Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has her “fingers crossed” that Labor will pick up two Liberal National Party seats that are too close to call after the state election.
Labor have been returned to government but the premier is hopeful of picking up Bundaberg and Nicklin as counting continues after Saturday’s vote.
“The counting is still underway in Nicklin; that is really, really close,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday.
“We’re very encouraged with what’s been happening there on the ground, so fingers crossed.
“Bundaberg is very close as well and I know that their local (Labor) candidate there Tom’s been working very hard I was there a couple of times as well with him.
“And once again, those two seats are really too close to call at this stage as counting continues.”
Labor possibly winning back Bundaberg, which was lost to the LNP in 2017, and Nicklin, which has been held-by conservative MPs since its creation in 1986, wasn’t tipped by analysts before the election.
The Gold Coast seat of Currumbin, which was won by the LNP’s Laura Gerber in a by-election earlier this year, is also too close to call.
If Labor were to win all three seats it would be returned to power with 52 of the parliament’s 93 seats, up from a slim majority of 47 seats before the election.
Just two seats have been officially declared by the Electoral Commission of Queensland – Ms Palaszczuk’s seat of Inala and Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister Glenn Butcher’s seat of Gladstone.
Labor is only set to loose South Brisbane to the Greens, but will likely dethrone the LNP in Caloundra, Pumicestone and Hervey Bay.
Officials are warning that it could be a long wait until the full results of the election are known with the distribution process possibly taking weeks.
“The (Queensland Electoral Commission) has counted around 2.4 million votes and we are still expecting a few hundred thousand postal votes to be returned before the deadline November 10,” commissioner Pat Vidgen said.
“Those electorates with very close margins will need to go to a full preference count, and this will begin as soon as we have most votes returned.”
Queensland’s 2017 state election was fully declared after about two weeks, Mr Vidgen said, noting the careful process required to ensure an accurate outcome.
“Counting of the votes is undertaken methodically and meticulously. It’s a slow and careful process and I understand that can be challenging for those waiting for an outcome,” Mr Vidgen said.
“It is perfectly understandable candidates want to know the voters’ decision, particularly in very tight seats such as Currumbin, Coomera, Burleigh, Bundaberg and Nicklin where just a few per cent can separate candidates.”
About 70 per cent of postal votes have been returned.
Gold Coast MP David Crisafulli wants to become the Liberal National Party’s next leader after Deb Frecklington stood down after the defeat.
By Marty Silk