Will Deb survive LNP bloodletting?
A defiant Deb Frecklington has vowed to remain as LNP leader despite failing to win the target seats she needed to defeat Annastacia Palaszczuk, with the party facing losses across the state.
A senior source last night said the party had the chance to change the leadership four months ago, while former premier Campbell Newman hit out at the party room, saying last night's result lay at their feet.
Some LNP MPs were coy or would not talk about Ms Frecklington's leadership while counting was underway overnight, with another source saying she did a great job.
Speaking to supporters last night, Ms Frecklington said she would remain as the leader of the party, promising that they would continue to hold the Palaszczuk government to account.
"We will speak up for those who have been forgotten and left behind," she said.
"We're going to fight for the families of this great state, because families mean more than anything.
"Three years of being in Opposition is tough, five years is extremely tough.
"And we're going to fight every minute of the next four years."
2020 QLD state election results
- LNP 0
- ALP 0
- ONP 0
- UAP 0
- KAP 0
- OTH 0
- GRN 0
Last night, the party was fighting to retain several of its seats, including Caloundra, Pumicestone, Hervey Bay and Nicklin.
Ms Frecklington's deputy Tim Mander told The Sunday Mail he had nothing but high praise for her.
"She fought the odds against her in every different way," he said.
"Whether it was the pandemic, whether it was some internal party rumblings, she showed that she has the metal and shows she has the toughness to overcome those types of obstacles.
"Deb Frecklington could not have done more than what she did."
Mr Mander said there were circumstances beyond the LNP's control, as he accused the Labor government of milking the pandemic.
"The time for navel gazing and analysis and evaluation all has to come," he said.
"It's a devastating night for us, but we'll do that in the future."
Mr Newman last night said the result was "extremely disappointing" and that he did not buy that COVID-19 and Ms Palaszczuk's handling of the pandemic was an explanation for the LNP's loss.
"There was an issue a year ago that we needed dealt with and we didn't," the former LNP leader told The Sunday Mail.
"We left our run too late. We didn't frame the argument properly for Queenslanders in the first two and half years of this government sufficiently to create that mood for change."
Mr Newman said the LNP parliamentary team should have taken note of leaked polling results from a few months ago that showed they were at risk in a number of seats.
"It was up to them how they dealt with it," he said.
"This isn't just laid at the feet of the leader - it's laid at the feet of every man and woman in the LNP parliamentary team."
Senior Federal LNP MP Peter Dutton said there was not a more "decent person" than Ms Frecklington, but when asked if she should stay on as leader, he said it was an issue for the state party.
"I back her 100 per cent, but it's an issue for the state party room so it's not something for me to comment on," he said.
"Obviously the COVID environment has made it easier for the Premier and the Premier has got away with making people believe that Queensland has remained safe because of border closures."
He said Ms Frecklington's initial response to the "sabotage of her leadership" when she was facing leaks was turned into a positive by her.
"I think she did very well and I think she picked momentum up out of that," Mr Dutton said.
Meanwhile, a senior LNP source told The Sunday Mail, "We had a chance to change leaders and change the course of the election result four months ago. We have wasted our time in Opposition".
Another LNP source said Ms Frecklington had done a great job and that it was tough fighting an election during the COVID situation.
They also said the leadership of the party would depend on the result, how it unfolded over the next ten days and what the makeup of the party room was.
While counting was underway last night, some in the LNP were hopeful of the postal votes and pre-poll ballots flowing their way - potentially reducing margins and swinging seats back into their corner.
Ms Frecklington had previously said the party would target 11 seats in their quest to oust the Palaszczuk Government, including Aspley, Maiwar, Gaven, Mansfield, Mirani, Maryborough and Barron River.
She spent a lot of her campaign talking up her signature policies, including the New Bradfield Scheme, the $300 rego rebate, four-laning the Bruce Highway and building a second M1.
But she also chipped away at the Palaszczuk Government over integrity issues and hit out at their record on jobs - as she pledged a 5 per cent unemployment target.
Ms Frecklington faced attacks from Labor over her border stance, including her call to open them up from July 1, before later saying she would follow the health advice.