Mayor Jamieson backs Fiona Simpson as LNP leader
SUNSHINE Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has endorsed Fiona Simpson for Premier of Campbell Newman is booted out in Saturday's vote.
Mr Jamieson said it was time the Sunshine Coast had a Premier with five Ministers on the Coast.
He said Ms Simpson had the experience to do a good job.
Mr Jamieson said he would welcome any of the other four Coast LNP Members for the top job, but Ms Simpspn was being put forward publicly at the moment.
EARLIER: Fiona Simpson has declared she would rather be a senior minister in government than leader of the opposition as a sharp shift in betting markets confirmed Premier Campbell Newman as likely to lose his seat of Ashgrove on Saturday.
Ms Simpson, the Member for Maroochydore and Speaker in the last Parliament, shot into speculation for the LNP leadership when ReachTEL polling two weeks ago showed her second favourite behind Mr Newman to lead an LNP government.
Betting agencies yesterday priced Mr Newman's chance of holding on to his seat at $2.50 with his key opponent, Labor's Kate Jones, shortening to $1.50.
ReachTEL polling released last night confirmed the odds, extending Ms Jones' lead over the Premier to 54-46 on a two-party preferred basis.
The LNP remained favourites to return to government but with a significantly reduced margin.
Ms Simpson said she was flattered by the recent polling but would rather be a senior member of government than leader of the opposition.
"This will be a tight election,'' she said. "It will not be easy on the Coast and a lot tighter than predicted."
Ms Simpson said she wanted primarily to be a member of the government and would be concentrating on that in the last days of the campaign.
Bookmakers have her as firmly favoured to retain her seat at $1.10 with all LNP Coast-based MPs even more keenly priced.
Ms Simpson is also second favourite at $6 among LNP members to be the next Premier behind Tim Nicholls ($1.55).
The LNP is a short-priced $1.12 to retain government but bookmakers are predicting it will be left with as few as 46 seats in a new parliament.
Punters are taking odds of $2.50 that Labor will secure between 35 and 39 seats, although poll watchers suggest its best outcome would be 38 and with 37 more likely with at least five Katter Australia Party and independents filling out the parliament.