TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Latest update: At 11.15am today (Thursday, February 5), just over 83 per cent of the roll had been counted and LNP candidate Jason Costigan had forged ahead by 355 votes. The current prediction is that the seat of Whitsunday will be an LNP retain.
Update: BY 4pm on Wednesday the LNP's Jason Costigan had lost almost half his lead over his Labour opponent Bronwyn Taha.
Mr Costigan, who had previously been 163 votes ahead on a two-party preferred basis had dropped to a lead of just 88 votes with almost 81 per cent of the roll counted.
THE eyes of state politicians are now firmly fixed on the seat of Whitsunday, which could play a major role in who forms government for the next three years.
While LNP candidate Jason Costigan took the seat by storm in the last state election in 2012, this year has been entirely different with the final result still too close to call.
At the time of going to press yesterday afternoon, about 80 per cent of the vote had been counted, with Mr Costigan just 163 votes ahead of his Labor opponent Bronwyn Taha on a two-party preferred basis.
Ever optimistic, Mr Costigan said he had "edged ahead" from being 84 votes in front on the previous count and that he was "quietly confident" of retaining the seat.
He compared himself to some of his LNP colleagues, who even with bigger margins, had been "blown away".
"My primary vote from 2012-2015 came down 2.7 per cent and if you compare that to some of my other colleagues that's a pretty fair result," he said. "Sure we've made mistakes and we'll learn from them but I'm quietly confident we'll get to serve the people of the Whitsundays for a second term whether that's in government or in opposition."
When asked how effective he thought he might be as an opposition MP, Mr Costigan said that was "jumping the gun".
"Nothing's a done deal at the moment [and] anyone who thinks they know what's going to happen must be a cousin of Nostradamus," he said. "That's a question for next week if at all."
Bronwyn Taha agreed the numbers were "going to go up and down" for a couple more days at least.
"[But] I'm really proud that we slashed off a huge margin against the LNP here in the Whitsundays," she said.
Ms Taha attributed Labor's comeback in the Whitsundays in part to the swing of opinion against Mr Costigan personally "because of his lack of attention to his constituents". "Basically half of the electorate voted against him and some of them were [previously] LNP supporters," she said. "I do seriously stress that if he wins, he really does need to answer some phone calls, answer some emails and give some acknowledgement to the community who voted for him."