The election resulted in a sixth consecutive term of office for the National Party under Joh Bjelke-Petersen. It was the tenth election win for the National Party in Queensland since it first came to office in 1957.
The election was triggered when a number of Liberal MLAs, including a cabinet minister, crossed the floor of the Parliament in order to support a Labor motion to create an Expenditure Review Committee. As a result, the coalition between the Liberal and National Parties was dissolved, and the Liberal Party elected Terry White as its new leader. Labor was also led by a new leader, Keith Wright.
Labor hoped to make use of the division between the conservative parties to make gains, while the Liberals hoped to win enough seats to force the Nationals back into coalition under more favourable terms. The Nationals sought to gain enough seats to form a majority government in their own right.
The National Party was returned to office, one seat short of a majority. Labor also made gains, although not enough to challenge the continuing dominance of the Bjelke-Petersen Government. The Liberals lost fourteen seats, including most of the members who crossed the floor of Parliament.
On 25 October, following the election, two Liberal MLAs, Brian Austin (Wavell) and Don Lane (Merthyr) defected to the National Party. This left only six Liberals, and marked the end of Terry White’s leadership and Angus Innes’ deputy leadership. Sir William Knox (Nundah) was returned as the new leader of the party.
Labor had performed well, but not well enough, especially in North Queensland. Still, Labor strategists hoped that they had recovered enough seats to make a win in 1986 possible.
The addition of Austin and Lane gave the Government 43 seats. The National Party had formed a majority government for the first time in Australian history. The coalition was not reformed and Joh Bjelke-Petersen continued as Premier.