1998 Queensland state election

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1998 Queensland state election

← 1995 13 June 1998 (1998-06-13) 2001 →

All 89 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
45 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
Turnout92.85 (Increase 1.42 pp)
  First party Second party Third party
  Peter Beattie August 2013 (cropped).jpg One Nation placeholder-01.png
Leader Peter Beattie Rob Borbidge Heather Hill
Party Labor National/Liberal coalition One Nation
Leader since 20 February 1996 (1996-02-20) 10 December 1991 21 May 1998
Leader's seat Brisbane Central Surfers Paradise Contested Ipswich[1] (lost)
Last election 45 seats 43 seats
Seats won 44 seats 32 seats 11 seats
Seat change Decrease1 Decrease11 Increase11
Popular vote 773,585 605,353 439,121
Percentage 38.86% 31.26% 22.68%
Swing Decrease4.03 Decrease17.73 Increase22.68

1998 Queensland election - Vote Strength.svg
The top map shows the first party preference by electorate. The bottom map shows the final two-party preferred vote result by electorate.

Premier before election

Rob Borbidge
National/Liberal coalition

Resulting Premier

Peter Beattie

Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland on 13 June 1998 to elect the 89 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.

The result of the election was a second consecutive hung parliament, with the Labor Party forming minority government after receiving the support of independent Peter Wellington. This election was the first in which One Nation supporters were elected to state Parliament, with the controversial party winning 11 seats. With nearly 23% of the vote, One Nation gained a higher percentage of the vote than any other third party (i.e. not Labor or Coalition) at the state or territory level since Federation. This was also the only election at which a third party gained more votes than both the Liberal Party and the National Party considered separately. Unlike in previous elections, no attempt was made to calculate the statewide two-party preferred vote (2PP), because the One Nation vote was so high that any 2PP result would have been meaningless.

A few months after the election, the One Nation member for Mulgrave, Charles Rappolt resigned. Labor won the ensuing by-election, allowing it to form government with a bare majority of 45 seats.

The fact that the Coalition Government came to office as a direct result of the 1996 Mundingburra by-election instead of the general election the previous year, as well as its failure to win in its own right at the 1998 election, meant that the 1998 election was the fourth consecutive election victory for the Queensland Branch of the ALP, which had won every election since 1989.


The previous state election had resulted in one of the narrowest margins of any Australian election. The Coalition won a slim majority of the two-party vote. However, the Coalition's majority was wasted on massive landslides in its rural heartland, while Labor won 31 seats in Brisbane. Labor Premier Wayne Goss' government thus clung to life by a single seat. This was brought undone when the Court of Disputed Returns ordered a new election in the disputed seat of Mundingburra, which the Liberals won on a modest swing. The balance of power rested with newly elected Independent MLA Liz Cunningham, who announced her support for the Coalition. Goss resigned, and Nationals leader Rob Borbidge was appointed as Premier.

The Borbidge government's popularity suffered in the later part of its term due to the federal Howard government's GST plans. Seeking to create a more definite majority, Borbidge called a new election on 19 May 1998.[2] Although early polling showed the government to be strongly competitive with Labor, led by Peter Beattie, later polls saw Labor gain a substantial lead.[2]

However, the debate between the two parties was rapidly sidelined by One Nation's emerging support. Formed in 1997 by federal Independent MP for Oxley Pauline Hanson, One Nation gained significant support on a platform of economic nationalism, anti-immigration sentiments and opposition to native title. Its platform was particularly well received in the Nationals' heartland of rural Queensland; indeed, at the time the writs were dropped, there had been fears over the past two years that One Nation would sweep the Nationals out of existence. One Nation stood candidates in 79 seats, all largely political novices. The issue of preference allocations to One Nation, under Queensland's optional preferential voting (OPV) system, became a major campaign issue, with eventual poor results for the Liberals attributed to opposition from many of their traditional voters over their decision not to put One Nation last on preferences.

