Queensland Premier Steven Miles.
Queensland Premier Steven Miles says two by-election results were "very bad" for Labor. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS
  • voting

Miles says by-election results ‘very bad’ for Labor

March 17, 2024

Queensland Premier Steven Miles has described two by-election results as “very bad” for Labor and a signal to his government to do better ahead of the October state election.   

The results in Inala and Ipswich West were disappointing and worse than expected, he told reporters on Sunday after Saturday’s vote.  

“Holding on in particular to Ipswich West was always going to be very hard. These results are clearly very bad. I was expecting a bad result but these are even worse than that,” Mr Miles said.

The Labor government lost the formerly safe seat of Ipswich West to the Liberal-National Party’s Darren Zanow, who attracted 39.6 per cent of the primary vote with a 17.9 per cent swing.

Inala, once considered Labor’s safest seat, was held onto by the party’s candidate Margie Nightingale with 37 per cent of the primary vote, but after a big 19.3 per cent swing to the LNP.

The by-election in Inala was triggered by former premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s resignation while Ipswich West was a result of Labor MP Jim Madden leaving for council elections.

The LNP's candidate Darren Zanow won Ipswich West off Labor.
 The Liberal National Party’s candidate Darren Zanow won the seat of Ipswich West off Labor. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS 

The incoming Ipswich West MP said the murder of grandmother Vyleen White in Ipswich earlier this year likely changed how some voters made their decision on Saturday.

“There is a great deal of sadness and nothing has been done,” Mr Zanow told reporters on Sunday.

He said he would listen to his electorate and lobby for change in housing, health and crime.

Mr Miles and Opposition Leader David Crisafulli agreed on one thing – the results are Queenslanders asking for change.

“Clearly voters in both of these electorates wanted to send our government a message,” Mr Miles said.

He said the government was listening and would work harder on cost of living and community safety – two of the key issues in the state – before October.

But Mr Miles acknowledged addressing those issues was going to take time and the question remained whether seven months would be enough to turn public opinion around.

“None of these issues can turn around overnight. They can’t turn around in three months. But we will keep working hard to see them turn a corner so that we can see improvements by October,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition David Crisafulli.
 David Crisafulli (left) says the big swings signal Queenslanders don’t trust the government. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS 

Mr Crisafulli said the significant swings signalled that Queenslanders did not trust the government to fix cost of living and crime issues.

“The people in Inala and Ipswich West sent a message to Queenslanders that if they want change they have to change their vote,” he told reporters on Sunday.

He said he was humbled by the results of Saturday’s by-elections and the LNP would double down on efforts to convince Queenslanders they were the better party come October.

“My role is to show Queensland there is a better way,” Mr Crisafulli said.

An opinion poll released on Friday indicated Mr Miles was facing defeat.

The premier’s rivals, the LNP, led the two-party preferred vote 54 per cent to 46 per cent in the poll published by News Corp.

Federal Nationals leader and Queenslander David Littleproud said everyone in Labor should be concerned about the results.

“This is a big ‘up yours’ to the Queensland Labor government,’ he told Nine’s Today show.

The by-election in Inala was triggered after former premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s resignation while Ipswich West was a result of Labor MP Jim Madden leaving for council elections.