester   Labor Karen Struthers 9.2 –18.4 9.2 Anthony Shorten Liberal National  
Ashgrove   Labor Kate Jones 7.1 –12.8 5.7 Campbell Newman Liberal National  
Barron River   Labor Steve Wettenhall 2.2 –11.7 9.5 Michael Trout Liberal National  
Beaudesert   Australian Aidan McLindon N/A1 –2.3 10.6 Jon Krause Liberal National  
Brisbane Central   Labor Grace Grace 6.0 –10.8 4.9 Robert Cavallucci Liberal National  
Broadwater   Labor Peta-Kaye Croft 2.0 –13.3 11.3 Verity Barton Liberal National  
Bulimba   Labor Di Farmer 7.8 –7.9 0.1 Aaron Dillaway Liberal National  
Burleigh   Labor Christine Smith 4.9 –16.0 11.1 Michael Hart Liberal National  
Burnett   Independent Rob Messenger N/A2 2.3 8.8 Stephen Bennett Liberal National  
Cairns   Labor Desley Boyle 4.2 –13.1 8.9 Gavin King Liberal National  
Capalaba   Labor Michael Choi 9.7 –13.4 3.7 Steve Davies Liberal National  
Chatsworth   Labor Steve Kilburn 0.1 –14.0 13.9 Steve Minnikin Liberal National  
Cook   Labor Jason O'Brien 2.2 –5.6 3.4 David Kempton Liberal National  
Everton   Labor Murray Watt 1.4 –14.6 13.2 Tim Mander Liberal National  
Ferny Grove   Labor Geoff Wilson 4.5 –14.0 9.5 Dale Shuttleworth Liberal National  
Greenslopes   Labor Cameron Dick 6.9 –9.4 2.5 Ian Kaye Liberal National  
Ipswich   Labor Rachel Nolan 16.7 –20.9 4.2 Ian Berry Liberal National  
Ipswich West   Labor Wayne Wendt 9.5 –16.8 7.2 Sean Choat Liberal National  
Kallangur   Labor Mary-Anne O'Neill 4.6 –17.1 12.4 Trevor Ruthenberg Liberal National  
Keppel   Labor Paul Hoolihan 7.6 –14.0 6.4 Bruce Young Liberal National  
Logan   Labor John Mickel 13.9 –18.7 4.8 Michael Pucci Liberal National  
Lytton   Labor Paul Lucas 12.2 –13.8 1.6 Neil Symes Liberal National  
Mansfield   Labor Phil Reeves 4.4 –15.6 11.3 Ian Walker Liberal National  
Maryborough   Independent Chris Foley 16.8 –17.2 0.4 Anne Maddern Liberal National  
Morayfield   Labor Mark Ryan 9.1 –14.7 5.6 Darren Grimwade Liberal National  
Mount Coot-tha   Labor Andrew Fraser 5.2 –10.6 5.4 Saxon Rice Liberal National  
Mount Ommaney   Labor Julie Attwood 4.8 –21.3 16.5 Tarnya Smith Liberal National  
Mount Isa   Labor Betty Kiernan 5.7 N/A 10.0 Robbie Katter Australian  
Mundingburra   Labor Lindy Nelson-Carr 6.6 –16.8 10.2 David Crisafulli Liberal National  
Murrumba   Labor Dean Wells 7.2 –16.7 9.5 Reg Gulley Liberal National  
Nanango   Independent Dorothy Pratt 2.9 10.3 9.0 Deb Frecklington Liberal National  
Nudgee   Labor Neil Roberts 14.3 –17.4 3.1 Jason Woodforth Liberal National  
Pine Rivers   Labor Carolyn Male 4.6 –18.3 13.7 Seath Holswich Liberal National  
Pumicestone   Labor Carryn Sullivan 5.0 –17.1 12.1 Lisa France Liberal National  
Redcliffe   Labor Lillian van Litsenburg 5.6 –15.7 10.1 Scott Driscoll Liberal National  
Sandgate   Labor Vicky Darling 12.4 –15.3 2.9 Kerry Millard Liberal National  
Southport   Labor Peter Lawlor 3.5 –18.2 14.7 Rob Molhoek Liberal National  
Springwood   Labor Barbara Stone 4.1 –19.3 15.2 John Grant Liberal National  
Stafford   Labor Stirling Hinchliffe 7.3 –14.4 7.1 Chris Davis Liberal National  
Stretton   Labor Stephen Robertson 9.5 −19.1 9.6 Freya Ostapovitch Liberal National  
Sunnybank   Labor Judy Spence 10.8 −21.0 10.2 Mark Stewart Liberal National  
Thuringowa   Labor Craig Wallace 8.5 −9.9 1.4 Sam Cox Liberal National  
Toowoomba North   Labor Kerry Shine 3.2 –12.8 9.6 Trevor Watts Liberal National  
Townsville   Labor Mandy Johnstone 4.0 −8.9 4.8 John Hathaway Liberal National  
Waterford   Labor Evan Moorhead 16.5 −17.5 1.0 Mike Latter Liberal National  
Whitsunday   Labor Jan Jarratt 3.2 −13.9 10.7 Jason Costigan Liberal National  
Yeerongpilly   Labor Simon Finn 8.7 −10.1 1.4 Carl Judge Liberal National  

