QLD VOTES: We'll know the winner by end of the week

QUEENSLAND should have a government declared by the week's end, pundits predict. But scrutineers are still sweating on a handful of seats to determine the make-up of the next parliament.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland won't start distributing preferences in the cliffhanger seats of Maiwar or Macalister until tomorrow. Last night was the cut-off for postal votes.

Labor is already counting Macalister on its win list and this would see it reach the 47 seats required for majority government.

But a late surge by child safety advocate and independent candidate Hetty Johnston unnerved some in the Labor party, although Ms Johnston believed it wouldn't be enough for her to win.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston has announced she will run for Macalister as an Independent. Picture: Peter Wallis
Hetty Johnston believes postal vote results won’t be enough for her to claim Maiwar. Picture: Peter Wallis

Labor was also hopeful it would keep Townsville (to get to 48 seats) where preferences are also yet to be distributed.

Hetty Johnston believes postal vote results won't be enough for her to claim Maiwar. Picture: Peter Wallis
The extra seat would give the government a welcome margin and some breathing space in parliament in the case of defection or illness.

Preference flows yesterday shored up Hinchinbrook as Katter's Australian Party's third seat, but it was still too close to call Burdekin in which the LNP's Dale Last was trying to fight off Labor's Mike Brunker.

In Maiwar, the Greens were 51 votes ahead of Labor in a race for second place.

The party that takes second spot will leapfrog the LNP and take the seat from former opposition frontbencher Scott Emerson who has already conceded.

Labor and LNP insiders yesterday believed final counts would become clearer tomorrow, with a new Palaszczuk Cabinet potentially being sworn in on Friday.

The ECQ has so far declared 21 of 93 seats, including Rockhampton which it has given to Labor.