The upcoming Queensland election is set to be fought on drastically redrawn electoral boundaries which have been inadvertently released a day early.
In a major political shake-up, set to impact on many sitting Members of Parliament, there are 18 new or renamed seats drafted by the Queensland Redistribution Commission.
The commission was due to unveil the state’s proposed electoral boundaries on Friday morning but regional media organisations published the changes on Thursday afternoon.
It created shockwaves around the state and some headaches for both the Labor government and the Liberal National Party opposition ahead of pre-selection battles.
Frontbench figures on both sides will be seriously affected, including Education Minister Kate Jones whose Ashgrove electorate has been redrawn and renamed, just like Shadow Treasurer Scott Emerson’s seat of Indooroopilly.
Six new seats have been created, while one has been scrapped and many existing southeast electorates merged, to take the number of electorates from 89 to 93.
Among the new seats are Hill in north Queensland, Jordan west of Logan, Bancroft north of Brisbane, Ninderry on the Sunshine Coast, and Theodore and Bonney on the northern Gold Coast.
More than a dozen other electorates have been renamed and many have had their boundaries changed, most noteably Mt Isa, held by Rob Katter.
Mt Isa is being renamed as Traeger and includes much of his Katter’s Australia Party colleague Shane Knuth’s seat of Dalrymple, which has been scrapped.
Mr Katter says he’s unhappy with the boundary changes and will be raising objections with the redistribution commission.
“Dalrymple’s been sucked into a coastal seat, and western Queensland loses more representation, which has been the trend for many years and shows a poor direction for developing our resources in the state,” Mr Katter told AAP.
The new seat of Hill takes in part of Dalrymple but also extends to the coast, which would make it much harder for Mr Knuth to hold.
Objections to the draft changes can be raised after Friday, ahead of the final boundary changes being locked in by June.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk earlier on Thursday strongly indicated the election would be held after the new boundaries were put in place.
“It is my clear intention that we will fight the next election on those new boundaries, which includes the additional seats,” she said.
The electoral rolls would have to be re-done after the redistribution, which would push the date for the poll back into September if she followed through on her intentions.
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls on Thursday again called on Ms Palaszczuk to name an election date and end the speculation.
“We voted for fixed four-year terms. If it was good enough when you voted on it, why isn’t it good enough as a principle now to come out and set the election date?” Mr Nicholls said.