Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard confronts mounting challenges to her own re-election after her Labor party suffered a landslide poll defeat in Queensland, leaving her with allies governing just two of the nation’s six states.
Australia’s ruling Labor party this week faces its first loss of power in Queensland since 1996, after a surging exchange rate eroded the job market of a state that’s been a battleground in national elections.
Queensland’s premier urged residents to remain vigilant as a weakened Cyclone Ita moved across the Australian state’s north with winds of 120 kilometers (75 miles) an hour. No deaths or injuries have been reported.
Australia’s Queensland state is set for a change of government, with early vote counting in today’s election showing the opposition Liberal National Party will end 14 years of Labor rule, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Sandwiched by forested hills and the Great Barrier Reef, the town of Cairns and its surrounding region are enduring a tourist slump. More than a third of the 3,892 hotel rooms in the tropical Australian getaway were empty in the three months through June.