The result of the election was a second consecutive hung parliament, with the Australian Labor Party forming minority government after receiving the support of independent Peter Wellington. This election was the first in which One Nation Party supporters were elected into state Parliament, with the controversial party winning 11 seats. With nearly 23% of the vote, One Nation gained a higher percentage of the vote than any other third party (non-Labor or Coalition) in any State or Territory since Federation. This was also the only election where a third party has gained more votes than both the Liberal and National parties (considered separately). As a result of the high One Nation vote, any 2PP result would have been virtually meaningless and was not counted.
A few months after the election, the One Nation member for Mulgrave Charles Rappolt resigned, and the Australian Labor Party candidate won the subsequent by-election, resulting in the ALP holding a majority in the Legislative Assembly.
The fact that the Coalition Government came to office as a direct result of the 1996 Mundingburra by-election instead of the general election the previous year and that it was not elected in its own right at the 1998 election meant that the 1998 election was fourth consecutive election victory for the ALP having won every general election since 1989.
The previous state election had resulted in one of the narrowest margins of any Australian election. The Goss government briefly clung to life by a single seat; however, the Court of Disputed Returns ordered a new election in the disputed seat of Mundingburra. This by-election was won by the Liberal Party; Independent MLA Liz Cunningham announced her support for a National-Liberal coalition government, and Rob Borbidge was appointed as Premier.
The Borbidge government's popularity suffered in the later part of its term due to the federal Howard government's GST plans. Seeking to create a more definite majority, Borbidge called a new election on 19 May 1998. Although early polling showed the government to be strongly competitive with Labor, led by Peter Beattie, later polls saw Labor gain a substantial lead.
However, the debate between the two parties was rapidly sidelined by One Nation's emerging support. Formed in 1997 by federal Independent MP for OxleyPauline Hanson, One Nation gained significant support on a platform of economic nationalism, anti-immigration sentiments and opposition to native title. One Nation stood candidates in 79 seats, all largely political novices. The issue of preference allocations to One Nation, under Queensland's optional preferential voting (OPV) system, became a major campaign issue, with eventual poor results for the Liberals attributed to opposition from many of their traditional voters over their decision not to put One Nation last on preferences.
Although the Coalition Government initially enjoyed strong levels of support subsequent to assuming office in 1996, support was quickly lost. From 1997, Labor opened a consistent, albeit narrow, lead in the polls and by 1998 Labor was enjoying a commanding lead. The Coalition was eventually disadvantaged by what was commonly deemed to be poor government performance and the rapid rise of One Nation support, which under the state's optional preferential voting, fractured the Conservative vote. The Coalition vote significantly plummeted, whilst Labor essentially withstood the swing to One Nation.