LNP to win Dawson

Labor Candidate for Dawson, Mike Brunker and Liberal National Party, George Christensen.
Labor Candidate for Dawson, Mike Brunker and Liberal National Party, George Christensen.

WHITSUNDAY Regional Mayor Mike Brunker is expected to return to work as mayor this week after being defeated in his attempt to represent Labor at a federal level.

Although the results in the electorate of Dawson have not been declared as yet, it is expected that the LNP's George Christensen will claim the seat.

Mr Brunker had taken a leave of absence without pay during his campaign.

Mr Christensen is 3380 votes ahead of his opponent, Mike Brunker with 76 per cent of the vote counted.

The LNP candidate was given a rousing welcome by supporters who packed the Ambassador Hotel in Mackay for a post-poll party on Saturday night but the man himself was keeping a rein on his optimism.

Mr Christensen said although the counting of postal votes was unlikely to tip the vote in Mr Brunker's favour, it wasn't out of the question – so he stopped short of claiming victory yesterday (Sunday).

“I understand there are 6600 yet to be processed.”

Labor held the seat by a margin of 2.4 per cent before the poll, but there has been a swing of 4.68 per cent towards the LNP.

Mr Christensen said the controversial mining tax had hurt Labor in Dawson and other mining seats.

“The feedback I was getting at polling booths was from young blokes – miners who were saying I voted Labor last time because of WorkChoices and I'm voting for you this time because of Labor's mining tax.”

Mr Christensen received 30,916 votes, or 45.40 per cent of first-preference votes counted late yesterday, compared to Mr Brunker's 27,536 votes – 40.43 per cent.

The Greens' Jonathon Dykyj received 5269 votes – 7.74 per cent; Family First's Damian Herrington 3373 – 4.95 per cent and Citizens Electoral Council's Bill Ingrey 1009 votes – 1.48 per cent.

De-Anne Kelly, who lost the seat for the Nationals in 2007, was all smiles as she left the Ambassador on Saturday night.

“I'm very proud of George,” she said.

“Not only is the seat with the LNP – it's with a man who will respect his constituents with complete integrity who will work and fight for the people of Dawson.”

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