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State polls result leaves Australian PM at to edge
November 28, 2017
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SYDNEY: The loss of a state election in Queensland has stepped up pressure on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who risks losing control of parliament at a by-election next month.

Three Australian prime ministers have been ousted by their own parties since 2010, and a splintering of the conservative base in Queensland has raised questions over how long Turnbull’s premiership can survive. Opinion polls already show his popularity at a record low.

Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP), which replicates the federal coalition made up of Turnbull’s Liberal Party and its partner the National Party, was hurt by voters, particularly in regional and rural areas, defecting to Pauline Hanson’s right-wing, populist One Nation party.

Vote counting is still underway, but the conservative divide has left the Labour Party on track to form the government in the coal-rich northeastern state.

Smarting from this latest setback, Turnbull reminded voters on Monday that if they backed One Nation at the next federal election it could play into the hands of the centre-left opposition.

“Everyone is entitled to cast their vote as they see fit but the voting for One Nation in the Queensland election has only assisted the Labour Party,” Turnbull told reporters in the city of Wollongong, south of Sydney.

The next federal election is due either in late 2018 or early 2019. But first up is the Bennelong by-election on Dec.16.

Reuters

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