Revealed: Regions major parties are most under pressure

 

Labor fears it's losing its grip on key regional seats, potentially forcing it into minority government with the Greens and independents.

The growing worry came as Deputy Premier Steven Miles raised the spectre of voting late on election day as being potentially dangerous as he attempted to target Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington on her costings.

The strategy reflects what some Labor insiders have discussed as being one in which it's hoped voters don't engage with the campaign and simply support the status quo.

Mr Miles said it was "the height of arrogance" for Ms Frecklington to tell voters to wait to see her election costings, to be released next week.

"You know, we have these arrangements in place, these early voting arrangements in place, to keep Queenslanders safe so that our democracy can continue during the pandemic," he said. "And for Deb Frecklington to urge voters to ignore that advice to vote early, for Deb Frecklington to tell them they should wait until election day or maybe the Friday before, is just so arrogant."

The comments come as an analysis of the two leaders' campaigns reveals regions where each party is feeling confident and under pressure.

 

 

 

 

Both Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Ms Frecklington have visited Townsville seats six times between them, setting up the regional city as the campaign's ground zero.

It is a tight race for three marginal Townsville-based Labor seats - Townsville, Mundingburra and Thurungowa - and a fourth held by Katter's Australian Party, Hinchinbrook, is being targeted by the LNP. It's also understood Labor is particularly worried about Mackay, Keppel and Barron River.

In Brisbane seats, Labor is mostly worried about the Greens onslaught in South Brisbane and McConnel.

"We're winning the campaign every day, but it's not moving votes where it matters," one Labor insider said.

Another said: "We are not ahead in all the seats we have, but there are few others that may come across to us.

"There are some opportunities where the LNP are on the back foot," another said.

Those included LNP seats Pumicestone, Currumbin, Coomera and Caloundra.

Labor strategists point to thousands of new homes bought by young families in Caloundra, where LNP MP Mark McArdle is retiring. Labor hopes to swing that seat and Currumbin, where ex-LNP MP Jann Stuckey is causing trouble for successor Laura Gerberg and there are many independents.

Both campaigns declared they were feeling confident in Aspley, where Labor's Bart Mellish holds the seat by a margin of just 1.17 per cent.

 

 

Ms Palaszczuk has twice visited Caloundra and has once been to Coomera, Pumicestone, McConnel, Currumbin and Barron River.

Ms Frecklington has also been to Barron River, Currumbin, Pumicestone and Keppel, as well as Hervey Bay, plus Whitsunday, which the LNP believes it will wrest from North Queensland First and ex-LNP MP Jason Costigan.

LNP strategists say the campaign is a marathon, not a sprint and must be viewed as a six to 12-month strategy of local fights being fought by well-known candidates.

They said candidates were pre-selected much earlier than usual, which had allowed them to establish themselves.

That meant candidates such as Henry Pike in the marginal ALP seat of Redlands had made his 10,000th doorknock this week.

Two insiders quoted former prime minister John Howard, who said: "You can't fatten the pig on market day." They say their campaign is adopting a low-key strategy. That includes Ms Frecklington not appearing on how-to-vote cards.

Insiders insist the campaign is applying lessons from previous elections in which it was found there had been too many messages, and voters didn't feel their local concerns were being represented.

They say the LNP is focused on big plans, including the New Bradfield Scheme, a $300 car registration rebate and plans to tackle crime.

"We're pretty happy with where we're sitting," said one strategist.

He said despite huge numbers pre-polling - with up to one-fifth of voters having already voted in some seats - "election day will still matter".

Originally published as Revealed: Regions major parties are most under pressure


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