Candidates in italics did not contest their seat at this election.

1 Aidan McLindon was elected as a member of the LNP in 2009, but he quit the party to form the Queensland Party in 2010, then merged his party with Katter's Australian Party in 2011.
2 Rob Messenger was elected as a member of the LNP in 2009, but quit the party to become an independent in 2010.

Voting method

Queensland uses optional preferential version of the instant-runoff system in single-member electorates. The election was conducted by the Electoral Commission of Queensland, an independent body answerable to Parliament.

Leadership of the Liberal National Party

Campbell Newman was elected leader of the LNP in early 2011 while he was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane. Standard practice calls for an MP from a safe seat to resign so that a newly elected leader can get into parliament via a by-election, though this is not universally followed. However, when Newman won the leadership in 2011, a by-election could not be arranged.[8] For this reason, Jeff Seeney was elected as interim parliamentary leader of the LNP and Leader of the Opposition. Newman led the LNP election team from outside of parliament, often sitting at the galleries, and simultaneously contested the seat of Ashgrove as the LNP candidate.[9]


In Queensland, a parliamentary term is a maximum of three years, measured from the day set for the return of the electoral writs. The previous state election was held on 21 March 2009 to elect the 89 members of the Legislative Assembly.

Section 80 of the Queensland Electoral Act 1992 states that an election must be held on a Saturday; and that the election campaign must run for a minimum of 26 or a maximum of 56 days following the issue of the writs. Five to seven days following the issue of the writs, the electoral roll is closed, which gives voters a final opportunity to enroll or to notify the Electoral Commission of Queensland of any changes in their place of residence.[10]

The Constitution Act Amendment Act 1890 provides that the Legislative Assembly continues for (up to) three years from the day set for the return of writs for the previous election, after which time the Legislative Assembly lapses.[11] The day set for the return of writs for the 2009 election was 20 April 2009.[12] The Electoral Act requires the Governor to issue writs for a general election "not later than 4 days after the day on which the Legislative Assembly is dissolved or expires by the passage of time" (section 78(2)). The last possible day for the next election was therefore a Saturday not more than 56 days beyond four days after the expiry of the Legislative Assembly on 24 April 2012, namely, 16 June 2012.

