Queensland election: Another blow to Australia’s two-party system


Queensland election: Another blow to Australia’s two-party system

Mike Head

27 November 2017

With thousands of votes still to be counted, the results of Saturday’s election in Queensland remain unclear. Widespread hostility to the two traditional ruling parties, the Labor Party and the Liberal National Party (LNP), which has intensified over decades, may prevent either from forming a majority government.

It could be days before the shape of the next government is decided, possibly involving backroom negotiations to cobble together a coalition. As of yesterday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation projected that Labor was likely to win 43 to 46 seats in the 93-member legislative assembly, with the LNP on 38 or 39 seats. Other parties have 2 seats, with the rest undecided. Majority government requires 47 seats.

More than 30 years of attacks on working class jobs, living conditions and basic services, mainly by state Labor governments, with two interludes of one-term LNP governments, have led to deep political disaffection. In polling booth interviews conducted by the WSWS, voters voiced disgust and distrust toward the political system, and a readiness to consider a socialist alternative.

The result in Australia’s third-most populous state points to an ongoing breakdown of the two-party system, which has seen no federal government survive a full term since 2007.

Despite the ever-more evident disintegration of the federal Liberal-National Coalition government, which the Labor Party hoped to exploit by calling a snap early state election, Labor’s vote fell by about 1.5 percentage points to 36 percent. In working-class electorates, Labor’s vote dropped by up to 9 points.

Most significantly, the LNP’s vote crashed by some 8.3 percent, on top of 7 percent…

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