Borbidge had been well aware of the threat from One Nation. He tried to have One Nation preferenced last on Coalition how-to-vote cards. However, the national Liberal and National organisations pressured their Queensland counterparts to preference One Nation ahead of Labor. They apparently thought that One Nation's populism would peel off enough Labor voters to allow the Coalition to win another term.

Key dates[edit]

Date Event
19 May 1998 Writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.[3]
23 May 1998 Close of electoral rolls.
26 May 1998 Close of nominations.
13 June 1998 Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
25 June 1998 Peter Wellington announced that he would support a minority Labor government.
26 June 1998 The Borbidge Ministry resigned and the interim Beattie Ministry was sworn in.[4]
29 June 1998 The full Beattie Ministry was sworn in.
27 July 1998 The writ was returned and the results formally declared.


Winning party by electorate.
Percentage of first preference votes for One Nation in each electorate.
Candidates finishing in second place on a two-candidate-preferred basis (after full distribution of preferences) in each electorate.

One Nation won 11 seats and finished second (after preferences) in 23 seats. Seven of One Nation's seats would have gone to Labor had it not been for leakage of Coalition preferences; had Labor won those seats, it would have been able to form government in its own right.[5]

Queensland state election, 13 June 1998[6][7]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19952001 >>

Enrolled voters 2,115,977
Votes cast 1,964,778 Turnout 92.85 +1.42
Informal votes 28,438 Informal 1.45 –0.30
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 773,585 38.86 –4.03 44 ± 0
  One Nation 439,121 22.68 +22.68 11 +11
  Liberal 311,514 16.09 –6.65 9 – 5
  Nationals 293,839 15.17 –11.08 23 – 7
  Greens 45,709 2.36 –0.51 0 ± 0
  Democrats 31,119 1.61 +0.36 0 ± 0
  Australia First 9,560 0.49 +0.49 0 ± 0
  Reform 7,658 0.40 +0.40 0 ± 0
  Christian Democrats 2,098 0.11 0 ± 0
  Shooters 1,058 0.05 +0.05 0 ± 0
  Women's Party 299 0.01 +0.01 0 ± 0
  Independent 41,991 2.17 –1.30 2 + 1
Total 1,936,340     89  
Popular vote
One Nation
Australia First
Christian Democrats
Women's Party
One Nation

Seats changing hands[edit]

Seat Pre-1998 Swing Post-1998
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Barambah   National Trevor Perrett 24.4 -30.3 5.9 Dorothy Pratt One Nation  
Barron River   Liberal Lyn Warwick 0.4 -1.0 0.6 Lesley Clark Labor  
Burdekin   National Mark Stoneman 10.6 -20.0 9.4 Jeff Knuth One Nation  
Caboolture   Labor Jon Sullivan 2.3 -5.0 2.7 Bill Feldman One Nation  
Greenslopes   Liberal Ted Radke 0.1 -5.3 5.2 Gary Fenlon Labor  
Hervey Bay   Labor Bill Nunn 1.9 -7.2 5.3 David Dalgleish One Nation  
Ipswich West   Labor Don Livingstone 5.5 -7.3 1.9 Jack Paff One Nation  
Lockyer   National Tony Fitzgerald 20.8 -24.5 3.7 Peter Prenzler One Nation  
Mansfield   Liberal Frank Carroll 6.7 -6.9 0.2 Phil Reeves Labor  
Maryborough   Labor Bob Dollin 0.4 -8.7 8.3 John Kingston One Nation  
Mount Ommaney   Liberal Bob Harper 1.7 -3.6 1.9 Julie Attwood Labor  
Mulgrave   National Naomi Wilson 0.5 -4.6 4.1 Charles Rappolt One Nation  
Mundingburra   Liberal Frank Tanti 2.8 -6.6 3.8 Lindy Nelson-Carr Labor  
Nicklin   National Neil Turner 12.8 -18.5 5.7 Peter Wellington Independent  
Springwood   Liberal Luke Woolmer 10.8 -11.4 0.6 Grant Musgrove Labor  
Tablelands   National Tom Gilmore 23.0 -23.3 0.3 Shaun Nelson One Nation  
Thuringowa   Labor Ken McElligott 1.4 -8.0 6.6 Ken Turner One Nation  
Whitsunday   Labor Lorraine Bird 0.1 -1.8 1.7 Harry Black One Nation  
  • ¶ Results for Mundingburra based on 1996 by-election.
  • Members in italics did not recontest their seats.

