Vietnamese Public Servant to Battle for Palaszczuk’s Old Seat in Queensland

Queensland’s opposition has put forward a Vietnamese candidate to contest the Labor stronghold of Inala, the former seat of retiring Premier Palaszczuk.
Vietnamese Public Servant to Battle for Palaszczuk’s Old Seat in Queensland
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is seen during question time at Queensland Parliament House in Brisbane, Australia, on Oct. 11, 2023. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Monica O’Shea

The Queensland Liberal National Party has selected a Vietnamese public servant to run in former Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s old seat of Inala.

Trang Yen, 28, will run in the 2024 Inala state by-election on March 16, triggered by the resignation of Ms. Palaszczuk in December.

She will bid for the seat against Labor’s Margie Nightingale, a staffer to Treasurer Cameron Dick who previously worked as a teacher and nurse.

A by-election will also be held in the state of Ipswich West following the resignation of  Labor MP Jim Madden.

The voting on March 16 will be the first major electoral test for new Queensland Premier Steven Miles ahead of the 2024 Queensland state election on Oct. 24.

The Labor Party won the seat of Inala with 78.2 percent of the two-party preferred vote at the Queensland election in 2020, compared to just 21.8 percent for the Liberal National Party. This means a 28 percent swing is required for the seat to change hands.

Queensland Liberal National Party Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said he was proud to have Ms. Trang join the team as the candidate for Inala.

“More and more Trang has heard from residents about the impacts of soaring cost of living, rising rents, deteriorating health services and escalating youth crime. It’s why she’s put her hand up to serve an area the Labor Party have taken for granted as its heartland,” he said.
“She’s a lifelong public servant and within the community, Trang also serves as the president of the Vietnamese Football Association.”

Seat of Inala Has 14.4 Percent Vietnamese Population

The seat of Inala has a 14.4 percent Vietnamese community, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 census data.

The median age of individuals was 34 and median total household income was $1,511 (US$981) at the time of the census.

Vietnamese-Australian communities have displayed a preference for Labor, with many migrating to Australia during the Vietnam War under Labor government policy.

Premier Miles introduced Labor candidate Margie Nightingale in a post to social media on Jan. 20, noting she grew up in a housing commission with a single mum.

Mr. Miles said he knows Ms. Nightingale will “work hard and be a strong voice for the people of Inala.”

“This is Margie Nightingale. She’s dedicated her life to serving the community—working as a nurse, teacher, and volunteer,” Mr. Miles said.

“Like me, she was the first person in her family to go to university. She’s raised her own family in the Inala electorate. And that’s why I am proud to announce Margie will be the Labor Candidate for Inala.

Ms. Nightingale held a campaign launch with volunteers, supporters, and some big-name politicians on the weekend.

“Thanks to all the volunteers and supporters for an amazing campaign kick-off yesterday. It was fantastic to have both the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Deputy Premier of Queensland along to the event. Thank you both Milton Dick and Cameron Dick for your words of support and encouragement,” she posted on Facebook.
Ms. Palaszczuk said it had been the “greatest honour“ of her life to serve as Queensland premier when she stepped down in December.
“I’ve given it my all, I’ve run a marathon,” she said at the time.

Ipswich West

Meanwhile, Labor have selected Wendy Bourne, from the party’s right faction, to contest Ipswich West.

Labor received 64.3 percent of the two-party preferred result in Ipswich West in the 2020 election, compared to 35.7 percent for the Labor Party.