The Labor minority government in the Australian state of Queensland has called an early election for the state’s unicameral parliament on 25 November.
Current polls show Labor at around 37% or 38% — what it had at the last election in 2015 — and the main conservative party, the LNP, down from 41% to 34% or 35%.
But the demagogic right-wing One Nation Party, Queensland’s equivalent of UKIP, is at 18% at some polls after going down to 0.9% in 2015.
The Alternative Vote system, used in Queensland as in other Australian states and in Australian federal elections, gives great weight to agreements between parties to trade preferences. Voters rank all the candidates, and then lower-ranked candidates’ votes are transferred to their next preferences until some candidate has a majority.
The LNP says it won’t do a deal on preferences with One Nation, but will probably benefit from informal preference-trading even so. The Greens, who generally swap preferences with Labor, are at 8%, about the same rate as in 2015.
Labor’s comeback in 2015, after being reduced in 2012 to 7 seats in a state where Labor has been the dominant party most of the time since the 1890s, owed much to an effort by the trade unions, and a willingness by Labor leaders to swing along with the unions.
Much will depend this time, too. The Electrical Trades Union, one of the main architects of the 2015 result, is already out campaigning.