QLD ELECTION: Votes makes case for two states
NATIONALS MP George Christensen was just about laughed off Facebook on Saturday night when he posted what was described by commenters as an "absurd" suggestion that the early Queensland election result made the case for the state to split in two.
A rough graphic published on the outspoken Queensland federal parliamentarian's page showed the top corner of the state, marked North Queensland, completely separated from the state's south east.
"There are clearly two Queenslands," he wrote. "The case for a separate North Queensland state is strong after tonight."
Mr Christensen's suggestion was dismissed as bonkers and he was accused of being a sore loser, but the numbers back it up. With most of the state election votes counted, early results tell a story of two states.
While the state's largely urban southeast backed Annastacia Palaszczuk's Labor, the regional north turned its back on the government and paid protest votes to minor parties.
The situation is nothing new to Australia's most decentralised state.
Queensland, unlike any other state in the country, is not dominated by the capital. For a leader to win the state, they have to also be successful in the regions.
While Ms Palaszczuk's party looks like the only viable option to form government, voters above the Tropic of Capricorn punished Labor.
Throughout the four-week campaign the Premier was accused of turning her back on the regions and becoming fixated on the state's southeast.
Withdrawing support for a government loan for the Adani coal mine - long touted as a jobs boon for north Queensland - was seen as an appeal to voters in the capital and a rejection of the regions.
Ahead of the vote, while polls had Labor leading the LNP 52 - 48, the result was flipped in the north and minor parties were expected to eat into the two-party preferred predictions too.
The city-bush divide has fallen almost as expected, with One Nation's vote high in the north and the LNP taking a hit with swings between 10 and 13 per cent against the Opposition outside Brisbane.
When asked about Labor's high vote in the southeast compared to the regions, Ms Palaszczuk hit back.
"That is not actually correct," she told reporters on Sunday.
"We have seats from the Torres Strait, down to Central Queensland and to the Gold Coast. I think you will see where the seats end up landing is a good mix for Labor right across the state."
But Ms Palaszczuk did acknowledge her party may need to look at how they do things.
"I think we need a new level of engagement," she said.
"I will be talking to my colleagues about how we can better talk to Queenslanders about the things that we do and the things that matter to them.
"Of course we saw during the election campaign the things that really matter to Queenslanders are jobs, health and education."
Meanwhile as predicted, Katter's Australian Party held on to its bush base taking two seats in Queensland's north.
The two-state solution was a hallmark of the KAP election campaign.
Leader Robbie Katter pledged to take steps towards a split in parliament if his party held the balance of power after the vote.