North Queensland on knife-edge

Queensland votes: Hinchinbrook, Burdekin and Townsville in limbo


Queensland State Election
The LNP's Andrew Cripps is far from safe in Hinchinbrook.

The LNP's Andrew Cripps is far from safe in Hinchinbrook.

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UPDATE: Several North Queensland seats remain in limbo today as counting continues in the State election.

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UPDATE: 2pm Monday, November 27.

The introduction of compulsory preferential voting is throwing up some curve-balls in North Queensland, with the seats of Hinchinbrook and Burdekin remaining on a knife-edge.

Hinchinbrook LNP incumbent Andrew Cripps has 29.94 per cent of the primary vote with 77 per cent of votes counted – but preferencing has put his seat in jeopardy.

University of Queensland political analyst Chris Salisbury said with preferences, seats including Hinchinbrook had become a three-horse race.

“There are a few examples where candidates have been third in line at least so far in terms of primary votes, but in Hinchinbrook Katter’s Nick Dametto is third in line but could well leapfrog in front of both,” Dr Salisbury said.

Mr Dametto is currently on 21.19 per cent of the primary vote, behind both One Nation’s Margaret Bell (21.95 per cent) and Mr Cripps.

“This is mostly down to partly their general rejection or disaffection of the majors in the regions, but also KAP being in the position to win the seat is a side effect of compulsory preferencing. Katter I think will benefit from this,” Dr Salisbury said.

“And other seats in the north of the State are turning into three way contests.”

With about a dozen seats undecided, including Hinchinbrook, Burdekin and Townsville, Dr Salisbury said it would likely take until at least the end of the week before all seats are decided.

“The election itself is some time off being decided,” Dr Salisbury said.

“Because of the turn away from the majors, both only commanded about 70 per cent of the primary vote, so a lot of seats are still unknown.

“It is very likely Labor will form a government but getting to a majority is still far from certain.”

Dr Salisbury said it was likely Burdekin would come down to a “handful of votes.”

It is currently a three horse race between Labor’s Mike Brunker, who has 36 per cent of the primary vote, incumbent LNP member Dale Last 31.62 per cent and One Nation’s Sam Cox on 29.5.

Townsville is also down to the wire between Labor incumbent Scott Stewart on 33.52 per cent of the primary vote, and LNP’s Casie Scott on 31.34 per cent.

But on a two-party preferred basis, Ms Scott is slightly ahead on 50.12 per cent to Mr Stewart 49.88 per cent.

LNP Whitsunday incumbent Jason Costigan is likely to retain his seat with a slim margin.

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EARLIER: THE seats of Burdekin and Whitsunday will remain on a knife-edge tonight with the race to the finish too close to call.

In the Burdekin, LNP incumbent Dale Last had 33.76 per cent of the primary vote at 10pm, with One Nation’s Sam Cox on 32.18 per cent . Only 297 votes separated the two, with Labor’s Mike Brunker only 772 votes behind.

On the Whitsunday, sitting LNP member Jason Costigan was only 190 votes ahead of Labor’s Bronwyn Taha.

Costigan holds the seat with only a 0.56 per cent margain. In 2015, it took 12 days to be declared and he scraped over by just 218 votes.

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