In choosing 24 March, Bligh made the unusual step of announcing the election date two months prior. Bligh was criticised for selecting a date which required the postponement of local government elections.[13] Bligh has said that date allowed Queenslanders to view the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into the 2010–11 Queensland floods before they vote.[14] Normal practice in Australia is for parliament to be dissolved at the time of the election announcement. However, Bligh did not formally ask Governor Penelope Wensley to dissolve Parliament until 19 February. Wensley granted the request, formally beginning the 35-day campaign.[15] By not asking for a dissolution in January, Bligh avoided placing the government in caretaking mode for 25 days.[14]

Key dates

Date Event
19 February 2012 Writ of election issued by the Governor[16]
25 February 2012 Close of electoral rolls
27 February 2012 Close of nominations
24 March 2012 Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm
26 March 2012 Interim Newman Ministry was sworn in[6]
3 April 2012 Full Newman Ministry sworn[17]
23 April 2012 Writ returned and results formally declared
15 May 2012 54th Parliament convened[18]

Retiring MPs

The following Members of Parliament stood down at the election:




Contesting parties

A total of six Queensland registered political parties contested the election. The two major parties, the ALP and LNP (each contesting all 89 seats), The Greens (89 seats), Katter's Australian Party (76 seats), Family First (38 seats) and One Nation (6 seats). In addition to the above parties, 43 Independent or non-aligned candidates contested the election. Of the 43 candidates, several contested on behalf of unregistered parties, namely: Socialist Alliance (3 seats), North Queensland Party (3 seats), Queensland Party (2 seats), Democratic Labor Party (1 seat) and Middle Australian Party (1 seat).

Disendorsed candidates

The Liberal National Party disendorsed two candidates for the Gold Coast seat of Broadwater. Richard Townson was caught drink driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.07 when he was in a police random breath test. Cameron Caldwell was disendorsed when he confirmed he had attended a Gold Coast swingers' club.[24]

The Australian Labor Party disendorsed candidate Peter Watson for the seat of Southern Downs and expelled him from the party for making racist and homophobic remarks online.[25]

Katter appeal on ballot papers

On 2 March 2012, Katter's Australian Party sought an injunction in the Supreme Court of Queensland to have more than 2 million ballot papers shredded and reprinted. The party said the Queensland Electoral Commission used the party's abbreviated name, "The Australian Party", instead of its registered name, "Katter's Australian Party (Qld Division)", which the party claimed could confuse voters.[26] Bligh said that her lawyers had advised her to reschedule the election if Katter's challenge succeeded.[27]

On 7 March, Supreme Court Justice Roslyn Atkinson referred the matter to the Queensland Court of Appeal as matters of constitutional law in the case were outside her jurisdiction.[28] The Court of Appeal rejected the constitutional arguments and dismissed the appeal the following day.[29]


Newspoll polling was conducted via random telephone number selection in city and country areas. Sampling sizes usually consist of around 1000 electors, with the declared margin of error at around ±3 percent.

Legislative Assembly polling
Primary vote TPP vote
2012 election 26.7% 49.7% 7.5% 16.1% 37.2% 62.8%
20–22 March 2012 28% 50% 6% 16% 39.2% 60.8%
3–15 February 2012 30% 47% 9% 14% 42% 58%
Oct–Dec 2011 31% 44% 10% 15% 44% 56%
Jul–Sep 2011 27% 50% 8% 15% 39% 61%
Apr–May 2011 31% 51% 7% 11% 40% 60%
Jan–Mar 2011 38% 37% 10% 15% 52% 48%
Oct–Dec 2010 26% 45% 13% 16% 41% 59%
Jul–Sep 2010 29% 44% 14% 13% 43% 57%
2009 Election 42.3% 41.6% 8.4% 7.8% 50.9% 49.1%
18–19 March 2009 42% 42% 7% 9% 49.9% 50.1%
Polling conducted by Newspoll and published in The Australian.
Better Premier polling^
Bligh Newman
20–22 March 2012 36% 51%
3–15 February 2012 40% 44%
Oct–Dec 2011 39% 43%
Jul–Sep 2011 34% 48%
Apr–May 2011 35% 49%
Jan–Mar 2011 53% 26%2
Oct–Dec 2010 31% 41%2
Jul–Sep 2010 34% 42%2
2009 election
18–19 March 2009 53% 33%1
Polling conducted by Newspoll
and published in The Australian.
^ Remainder were "uncommitted" to either leader.
1 Lawrence Springborg.
2 John-Paul Langbroek.
Satisfaction polling^
Bligh Newman
Satisfied Dissatisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied
20–22 March 2012 36% 58% 47% 40%
3–15 February 2012 41% 50% 45% 37%
Oct–Dec 2011 39% 50% 45% 33%
Jul–Sep 2011 38% 52% 51% 27%
Apr–May 2011 40% 50% 50% 22%
Jan–Mar 2011 49% 43% 33%2 40%2
Oct–Dec 2010 24% 67% 38%2 38%2
Jul–Sep 2010 26% 65% 32%2 42%2
2009 election
18–19 March 2009 46% 44% 39%1 49%1
Polling conducted by Newspoll and published in The Australian.
^Remainder were "uncommitted" to either leader.
1 Lawrence Springborg.
2 John-Paul Langbroek.

