Queensland election: George Christensen blames Turnbull after poor LNP result

Matt Canavan has conceded the Queensland government is “within its rights” to veto a $1bn concessional loan to the Adani coalmine, as the federal Coalition seeks to downplay the Liberal National party’s poor showing in the Queensland state election.

The Nationals MP George Christensen broke ranks, slating “a lot” of the blame home to the Turnbull government, but Canavan claimed there was “was no real discussion of federal issues in this campaign” and the story will be different at the next federal election.

Federal Labor has trumpeted the Queensland result as a vindication of premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to rule out governing with One Nation and warned that the Turnbull government and Coalition MPs should be nervous that they will lose seats in Queensland at the next election.

The Palaszczuk Labor government is on track to win at least 44 seats, just a few short of a majority (47) and leads in other key tossups, making it the only party in a position to reach a majority.

The LNP suffered a 7% swing and while One Nation increased its vote it failed to translate support into seats, losing its leader Steve Dickson and failing to elect former senator Malcolm Roberts.

Christensen, who has promised to cross the floor to vote for a banking commission of inquiry and previously threatened to quit the Coalition, issued a public apology to One Nation voters for the LNP failing to “stand up more for conservative values”.

“A lot of that rests with the Turnbull government, its leadership and policy direction,” he said.

The federal Labor leader, Bill Shorten, congratulated Palaszczuk on a “fantastic campaign”, noting although the final result is unknown “it’s clear that Labor is close to forming government”.

“Queenslanders have put their trust in Annastacia Palaszczuk as a strong and courageous leader who refused to horse-trade her values with One Nation,” he said.

“The Liberals and Nationals are suffering from one end of Australia to the other as a result of the Turnbull government.”

On Sunday Canavan told ABC’s Insiders the result showed there is “a very challenging political environment, particularly in regional Queensland, where the swing against [the LNP] or the swing for the One Nation party was strong”.

The resources and northern Australia minister said he would not “sugarcoat” the poor result for the LNP but blamed the conservative vote splitting between the LNP and One Nation.

He said that One Nation had a “disappointing result” because it had not won any seats but had nevertheless “made it difficult for the Liberal National party to pick up those seats in regional areas it needed”.

Canavan suggested the result will be “different at a federal election”, citing the fact the Nationals campaign separately and some LNP members sit in the Nationals party room to argue they will be able to win support in the regions.

The resources minister said if Labor continued to oppose a proposed $1bn concessional loan to the Adani mine it would be “hung around their necks [like] a mill stone” and cost it support in regional Queensland.

Canavan conceded the Queensland government can veto the loan to the mine, saying “they are within their rights to do that”.

“I suppose the Labor party wouldn’t break another promise and backflip again,” he said, before suggesting that if the independent Rockhampton mayor, Margaret Strelow, wins the as-yet undecided seat of Rockhampton she could force Labor to rethink its opposition to the loan.

The federal minister for cities and Liberal MP Angus Taylor also downplayed federal implications, noting the Coalition had a worse primary vote in Queensland elections in 1998 and 2001 but went on to win subsequent federal elections.

Taylor said the Queensland election showed that if people voted “for smaller conservative parties, the unintended consequence of doing that may well be putting Labor in power or keeping Labor in power”.

“The second [message] is we do have to keep this balance between urban Liberals and regional Liberals, between conservative and smaller-l classical liberals, that balance is crucial to the success of the Liberal party.”

Speaking to Sky News the Labor senator and former Queensland state secretary, Anthony Chisholm, said the election was a “strong rejection of One Nation” and said the LNP campaign was “dogged” by Tim Nicholl’s refusal to rule out governing with One Nation support.

Chisholm said Nicholls had run the same “hollow” lines as Malcolm Turnbull and suggested federal Coalition MPs in Flynn, Capricornia and Leichhardt should be “pretty nervous” about the state result.

While the Greens failed to unseat the deputy premier, Jackie Trad, they remain in contention to win the inner Brisbane LNP seat of Maiwar.

Chisholm criticised the Greens for targeting Trad while “neglecting” Maiwar. He said federally the Greens vote is not as concentrated in Brisbane as in Melbourne and predicted they would fail to pick up seats from the ALP.

The federal Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, told ABC24 the result was “outstanding” for the Greens, citing double-digit swings in inner Brisbane electorates.

He said the result showed voters were “sick and tired of the old parties” and did not want the Adani Carmichael coalmine to be built.

Di Natale said Queenslanders and Australians “want power-sharing governments”. He suggested if the Greens win Maiwar then Palaszczuk will need to negotiate with the Greens to form government despite promises not to govern with other parties, because she could not afford to send Queenslanders back to the polls.

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