Post-election pendulum[edit]

Mansfield Phil Reeves ALP 0.2%
Barron River Lesley Clark ALP 0.6%
Springwood Grant Musgrove ALP 0.6%
Mount Ommaney Julie Attwood ALP 1.9%
Bundaberg Nita Cunningham ALP 2.0% v ONP
Cairns Desley Boyle ALP 2.3% v ONP
Redcliffe Ray Hollis ALP 2.3%
Currumbin Merri Rose ALP 2.8%
Ipswich David Hamill ALP 3.4% v ONP
Mundingburra Lindy Nelson-Carr ALP 3.8%
Kallangur Ken Hayward ALP 3.9% v ONP
Murrumba Dean Wells ALP 5.0% v ONP
Greenslopes Gary Fenlon ALP 5.2%
Waterford Tom Barton ALP 5.2% v ONP
Nicklin Peter Wellington IND 5.7% v NAT
Fairly safe
Everton Rod Welford ALP 6.0%
Ashgrove Jim Fouras ALP 6.1%
Bundamba Bob Gibbs ALP 6.2% v ONP
Cleveland Darryl Briskey ALP 6.4%
Mackay Tim Mulherin ALP 6.5% v ONP
Mount Gravatt Judy Spence ALP 7.2%
Townsville Mike Reynolds ALP 7.7%
Sunnybank Stephen Robertson ALP 8.2%
Logan John Mickel ALP 8.4% v ONP
Ferny Grove Geoff Wilson ALP 8.6%
Chatsworth Terry Mackenroth ALP 8.7%
Chermside Terry Sullivan ALP 9.0%
Rockhampton Robert Schwarten ALP 9.6% v ONP
Mount Coot-tha Wendy Edmond ALP 10.5%
Fitzroy Jim Pearce ALP 10.7% v ONP
Archerfield Karen Struthers ALP 11.7%
Yeronga Matt Foley ALP 12.5%
Kurwongbah Linda Lavarch ALP 13.2%
Woodridge Bill D'Arcy ALP 13.5% v ONP
Capalaba Jim Elder ALP 13.7%
Kedron Paul Braddy ALP 14.1%
Brisbane Central Peter Beattie ALP 15.1%
Cook Steve Bredhauer ALP 15.5% v ONP
Mount Isa Tony McGrady ALP 15.6% v ONP
Sandgate Gordon Nuttall ALP 16.0%
South Brisbane Anna Bligh ALP 16.3%
Lytton Paul Lucas ALP 17.4%
Nudgee Neil Roberts ALP 17.4%
Bulimba Pat Purcell ALP 19.5%
Inala Henry Palaszczuk ALP 27.4%
Indooroopilly Denver Beanland LIB 0.7%
Crows Nest Russell Cooper NAT 0.9% v ONP
Redlands John Hegarty NAT 1.0%
Gympie Len Stephan NAT 1.7% v ONP
Aspley John Goss LIB 1.8%
Callide Jeff Seeney NAT 2.3% v ONP
Burnett Doug Slack NAT 2.3% v ONP
Mirani Ted Malone NAT 2.7%
Keppel Vince Lester NAT 3.6%
Charters Towers Rob Mitchell NAT 3.7%
Southport Mick Veivers NAT 3.8%
Beaudesert Kev Lingard NAT 4.1%
Albert Bill Baumann NAT 4.8%
Fairly safe
Clayfield Santo Santoro LIB 6.5%
Toowoomba North Graham Healy NAT 8.2%
Burleigh Judy Gamin NAT 8.5%
Hinchinbrook Marc Rowell NAT 8.6% v ONP
Cunningham Tony Elliott NAT 8.9% v ONP
Moggill David Watson LIB 8.9%
Western Downs Brian Littleproud NAT 9.4% v ONP
Broadwater Allan Grice NAT 9.8%
Noosa Bruce Davidson LIB 9.9%
Caloundra Joan Sheldon LIB 10.7%
Nerang Ray Connor LIB 11.0%
Warwick Lawrence Springborg NAT 11.9% v ONP
Gregory Vaughan Johnson NAT 13.1%
Toowoomba South Mike Horan NAT 13.4%
Merrimac Bob Quinn LIB 14.7%
Maroochydore Fiona Simpson NAT 15.1% v ONP
Warrego Howard Hobbs NAT 15.3%
Mooloolah Bruce Laming LIB 15.9%
Surfers Paradise Rob Borbidge NAT 22.3%
Tablelands Shaun Nelson ONP 0.3% v NAT
Gladstone Liz Cunningham IND 1.4% v ALP
Whitsunday Harry Black ONP 1.7% v ALP
Ipswich West Jack Paff ONP 1.9% v ALP
Caboolture Bill Feldman ONP 2.7% v ALP
Lockyer Peter Prenzler ONP 3.7% v NAT
Mulgrave Charles Rappolt ONP 4.1% v ALP
Hervey Bay David Dalgleish ONP 5.3% v ALP
Barambah Dorothy Pratt ONP 5.9% v NAT
Thuringowa Ken Turner ONP 6.6% v ALP
Maryborough John Kingston ONP 8.3% v ALP
Burdekin Jeff Knuth ONP 9.4% v ALP


