Could Newman join an elite losers' club?

The Queensland Premier's leadership style is grating on his northern Brisbane electorate, putting him in the running to become just the second leader in Australian history to lose a seat in a re-elected government.


If Queensland Premier Campbell Newman loses his seat at the next election, he would be joining a small political club whose membership includes a former vet.

Only once before in Australia has a government been re-elected only for the leader to lose his own seat.

This happened in 1977 when Goff Letts, the Northern Territory's majority leader and a former vet, lost his Victoria River electorate.

His Country Liberal Party comfortably defeated Labor at that poll but Dr Letts, now 86, knew he was going to lose his seat because of an unfavourable electoral redistribution and false rumours he had performed abortions on Aboriginal women.

But Dr Letts said losing his seat was not a psychological blow.

It happened after a decade in politics, which included rebuilding Darwin after cyclone Tracy and preparing the Northern Territory for self-government.

"It was like a giant load had been lifted off my back," Dr Letts told AAP.

"My family had suffered enough over the years ... they suffered a lot during that time.

"The fights that I got into, the absences from home – it's not a normal way of life."

Veteran election analyst Malcolm Mackerras expects Mr Newman to lose his northern Brisbane seat of Ashgrove at the 2015 election, but his Liberal National Party will be narrowly returned.

"Winning the election and losing the leader's seat is virtually unprecedented," he told AAP.

"It's happened in Canada, funnily enough."

A Seven News-ReachTel poll released this week also showed Mr Newman losing his Ashgrove to Labor, with voters citing his leadership style as their biggest concern.

However, the premier has vowed to fight on.

"Over the last two years and four months, I've been working hard in Ashgrove," Mr Newman told reporters.

"If people re-elect me, I'll continue to deliver for the people of Ashgrove."

The survey of 800 voters showed the premier would be thrown out by an 8.7 per cent swing against him, giving the ALP 53 per cent of the two-party vote.

The poll was taken three days after the LNP lost a by-election in neighbouring Stafford, with an 18.6 per cent swing against it.

Originally published by AAP. Reproduced with permission. 

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