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Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland on 1 November 1986 to elect the 89 members of the state's Legislative Assembly. It followed a redistribution which increased the number of seats in the Assembly from 82 to 89.

1986 Queensland state election

← 1983 1 November 1986 (1986-11-01) 1989 →

All 89 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
45 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Joh Bjelke-Petersen.jpg
Leader Joh Bjelke-Petersen Nev Warburton William Knox
Party National Labor Liberal
Leader since 8 August 1968 29 August 1984 (1984-08-29) 1983
Leader's seat Barambah Sandgate Nundah
Last election 41 seats 32 seats 8 seats
Seats won 49 seats 30 seats 10 seats
Seat change Increase8 Decrease2 Increase2
Percentage 39.64% 41.35% 16.50%
Swing Increase0.71 Decrease2.63 Increase1.62

Premier before election

Joh Bjelke-Petersen

Elected Premier

Joh Bjelke-Petersen

The election resulted in a seventh consecutive term for the National Party under Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. It was the 11th consecutive term for the National Party in Queensland since it first came to office in 1957. The Nationals secured a majority in their own right, with 49 seats. It is the only time that the Nationals have ever won enough seats to govern alone in an election at any level. They had come up one seat short of an outright majority in 1983, but picked up a majority after persuading two Liberals to cross the floor.

This was the last time that a non-Labor Government was elected at a Queensland state election until 2012, although the Coalition briefly held government from 1996 to 1998 following the Mundingburra by-election.

Key datesEdit

Date Event
30 September 1986 Writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.[1]
9 October 1986 Close of nominations.
1 November 1986 Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
1 December 1986 The Bjelke-Petersen Ministry was reconstituted.
8 January 1987 The writ was returned and the results formally declared.


All three parties had high hopes for the election. The Nationals knew that they needed to increase their number of seats in order to hang onto Government (they had held a majority of one in the last Parliament, which had been increased from 82 seats to 89 for the 1986 election). The Liberals desperately needed to win back some of their losses from their disastrous performance in 1983, and Labor hoped to exploit disunity between the conservative parties to make gains.

The already malapportioned boundaries (the "Bjelkemander") had been redrawn earlier in the year in a manner which further advantaged the National Party.[2]


The Bjelke-Petersen Government won a commanding victory, winning an extra eight seats and thus increasing its majority. The Liberals gained two seats, but were still nowhere near making up for their 1983 losses. Labor lost two seats.

Queensland state election, 1 November 1986[3][4]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19831989 >>

Enrolled voters 1,563,294
Votes cast 1,426,478 Turnout 91.25% –0.44%
Informal votes 30,903 Informal 2.17% +0.70%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 577,062 41.35% –2.63% 30 – 2
  Nationals 553,197 39.64% +0.71% 49 + 8
  Liberals 230,310 16.50% +1.62% 10 + 2
  Democrats 8,747 0.63% –0.20% 0 ± 0
  Independent 26,259 1.88% +0.59% 0 – 1
Total 1,395,575     89  
  National/Liberal 54.0% +0.6%
  Labor 46.0% -0.6%

Seats changing handsEdit

Seat Pre-1986 Swing Post-1986
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Ashgrove   Labor Tom Veivers 2.6 -4.6 2.0 Alan Sherlock Liberal  
Caboolture   National Bill Newton -2.3 -1.0 3.7 Ken Hayward Labor  
Callide   Independent Lindsay Hartwig 9.3 -22.5 13.2 Di McCauley National  
Merthyr   Liberal Don Lane 2.2 N/A 6.0 Don Lane National  
Mount Isa   Labor Bill Price 1.7 -4.4 2.7 Peter Beard Liberal  
Toowong   National Earle Bailey 2.8 -21.2 18.4 Denver Beanland Liberal  
Townsville   Labor Ken McElligott -0.5 -3.9 4.4 Tony Burreket National  
  • Members in italics did not recontest their seats.
  • In addition, the Liberal party gained Stafford in the 1984 by-election, and retained it this election.
  • Caboolture was a notionally Labor-held seat and Townsville was a notionally National-held seat in the redistribution before the election.