Although the Coalition Government initially enjoyed strong levels of support subsequent to assuming office in 1996, support was quickly lost. From 1997, Labor opened a consistent, albeit narrow, lead in the polls and by 1998 Labor was enjoying a commanding lead. The Coalition was eventually disadvantaged by what was commonly deemed to be poor government performance and the rapid rise of One Nation support, which under the state's optional preferential voting, fractured the Conservative vote. The Coalition vote significantly plummeted, whilst Labor essentially withstood the swing to One Nation.

Legislative Assembly opinion polling[8]
Primary vote
1998 election 38.9% 31.3% 22.7% 7.1%
10–11 Jun 1998 41.5% 33% 18.5% 7%
29–31 May 1998 44% 34% 15% 7%
Apr–May 1998 41% 39% 10% 10%
Jan–Mar 1998 41% 39% 5% 15%
Oct–Dec 1997 43% 38% 19%
Jul–Sep 1997 40% 41% 19%
Apr–Jun 1997 41% 41% 18%
Jan–Mar 1997 44% 41% 15%
Oct–Dec 1996 41% 46% 13%
Jul–Sep 1996 42% 49% 9%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2009 Queensland Election - ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC. 21 March 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b "1998 Queensland Election (Current Issues Brief 2 1998-99)". Aph.gov.au. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  3. ^ Electoral Commission of Queensland (1998). Queensland Election 1998: Statistical Returns. p. 8. ISBN 0-7242-5023-9.
  4. ^ Queensland Parliamentary Library (2009). Queensland Parliamentary Record: the 52nd parliament. pp. 114–115. ISSN 1449-2083.
  5. ^ Green, Antony. Queensland election preview. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2012-01-25.
  6. ^ Wanna, John (December 1998). "Australian Political Chronicle: January–June 1998". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 44 (4): 593. ISSN 0004-9522.
  7. ^ Hughes, Colin A. (2002). A handbook of Australian government and politics, 1985-1999. Federation Press. p. 329. ISBN 978-1-86287-434-3.
  8. ^ QLD Newspoll