November 25, 2017 / 11:43 AM / 23 days ago

Centre-left pulls ahead in Australian state election

* Centre-left leads Australian state election

* Proposed Adani coal project affected by election outcome

* Results may not be known for several days

By Jonathan Barrett

SYDNEY, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Australia’s centre-left Labor party is leading in a tight state election in coal-rich Queensland with more than half of the votes counted late on Saturday, potentially nullifying a resurgence in nationalist right-wing politics.

The election in Australia’s third most populous state pitted the incumbent Labor government against the conservative Liberal National Party (LNP), while Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is trying to win the balance-of-power and have final say over which major party governs.

Hanson is back in her electoral home and heartland to test whether her anti-immigration, nationalist party resurgence in federal parliament last year will continue at state elections.

With 60 percent of votes counted at Saturday’s election, One Nation is attracting support from around 13 percent of voters. The party’s resurgence has split the conservative vote, according to analysis by the Australian Broadcasting Association, with the LNP suffering an 8 percent swing against it.

This has left Labor, headed by state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, creeping towards the 47 seats it needs to govern in the 93-seat parliament, a result which would allow it to form a government without support from independents or minor parties.

The result may not be known for several days and it is unclear whether either major party will win a majority.

The election has been held in one of Australia’s powerhouse mining states with debate over a A$16.5 billion ($12.6 billion) coal mine, rail and port project proposed by Indian energy giant Adani Enterprises dominating much of the campaign.

While both major parties support the Queensland resources project, Labor has vowed to veto a near billion-dollar concessional loan Adani has asked Australia to provide for the proposed rail line, should it win government. The LNP supports the government loan.

$1 = 1.3137 Australian dollars Reporting by Jonathan Barrett in SYDNEY Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.

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