Newspaper endorsements

Newspaper Endorsement
The Australian Liberal National[30]
The Courier-Mail Liberal National

See also


  1. Bligh officially sets Queensland election date. ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
  2. "Galaxy Poll Results" (PDF). News Online. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  3. As it happened: LNP pulls off crushing win. ABC News, 24 March 2012.
  4. "Bligh resigns after election wipe-out". ABC News. 25 March 2012.
  5. Koren Helbig; Sarah Vogler (25 March 2012). "Anna Bligh quits: 'Labor cannot rebuild with me in its ranks'". The Sunday Mail. Brisbane.
  6. 1 2 "Newman team moves into George Street". Brisbane Times. 26 March 2012.
  7. "Fixed four-year terms on the horizon in the Sunshine State". The Australian. 29 March 2012.
  8. Green, Antony. Queensland election preview. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 January 2012.
  9. Robinson, Paul (23 March 2011). LNP leadership wrangle a 'Campbell shambles'. ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  10. "Electoral Act 1992" (PDF). Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  11. Constitution of Queensland 2001. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  12. "Election Timetable: 2009 State General election". Electoral Commission of Queensland. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  13. Matt Wordsworth (25 January 2012). "Bligh's poll timing sparks outcry". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  14. 1 2 Matt Wordsworth (25 January 2012). "Qld to have March 24 poll". PM. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
  15. "Bligh officially sets Queensland election date". PM. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  16. "Election Timetable: 2012 State General election". Electoral Commission of Queensland. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  17. "Premier announces new Ministry". Department of Premier and Cabinet. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  18. Queensland, Gazette: Extraordinary, No 100, 27 April 2012, 1006.
  19. "Julie Attwood to bow out". The Courier Mail. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "QLD MPs to step down at election". Brisbane Times. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  21. "Pine Rivers MP Carolyn Male quits politics". The Courier Mail. 3 February 2012.
  22. Helbig, Koren (12 December 2011). "Queensland Police Minister Neil Roberts is eighth Labor MP to quit before state election". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 12 December 2011.
  23. "As the major parties goe to war, Dolly calls it a day". Brisbane Times. 16 April 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  24. "LNP loses a second Broadwater candidate". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  25. "ALP candidate for Southern Downs Peter Watson expelled over online posts regarding homophobia and neo-nazis". The Courier-Mail. 21 February 2012.
  26. "Katter wants millions of ballots shredded". Brisbane Times. 2 March 2012.
  27. "Bob Katter's Australian Party goes to court to settle ballot branding issue". The Courier-Mail. 5 March 2012.
  28. "Katter ballots case sent to higher court". Brisbane Times. 7 March 2012.
  29. "Bob Katter loses bid to have his name on ballot papers for state election". The Courier-Mail. 8 March 2012.
  30. "Labor's day of reckoning arrives in Queensland". The Australian. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
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