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How One Nation could win power for Tim Nicholls

PIVOTAL: Pauline Hanson's One Nation party is polling strongly in Queensland and will have a big say in who wins the next state election.
PIVOTAL: Pauline Hanson's One Nation party is polling strongly in Queensland and will have a big say in who wins the next state election. MICK TSIKAS

RESPECTED political analyst Dr Paul Williams is tipping One Nation could win between one and 15 seats at the next state election.

And if it is 15, it will be a result of a blanket preferencing by the LNP of One Nation ahead of the ALP in 93 seats that Dr Williams says could potentially leave Queensland with the most unworkable parliament since 1859.

If the state redistribution is completed by the time of the next election then it will be fought on the basis of 93 seats.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has made it clear she is not interested in doing any deal with One Nation, so to be assured of retaining power the ALP will need to win 47 seats.

The current parliament, based on 89 seats, has the ALP and LNP both with 42 seats. Independents hold three seats and Katter's Australian Party two.

The latest Galaxy polling has One Nation polling 16% of the primary vote with the LNP on 37% and ALP on 35%, but the ALP ahead 51-49 on two-party preferred.

Essential polling has One Nation on 13%, the LNP 35% and ALP 33%. The ALP retains a 52-48 lead on two-party preferred.

But the 'X factor' in the next election may well come down to preferences, and how they flow.

"The LNP is yet to rule out a preference deal with One Nation, and I think they will preference One Nation ahead of Labor across the board," Dr Williams said.

"That will be devastating for Labor in the southern and northern Brisbane outskirts, possibly in Ipswich and in the provincials up and down the coast."

Back in 1998 the Rob Borbidge National/Liberal coalition government lost office after doing a preference deal with One Nation.

"But I think there is more enthusiasm for One Nation now than there was in 1998," Dr Williams said.

"In Lockyer it is red hot. It is not just the down and outs and working classes. One Nation even attracts huge swathes of middle class voters as well.

"It is odd, but the One Nation wave is coming.

"It will be stymied if the LNP preferences One Nation last. But I don't think they will. I think they are going to be opportunistic and cause maximum damage to Labor.

"But then they could be stuck with 12 or 15 One Nation MPs with whom they will probably go into coalition with.

"If we think this parliament is bad, then the next one could be a doozie and the worst parliament potentially since separation (from NSW in 1859)."

But if the LNP preferences Labor ahead of One Nation then One Nation could win only one seat, Dr Williams said.

"I think Lockyer is in the bag for One Nation either way.

"It might sound like a big cop out, but that is all you can say.

"It could be as little as one or as high as 15 for One Nation.

"At this time, I think the LNP will come out on top in the primary vote and Labor is going to cop it, although they are remarkably competitive.

"In an economic downturn I am surprised the LNP is not 10 points ahead and that there was no Nicholls bounce.

"I am tipping that the LNP will win the most seats, but no-one will win a majority."

Based on Ms Palaszczuk's stance on One Nation, that would give Mr Nicholls the opportunity to form a government with minority support.

Dr Williams said if One Nation acquired enough seats they would ask for ministries.

"But how is that going to work? Can you imagine John-Paul Langbroek and Tim Nicholls in a cabinet with One Nation types? It would be inoperable."

Dr Williams said he hoped the LNP did not preference One Nation, but that it was his "gut feeling" that they would, and not just in select seats.

"I've written a couple of columns imploring them not to do it and to come clean, but I haven't heard boo.

"They are keeping their powder dry."

If One Nation's primary vote is high in Labor-held seats and the LNP does preference Pauline Hanson's party, then Labor seats that are thought to be safe could fall

"One Nation might win Waterford. If Labor comes first, One Nation a close second and the LNP third," Dr Williams said.

He said Labor seats like Rockhampton, Mackay and Thuringowah could well see a big One Nation vote.

While the electorate has got used to the presence of One Nation, Dr Williams said the issues playing to One Nation would be similar to 1998.

"There are many similarities.

"Like 1998 it is largely about economic rationalism and jobs, and even gun control is creeping back into the narrative. It is no longer about Asians. It is about Muslims. And of course, there has been an end to the mining boom.

"The fact that Nicholls replaced (Lawrence) Springborg is probably an extra few percentage points for One Nation.

"If you are an old National Party farmer who remained loyal to the LNP even when Campbell Newman was Premier you might look at Tim Nicholls and say 'this guy is in Brisbane, an economic rationalist who wants to sell assets...I might just stick with the protectionist party One Nation'.

"Clearly, Nicholls has much more in common with Palaszczuk than he does with Pauline Hanson."

Topics:  alp annastacia palaszczuk lnp one nation pauline hanson tim nicholls


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