Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor government is favored to return to power in the northeast Australian state, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and raising doubts about the future of a $12.6 billion coal mine.
Analysts projected her party would win the highest number of seats in Saturday’s vote, with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. predicting it may win enough to form a majority government in the 93-seat parliament. The ABC reported Labor had taken 43 and will likely gain at least another four, with the Liberal National Party set for as many as 41 seats. Vote counting may continue for days before the outcome is clear.
“As soon as every vote is counted, then I will be talking to my colleagues about the future ministry,” Palaszczuk, 48, said on Sunday. “We are confident of a Labor majority.”
If returned, Palaszczuk will be the first female leader in Australian history to win two state elections. The result spurred infighting within Turnbull’s federal Liberal-National coalition, which trails in opinion polls to Labor, emboldening some in his alliance who support a parliamentary inquiry into allegations of impropriety in the banking industry.
The result showed the coalition needed to do more to “stand up more for conservative values,” Nationals federal lawmaker George Christensen said. “A lot of that starts with the Turnbull government, its leadership and its policy direction.”
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