Although his voting numbers are similar to the 2015 election, the LNP’s Lachlan Millar acknowledges the frustration shown by the number of people who voted for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation candidate, Mark Higgins, in Gregory on Saturday.
Mr Millar wasn’t prepared to claim victory for the LNP on Monday morning, saying only that he was in a good position on the two-party preferred count.
On Sunday afternoon he had 45.2 per cent of the primary vote. In 2015 he finished with 46.3pc on two-party preferred.
One Nation’s Mark Higgins was second in the count, with 23.8pc, ahead of the ALP’s Dave Kerrigan with 21.7pc.
“I’m not surprised at the One Nation vote,” Mr Millar said.
“A lot of frustrated people parked their vote there.
“I think they’re feeling disengaged, especially with the citizenship issue.
“And people in regional areas are feeling that all the decisions are made for the south east.”
He believed people had voted for Pauline Hanson rather than Mark Higgins, and said they were also taking votes from the ALP, pointing to One Nation’s 16pc of the vote in Barcaldine, the ALP’s spiritual home.
One Nation polled highly in places such as Blackwater, taking 36pc of the vote to Mr Millar’s 23pc.
A discouraged Mr Millar said the LNP’s $30m for roads and $25m for pests and weeds in the west, which he said were major amounts of money, hadn’t cut through to voters.
He said it was obvious the LNP would have to work harder to get their message out but in the meantime, he was very concerned about the direction vegetation management was likely to go in.
“This is what happens when people dabble with One Nation. It’s going to deliver a Labor majority and that’s sad.
“Vegetation management is my biggest worry now – demonising farmers and graziers isn’t the answer.”