Following a dismal result in the Western Australia election in March, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party were eager to turn the tables in Hanson’s home state, Queensland. Prior to the election, Hanson outlandishly predicted that One Nation could repeat their performance in Queensland’s 1998 election, where the party secured 11 seats. However, with more than 80 per cent of vote counting completed, it’s clear that One Nation has severely underachieved, securing only a solitary seat in Queensland so far and next to no hope of winning another.
One Nation’s lone ranger is Stephen Andrew, a gun dealer and pest controller from Mackay, who won the seat of Mirani, edging out Labor MP Jim Pearce. Mr. Andrew also looks set to become the Queensland leader of One Nation by default, as he is currently the only One Nation seat holder in the state. Sounds like a daunting task for a political novice…
Although One Nation has underperformed according to the media and Hanson, the One Nation leader remained optimistic regarding the party’s chances of winning more seats, saying Mr. Andrew won’t be Queensland’s only One Nation winner.“He won’t be the last, with things looking very strong in at least five other seats. I sense we will have some other exciting announcements over the coming days.” Thankfully, the hopes of more seats to One Nation seem to be dashed, as Labor are closing in on gaining a 48-seat majority government.
Unfortunately, it isn’t all bad news for One Nation. Hanson’s party has a 13.7 per cent projected vote, which would be an increase of 12.8 per cent from the 2015 election. The swing is by far the largest of any party in Queensland. It also appears likely that One Nation will win more votes than any other political party when not considering the two major parties, Labor and the Coalition. To make matters worse, One Nation will be injected with $1 million in taxpayer funding, a mind-blowing increase from the last state poll where they pocketed just $53,033. Ouch.
The One Nation voting support continues the trend of the major parties losing popularity to the far-winged parties. Both One Nation and their polar-opposite party, the Greens, have risen in popularity at the Queensland election and around Australia. The Greens have experienced a 1.3% swing in its favour at the 2017 election compared to the 2015 election.
The Greens’ positive results from the Queensland election follow Lydia Thorpe’s triumph in the Northcote seat in Victoria just two weeks ago. Thorpe became the first aboriginal woman in Victoria’s Parliament when she defeated Labor’s Clare Burns, making it the first time Labor hasn’t held the Northcote seat since it was created 90 years ago.
At the end of the day, One Nation didn’t fare as well as expected; by Hanson and her comrades, by the media and, maybe most importantly, by the Coalition. The Coalition preferenced One Nation over Labor in over half the electorates, while Labor placed Hanson’s party last. The impact of the new preferential system has been profound, with Labor using it effectively, but the Coalition not so much. As former Nationals Premier Rob Borbridge said “any association with One Nation is absolutely toxic,” and it proved that way for the Coalition in the Queensland election.
With a triumph to Labor and an unsettling result for the Coalition in the Queensland and Western Australian elections, it could spell the demise of the Turnbull Government. Labor now holds the power in four of the six states and with the Coalition losing four MPs throughout the citizenship scandal, their grip on the Federal Parliament is teetering. The two results in the Queensland and Western Australia elections may well be an indication of a popularity rise to Labor in the next Federal election. Let’s just hope there’s no surge from One Nation.