Labor or LNP set for soul-searching in Qld

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington may be replaced as party leaders if they lose the poll.
Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington may be replaced as party leaders if they lose the poll.

A reassessment of broad-church policies awaits whichever major party loses Saturday's Queensland election, analysts say.

Griffith University political scientist Paul Williams says the Liberal National Party will face an uncertain future if they again fall short at the polls.

He said the longstanding coalition could even split depending on the ratio of tribal Liberals and Nationals left in the party room.

The Nationals are currently more content because they have one of their own, Deb Frecklington, as leader, he says.

"It's quite a conservative LNP at the moment. It has opposed abortion, it's going to oppose euthanasia, it's got a strong regional focus," Dr Williams told AAP.

"It's more of a National party than a Liberal Party."

University of Queensland political scientist Glenn Kefford said if Labor were to pick up seats on the Gold Coast there would be even fewer Liberals in the LNP party room.

He said in that situation there would be no push for dissolution.

"But if the Libs and Nats are returned in roughly equal numbers, say if Labor picks up some regional seat, then Liberals might want to go their own way," Dr Kefford said.

Dr Williams believes it would be better for the LNP to split either way.

A separate National party could be more conservative to stop leaking votes to the Katter's Australian Party and One Nation, he said.

"They can be as outrageous as they like and then all these people who want to vote Katter because they think the LNP is another Liberal Party will come back," Dr Williams said.

Labor will also face similar soul-searching if they don't have the numbers to form government.

Dr Kefford said they have been trying to please progressive voters and socially-conservative workers, particularly miners, in the regions.

"If Labor lost government and we saw the Greens pick up seats in Brisbane, that would open up a really significant debate for Labor about how they're going to deal with climate change-extractive industry nexus moving forward," he said.

Dr Williams said a Labor reappraisal would depend on the ratio of MPs left from right and left wing unions.

He said if Australian Workers Union MPs predominated, then Labor would embrace coal mining and market principles.

"Putting economic runs first and social and cultural second," he said.

"If more of the Left faction are returned, you will see more of the same of what we've seen."

Dr Williams said Labor's broadening church was getting harder to please at both a state and federal level.

"The LNP struggle with the same issue; how do you reconcile voters from Longreach who are from the Christian right and want agrarian socialism with progressive small business people who support gay rights and daylight saving on the Gold Coast?"

"It's similar to the LNP but Labor's issue is more pronounced. So it's a problem, how do you reconcile blue and green collar?

"You can't, you just have to have a broad church."

Dr Kefford said losing the election would effect both major parties in a similar way.

"It really raises the spectre of internal conflict, and the challenges the major parties are having into the keeping their electoral coalitions together," he said.

Both major parties are also likely to change their leaders at some point if they lose the election.

Dr Williams said Ms Frecklington won't be beaten in a party-room ballot if the LNP come up just short of a majority.

She also would be unlikely to resign after a landslide loss, but that would put pressure on Broadwater MP David Crisafulli to challenge for the leadership.

Dr Kefford also believes Ms Frecklington will initially stay on as leader no matter what the result.

However, he said LNP deputy leader Tim Mander would have his sights on the top job.

"But there can always be some dark horse or someone unexpected who put their hand up," Dr Kefford said.

On the Labor side, future leadership depends on which union faction win more seats in parliament, Dr Williams said.

Predominance of the Labor Right would favour Treasurer Cameron Dick, while a Labor Left majority would favour Deputy Premier Steven Miles.

"The Left is enjoying disproportionate support from the Left unions, but we have seen the Left split over (former deputy premier) Jackie Trad in recent times," Dr Williams said.

"Both Steven Miles and Cameron Dick would be contenders."

Australian Associated Press