The Queensland cabinet will look very much the same after the election, with the notable exception of its Premier Campbell Newman. Newman has to hold his suburban seat of Ashgrove, which he won, for the first time, at the last election with a margin of 5.7 per cent. Bets on Newman not retaining Ashgrove are $1.35 to $3.00. Bets on LNP retaining government are $1.25 to $3.80. These feel about right.
Not only does Labor have to pick up 36 seats to gain a majority in the 89-seat Assembly, the last seat to fall for the LNP for it to lose government is Whitsunday and its margin is 10.7 per cent if the swing is uniform.
There may well be a strong swing against the LNP, and there will be ''jumpers'', Murrumba is LNP by 9.5 per cent but should return to Labor, but there will also be ''stickers'' such as Keppel and Thuringowa at around 6 per cent.
There are presently six Independents, but these could be whittled to three. Clive Palmer and his party will not feature. Electorally, Clive is dead meat.
Labor should add to its total by picking up everything with less than a five per cent margin, which produces 25 seats. There are 14 seats between 5 and 10 per cent but many of these will stick. Any seat with a margin of more than 10 per cent to fall would be extraordinary.
The decision to hold the election on January 31 is clever. There is enough anger at the government (for no particular reason and Labor has no program to solve anything) for it to suffer a swing, but there will be little of the annoyance factor as the effective campaign will be short, with many voters on holidays and children not yet returned to school.
No doubt there will be another dumb ''School Bonus'' equivalent announced during the campaign!
The lack of preparedness on the part of Labor is astounding. There is, for example, no candidate for Lytton after the candidate was dropped in December.
Former Labor deputy premier Tom Burns represented Lytton between 1972 and 1996. Indeed, Burns was the man who rose to the Labor leadership after the 1974 (Whitlam) rout. He was succeeded by Paul Lucas, who served as deputy premier, but did not contest the 2012 election.
Lytton is bound to return to the Labor fold, provided they preselect the appropriate ''drover's dog'' in the next week or two.
The most interesting story on the Labor side is who may succeed the leader Annastacia Palaszczuk. Two former ministers, Cameron Dick (Woodridge) and Stirling Hinchliffe (Sandgate) should return to the parliament to take up the contest.
In the main games, should Newman fail to win in Ashgrove, a contest will open between the (former Liberal) treasurer Tim Nicholls, who has skilfully managed the asset disposal issue and the (former National Party leader) Health Minister Lawrence Springborg who has steadied the Health Department following the payroll and Dr Patel debacles.
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