ELECTION LIMBO: Labor's candidates for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke and Keppel Brittany Lauga (top) hold commanding leads over their LNP challengers for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins and Keppel Adrian de Groot but we aren’t expected to have an outcome for days yet.
ELECTION LIMBO: Labor's candidates for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke and Keppel Brittany Lauga (top) hold commanding leads over their LNP challengers for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins and Keppel Adrian de Groot but we aren’t expected to have an outcome for days yet.

CQ’s frustrating wait for election winners to be declared

WITH Rockhampton and Keppel’s election challengers steadfastly refusing to concede defeat, Central Queenslanders are expected to be waiting another week for the official State Election winners to be declared by the Electoral Commission of Queensland.

The writing appears to be on the wall in both Rockhampton and Keppel with Labor’s incumbent candidates Barry O’Rourke and Brittany Lauga holding almost unassailable leads over their second place LNP challengers Tony Hopkins and Adrian de Groot.

In Rockhampton, where 75.4 per cent of the vote has been counted, Mr O’Rourke leads with 44.69 per cent of the primary vote, followed by Mr Hopkins on 23.18 per cent and One Nation’s Torin O’Brien on 12.42 per cent.

ROCKHAMPTON DECIDES: Labor's incumbent candidate Barry O'Rourke maintains his strong lead according to the latest vote count.
ROCKHAMPTON DECIDES: Labor's incumbent candidate Barry O'Rourke maintains his strong lead according to the latest vote count.

When asked by the Morning Bulletin if or when he would consider calling Mr O’Rourke to concede, Mr Hopkins said he was “waiting for the ECQ” to formerly declare the seat.

It was a similar story in the seat of Keppel.

With 78.87 per cent of votes counted, Ms Lauga holds a commanding lead with 46.25 per cent of the primary vote, ahead of Mr de Groot with 29.61 per cent and One Nation’s Wade Rothery with 15.8 per cent.

Asked whether Ms Lauga should be expecting a call from him anytime soon, Mr de Groot told the Morning Bulletin, “I will advise in due course”.

KEPPEL DECIDES: Labor's incumbent candidate Brittany Lauga is well placed to win Keppel according to the latest vote count.
KEPPEL DECIDES: Labor's incumbent candidate Brittany Lauga is well placed to win Keppel according to the latest vote count.

Given the result in Keppel, Ms Lauga was unimpressed that her opponent continued to hold out.

“I find it a bit rude because the result is clear and they’re not conceding,” Ms Lauga said.

In addition to the 4,000 already returned, she expected to see a dribble of postal votes arrive in the coming days, from which she has been receiving an average of 45 per cent of the primary vote.

To win from here, she said her opponent would need to “get 100 per cent of the postal votes returned and all the preferences to go to the LNP and that’s highly unlikely”.

“(ABC’s) Antony Green has called (Keppel), Queensland Labor has called it, the Premier has congratulated me, the Australian Labor Party Queensland State Secretary has congratulated me,” she said.

“Failing de Groot or Rothery conceding, I could claim victory or we could wait for the final result to be declared by ECQ next week.”

ELECTION PLEDGE: Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles and Labor candidates for Keppel Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke have promised $5.5 million to build a brand new and expanded North Rockhampton Ambulance Station if re-elected.
ELECTION PLEDGE: Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles and Labor candidates for Keppel Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke have promised $5.5 million to build a brand new and expanded North Rockhampton Ambulance Station if re-elected.

Mr O’Rourke said he had been told that a lot of postal votes came in yesterday, and they still needed to be counted.

“Hopefully we’ll have a result in the next few days,” Mr O’Rourke said.

“I’m feeling very confident and very happy with what we’ve been able to achieve here in Rocky.

“We’ll wait to see the final count but at the moment it looks like we’ve had a strong swing in terms of primary votes and a decent two-party-preferred swing as well – so that’s very gratifying.

“I understand the bookies have already paid out bets on this seat, but I’ll wait for the official result from the ECQ.”

ECQ provides clarity on calling election results

The COVID-19 pandemic ensured the 2020 Queensland Election was unlike any election we’ve ever seen with a historic number of people opting against voting on election day – favouring the alternative options of pre-polling, postal and telephone voting.

The ECQ explained why it couldn’t get down to the business of distributing preferences and declaring seats just yet.

“The ECQ will declare results when the outcome of the official count is mathematically certain,” the ECQ said in a statement.

Where there are a lot of candidates contesting an election, the ECQ said the count may need to pause to wait for more votes to be available before it was clear which candidate had the fewest first preference votes.

LNP candidates for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins and Keppel Adrian de Groot, have resisted calls to concede in CQ’s election races.
LNP candidates for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins and Keppel Adrian de Groot, have resisted calls to concede in CQ’s election races.

“To progress to a full distribution of preferences count, it must be clear which candidate has the fewest votes, so that their votes can be reallocated to the second preference candidate selected on each ballot paper,” they said.

They said completed postal ballots continued to be received by the ECQ, with around 70 per cent of the postal votes issued already returned.

“In some cases the ECQ will need to wait until the deadline for the return of postal votes on November 10to be included in the count,” they said.

Call for Labor to deliver on CQ promises

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry hasn’t waited until the official election declarations or the LNP candidates conceding to call on the incoming Labor Government and (predicted to be re-elected) local state members to deliver on their election promises in CQ.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, LNP candidates for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins and Keppel Adrian de Groot.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, LNP candidates for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins and Keppel Adrian de Groot.

Ms Landry said she was surprised to see the hundreds of millions of dollars promised locally by Labor during the campaign.

“The Labor Party threw the cheque book at Central Queensland in the lead up to October 31st, without delivering a budget. It shows they must’ve been worried about the election result in an area they have neglected for decades,” Ms Landry said.

“For their sake and the sake of all of the people in CQ, they had better deliver on every single promise because I will be holding them to account every day for four years.”

Ms Landry said she expected local Labor members to continue to play games with funding.

“I expect the local state members to play their usual tricks when it comes to funding for projects,” she said.

“They always seem to dedicate funding for a project, realise it’s not enough and berate the Federal Government to allocate funding to fix their own mistakes. We have already seen the tantrums put on by the Member for Keppel for years over Great Keppel Island.

“People in CQ are a lot more switched on than the Labor Party give them credit for, and they will be rightly angry and disappointed if the same election promises are recycled in 2024.”

Mr O’Rourke responded to Ms Landry’s comments, describing them as a “pathetic display of sour grapes”.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor offered a positive platform for CQ,” Mr O’Rourke said.

“We’ll be delivering on our promises to help keep our economy on track.

“As usual all the Member for Capricornia can do is stand on the sidelines and whinge while others get on with the job.”