Post-election pendulumEdit

Maryborough Gilbert Alison NAT 0.7%
Broadsound Denis Hinton NAT 2.0%
Pine Rivers Yvonne Chapman NAT 3.6%
Mulgrave Max Menzel NAT 3.7%
Warrego Howard Hobbs NAT 3.7%
Redlands Paul Clauson NAT 3.8%
Barron River Martin Tenni NAT 4.0%
Aspley Beryce Nelson NAT 4.1%
Greenslopes Leisha Harvey NAT 4.2%
Townsville Tony Burreket NAT 4.4%
Mansfield Craig Sherrin NAT 5.5%
Fairly safe
Merthyr Don Lane NAT 6.0%
Springwood Huan Fraser NAT 6.2%
Mount Gravatt Ian Henderson NAT 6.7%
Glass House Bill Newton NAT 6.9%
Hinchinbrook Ted Row NAT 6.9%
Isis Lin Powell NAT 7.4%
Toowoomba North Sandy McPhie NAT 7.6%
Mirani Jim Randell NAT 8.3%
Tablelands Tom Gilmore NAT 8.7%
Currumbin Leo Gately NAT 8.9%
Whitsunday Geoff Muntz NAT 9.0%
Nerang Tom Hynd NAT 9.9%
Cooroora Gordon Simpson NAT 10.6%
Flinders Bob Katter NAT 10.8%
Nicklin Brian Austin NAT 10.9%
Landsborough Mike Ahern NAT 11.6%
Burdekin Mark Stoneman NAT 11.9%
Albert Ivan Gibbs NAT 13.1%
Fassifern Kev Lingard NAT 13.1%
Callide Di McCauley NAT 13.2%
Gregory Bill Glasson NAT 13.5%
South Coast Russ Hinze NAT 13.7%
Southport Doug Jennings NAT 13.7%
Auburn Neville Harper NAT 14.0%
Somerset Bill Gunn NAT 14.0%
Gympie Len Stephan NAT 14.8%
Burnett Doug Slack NAT 15.1%
Toowoomba South Clive Berghofer NAT 15.8%
Peak Downs Vince Lester NAT 17.0%
Carnarvon Peter McKechnie NAT 17.1%
Roma Russell Cooper NAT 19.5%
Surfers Paradise Rob Borbidge NAT 21.3%
Warwick Des Booth NAT 22.1%
Balonne Don Neal NAT 24.1%
Lockyer Tony Fitzgerald NAT 25.1%
Barambah Joh Bjelke-Petersen NAT 27.5%
Condamine Brian Littleproud NAT 28.5%
Cunningham Tony Elliott NAT 29.9%
Thuringowa Ken McElligott ALP 0.7%
Salisbury Len Ardill ALP 1.4%
Everton Glen Milliner ALP 1.5%
Mackay Ed Casey ALP 3.6%
Caboolture Ken Hayward ALP 3.7%
Mourilyan Bill Eaton ALP 4.1%
South Brisbane Anne Warner ALP 4.2%
Murrumba Dean Wells ALP 5.5%
Port Curtis Bill Prest ALP 5.9%
Fairly safe
Cairns Keith De Lacy ALP 6.2%
Bundaberg Clem Campbell ALP 6.6%
Manly Eric Shaw ALP 6.7%
Logan Wayne Goss ALP 6.8%
Chatsworth Terry Mackenroth ALP 7.3%
Townsville East Geoff Smith ALP 7.5%
Windsor Pat Comben ALP 7.7%
Wolston Bob Gibbs ALP 7.8%
Rockhampton Paul Braddy ALP 8.2%
Brisbane Central Brian Davis ALP 9.1%
Rockhampton North Les Yewdale ALP 10.3%
Woodridge Bill D'Arcy ALP 11.0%
Ipswich West David Underwood ALP 11.2%
Bowen Ken Smyth ALP 12.5%
Bulimba Ron McLean ALP 13.0%
Nudgee Ken Vaughan ALP 13.1%
Ipswich David Hamill ALP 13.7%
Sandgate Nev Warburton ALP 13.7%
Lytton Tom Burns ALP 16.3%
Cook Bob Scott ALP 16.7%
Archerfield Henry Palaszczuk ALP 16.9%
Ashgrove Alan Sherlock LIB 2.0%
Mount Isa Peter Beard LIB 2.7%
Stafford Terry Gygar LIB 4.5%
Nundah William Knox LIB 5.4%
Yeronga Norm Lee LIB 5.7%
Fairly safe
Mount Coot-tha Lyle Schuntner LIB 6.2%
Redcliffe Terry White LIB 7.7%
Sherwood Angus Innes LIB 17.7%
Moggill Bill Lickiss LIB 18.1% v NAT
Toowong Denver Beanland LIB 18.4%


The 1986 election is significant for a number of reasons. It saw the National Party retain a majority of seats in the Parliament, and it was only the second election in Australian history (the other being the 1983 Queensland election) in which the National Party won enough seats to form Government in its own right.

More importantly, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen's victory gave him the confidence to launch the 'Joh for Canberra' campaign, which would play a major part in the 1987 federal election, and would later be a major factor in his undoing.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Queensland Legislative Assembly (17 March 1987). Details of polling at general election held on 1 November 1986. p. 8.
  2. ^ "Australian Political Chronicle: January–June 1986". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 32 (3): 468–469. December 1986. ISSN 0004-9522.
  3. ^ Australian Government and Politics Database. "Parliament of Queensland, Assembly election, 1 November 1986". Retrieved 22 February 2009.
  4. ^ Hughes, Colin A. (2002). A handbook of Australian government and politics, 1985-1999. Federation Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-1-86287-434-3.