More than 1,700 polling booths have opened across Queensland for an historic election that opinion polls predict will be a knife-edge contest.
The final Newspoll of the campaign, in today’s Weekend Australian, shows Labor regaining some ground on the LNP.
The ALP is now just a hair behind in the two-party-preferred vote; 49.9 per cent to 50.1 per cent.
Anna Bligh will be Australia’s first elected female Premier if Labor wins a fifth term today, but she admits it will be a close race.
“I think many people often feel that one vote doesn’t make a difference,” she said.
“What we know from the polls is that every single Queensland vote will count, so Queenslanders get out there and have your say.”
Ms Bligh says the ALP has the better plan for the economy and says the worst outcome would be a minority government relying on independents.
“I look forward to Queenslanders deciding. It’s a very important choice between jobs and cuts,” she said.
The Premier started election day with a run and is voting mid-morning in her seat of South Brisbane at East Brisbane State School about 10:00am (AEST).
Factoring in last year’s boundary redistribution, the LNP will need an 8.3 per cent swing and 22 extra seats to form a majority government.
LNP Leader Lawrence Springborg says the election is about the health of Queenslanders and the health of the economy, and he is offering a plan for the future.
“Labor is promising now for the next three years, things that they haven’t been able to deliver in the last 11 years,” he said.
“If you want more of the same you vote for the Labor Party, If you want change in Queensland you vote for the LNP.
“They’ve put Queensland into record debt lost out great AAA credit rating, have no plan for the future.”
Mr Springborg will campaign in seats throughout Brisbane this afternoon, after voting in his home town of Yelarbon on the Southern Downs at 11:00am.
Queensland’s independent MPs say both major parties will be scrambling to do a deal in the event of a hung parliament.
Both Anna Bligh and Lawrence Springborg have been trying to convince Queenslanders that a minority government would not be in the state’s best interests.
Mr Springborg says he will not deal with independents to form a minority government.
Ms Bligh is also keen for a clear mandate.
“The worst possible outcome for Queenslanders going forward would be a minority government dependent on independents and One Nation,” she said.
Nanango’s Dorothy Pratt says voters do not agree.
“A lot of people are saying that’s the option they would prefer,” she said.
Gladstone’s Liz Cunningham says the leaders would be obligated to work with independents.
“I think both of them need to understand they’ve got to accept what the voters of Queensland deliver,” she said.
There were six independents in the former Parliament.
Those hoping to join the cross benches include Pauline Hanson in Beaudesert and former LNP member for the scrapped seat of Cunningham, Stuart Copeland in Condamine.
Place your bets…