Polling booths have officially closed and counting has begun as Queensland’s state election hits crunch time after nearly a month-long campaign race.
The state’s election campaign has been dominated by jobs, the economy and Queensland’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
ABC election analyst Antony Green said around 330,000 postal votes and 925,000 pre-poll votes will be counted tonight.
“We’re going to have a rush [of early figures], a plateau, and then the votes will start to go up again,” he said.
“Unless there’s something dramatic there in the early votes, we’re not going to know an early winner.”
Queensland’s electoral body has advised last-minute voters who have been waiting in lines at polling booths since before 6:00pm to stay there and they will be able to cast their ballot.
Wild weather and hecklers
Election day was marred by wild weather in parts of the south-east with several polling booths at Logan, south of Brisbane, losing power due to dangerous thunderstorms.
Lines were quieter than usual — and some polling stations nearly empty — due to the surge of early votes cast this election due to the pandemic.
Queensland’s Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen told ABC Radio Brisbane more than 2 million people had voted early or completed a postal vote.
Both party leaders cast their vote on Saturday morning, with LNP leader Deb Frecklington attending Oonoonba State School in Townsville in the marginal ALP seat of Mundingburra, flanked by her husband Jason.
Meanwhile, Annastacia Palaszczuk — who is seeking her third term as Premier — was joined by her father Henry and federal MP Milton Dick in her Brisbane electorate of Inala.
On her way out, she was heckled by a volunteer for LNP candidate Miljenka Perovic.
“Open the borders — consider the travel industry,” the man yelled at the Premier.
Ms Palaszczuk responded: “there you’ve heard it exactly today — that’s their secret plan.”
When asked if she believed Ms Frecklington would open the borders if elected Premier, Dr Perovic said “absolutely”.
“Deb will do everything,” Dr Perovic said.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our country so they need to get back working, we need tourism moving.
“Give me a chance, vote me 1 today, and we will do that.”
This election marks the first time in the state’s history that a four-year fixed parliamentary term will apply.
Both party leaders have made repeated pleas for a majority government.