CHALLENGE: To be celebrating victory in the federal election Labor leader Bill Shorten and Blair MP Shayne Neumann know the party must improve its showing in Queensland.
CHALLENGE: To be celebrating victory in the federal election Labor leader Bill Shorten and Blair MP Shayne Neumann know the party must improve its showing in Queensland. Claudia Baxter

Labor goes into battle for Queensland ahead of election

BATTLE stations Queensland.

It is the rugby league state that the Labor Party must improve its showing in markedly to have any chance of toppling the Coalition and winning government.

A recent Newspoll had the ALP ahead of the Coalition 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis.

But Labor must win eight to 10 seats in Queensland to be a show of winning office, likely in a July 2 election.

Currently the ALP holds just six of the 30 seats in Queensland.

The seat of Fairfax, held by just 0.03% by Clive Palmer, is expected to swing back to the LNP.

Bob Katter's seat of Kennedy is also held by the incumbent by just 2.2% and that will be an interesting one.

The QT sat down with the ALP's Blair MP Shayne Neumann to analyse what is required by Labor to win back government.

"Most elections are won and lost in the rugby league states in Queensland and NSW," Mr Neumann said.

"That was Labor's pathway to win in 2007.

"The 2010 election was a bit of an aberration with Labor doing very badly in Queensland (with 44.9% two-party preferred) but still holding minority government.

"But generally speaking if Labor polls 50% in Queensland then Labor will win government."

Labor has historically struggled in Queensland, but when it fires north of the Tweed River the party fires too.

"In 1961, when Bill Hayden won (Oxley), Labor got 50.7% of the two-party preferred vote," Mr Neumann said.

Photo: NAA

"In 1990 Labor polled 50.2% when Bob Hawke (pictured inset) won, and in 2007 when Kevin Rudd won Labor got 50.4% in Queensland.

"We have just got above 50% three times since the Second World War.

"We would have won office in 1961 but for Communist Party preferences which helped Jim Killen win the seat of Moreton.

"But 12 times since the Second World War Labor has polled under 45% two-party preferred in Queensland."

On all 12 occasions they did not win government.

At the last federal election Labor won just 43% in Queensland, so needs a 7% swing in its favour this time to win government.

Labor's primary vote in 2013 was just 29% and that must change.

The party has its eye on at least 11 Queensland seats that it believes can be won.

The most marginal seat held by the LNP is Petrie on 0.5%, which includes suburbs such as Redcliffe, North Lakes, Deception Bay, Bald Hills and Carseldine.

It is held by the LNP's Luke Howarth but the ALP has a strong candidate there in Jacqui Pedersen who is tipped to do well.

Capricornia, on 0.8%, includes Rockhampton and the mining towns and pastoral areas and is winnable by the ALP.

Bonner (3.7%), held by the LNP's Ross Vasta, includes the suburbs of Chandler, Mount Gravatt and Wynnum and has oscillated between the LNP and Labor in recent elections

Brisbane is on 4.3% and is losing the retiring Teresa Gambaro who has been a very popular LNP member.

The seat of Forde, which includes rural parts of the Gold Coast and urban and partly urban areas of Logan, is held by the LNP with a margin of 4.4%.

Flynn is based in Gladstone and surrounding rural areas is held by the LNP on 6.5% while Dawson (7.6%) takes in southern Townsville and down the coast to Mackay.

Labor hasn't held the seat of Herbert, based on Townsville, since 1996 and it is held by the LNP on a margin of 6.2%.

Labor won all three state seats in Townsville and the Labor Mayor Jenny Hill won and carried the whole Labor council to win recently.

The ALP believes it is very much a seat in play, as is Leichhardt (5.7%).

Possibly in play for the ALP are LNP seats of Longman (6.9%) and Dickson (6.7%).

Labor has held both seats in the past.

There are 90 seats held overall by the Coalition, 55 by Labor and five by other parties and independents.

The ALP must win 21 seats to get a majority in its own right.

It must win seats in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, at least six in NSW and several in Victoria.

Mr Neumann is in Tasmania campaigning in marginal seats today and early next week will be on the hustings in Victorian marginal seats.

NSW has 47 seats in the House of Representatives so it is always a key state in any election wash-up.

The last time Labor polled above 50% in Western Australia was in 1987 and it holds just three of the 16 seats there.

"So we have got to do better in the mining states of Western Australia and Queensland," Mr Neumann said.

"A redistribution in Western Australia has given them a 17th seat but it is still a notional Liberal seat.

"NSW has lost a seat where the redistribution helped Labor."

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