So far in this campaign, local-level intelligence has been disappointingly thin on the ground. None of the published polls has offered anything in the way of geographical breakdowns. Regional newspapers which have in the past been good for the occasional electorate poll (the Gold Coast Bulletin in particular) have evidently decided that trimmed organisational budgets can no longer wear such indulgences. Nor have the state’s political reporters had much to offer in the way of background from loose-lipped party strategists.
That being so, it’s tempting to fall upon results derived by Graham Young from his qualitative surveys, which point to especially big swings on the Gold Coast and in central Queensland. The former is particularly interesting, because as I calculated earlier, the Gold Coast was the region which produced the biggest discrepancy between results at the 2006 state and 2007 federal elections, suggesting there is a huge amount of slack there to be taken up by the Liberal National Party. Yesterday’s 51-49 Galaxy result still gives Labor a majority of 48 seats out of 89 if you punch it into Antony Green’s calculator, but with just a bit more wind in its Gold Coast sails the LNP could further take Broadwater, Southport, Coomera and Burleigh (remembering of course that a bigger swing here would have to be counter-balanced by smaller ones elsewhere). If there’s something brewing in central Queensland as well, Labor could also be facing a tough challenge in Keppel (8.1 per cent).
In other news, Labor has rolled out the barrel on kindergartens, as Patrick Lion of the Courier-Mail relates:
Ms Bligh yesterday insisted it was simply a coincidence that every one of the first eight kindergartens to be built by 2010 were in Labor electorates, half of which were marginals under threat from the Liberal National Party. They include Seaforth State School in the state’s tightest seat, Whitsunday, held by Labor MP Jan Jarratt by only 0.1 per cent, and Mudgeeraba State School, where Labor MP Di Reilly has a 2.7 per cent margin. Another nine of 12 kindergartens included in the next building phase for 2011 are also in Labor seats, some marginals. The locations were revealed as part of a $300 million plan to build 240 kindergartens statewide by 2014 as the Premier campaigned at St Andrews Catholic College in Cairns. The college in Barron River, which Labor holds by 4.8 per cent, will be among 18 kindergartens built and another two upgraded in the next two years at a cost of $32 million.
Cook (Labor 11.4%): Padraic Murphy of The Australian reports that Aboriginal leaders, specifically Hopevale mayor Greg McLean and Kowanyama mayor Thomas Hudson, are accusing Labor member Jason O’Brien of failing to represent indigenous constituents in his electorate, which covers Cape York. Variously said to be at issue are the Bligh Government’s move to make Aboriginal communities full shire councils, and in O’Brien’s view McLean’s blue with Noel Pearson over welfare reform.
Beaudesert (Nationals 5.9%): Centrebet is apparently taking bets on this most talked about of seats, but I can’t see anything about it on their website. They are reportedly offering $1.50 for LNP candidate Aidan McLindon, $2.40 for Labor candidate Brett McCreadie and $6.50 for Pauline Hanson. Warwick Capper was at $41 before he was scratched.
Mermaid Beach (Liberal 2.8%), Redcliffe (Labor 6.0%) and Ashgrove (Labor 8.5%): Speaking on Madonna King’s program on ABC Brisbane yesterday, Antony Green nominated these as seats where vote-splitting with independents might cause trouble for incumbents:
It’s always a danger for parties when there’s a split in your own side of politics, and you get a seat like Mermaid Beach where an LNP member has popped up as an independent standing on daylight saving (Shannon Crane). Now, I’m not sure how badly he will split the conservative vote, you never know, it’s not what you want when you’re running a campaign in a marginal seat. Or for Labor where there’s breakaway Labor’s candidates popped up in both Redcliffe (Peter Houston) and Ashgrove (Ian Saunders). Now, they’re seats which aren’t the most marginal in the state, but if Labor loses some of its own core vote to an independent and preferences don’t come back from that independent, it makes a seat more marginal than it appears on paper. And of course, Beaudesert, which is the classic.
Much more on the potential for vote-splitting in a wide range of seats at Antony’s blog.