Political showdown in north

Leadership spill may impact north Queensland candidates


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Herbert and Kennedy seats to watch as the Liberal Party's leadership crisis continues.

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LNP candidate for Herbert Phillip Thompson OAM, pictured with wife Jenna and daughter Astin, four months.

LNP candidate for Herbert Phillip Thompson OAM, pictured with wife Jenna and daughter Astin, four months.

AS Australia’s highest office is thrown into turmoil with a likely coalition leadership spill, candidates in two of the north’s vital Federal seats are gearing up for their own political showdown.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is on the brink of being replaced at a party room meeting being held tomorrow.

Mr Turnbull today said if the majority voted for a spill at Friday’s meeting, he would step down as Prime Minister and leave parliament.

It comes after Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton challenged the Prime Minister on Monday, and narrowly lost.

Mr Dutton and Treasurer Scott Morrison are likely contenders for the top job.

With a looming federal election, Sportsbet this week released their odds as to which party would win each federal seat.

Herbert and Kennedy will be among the seats to watch in the north, given the current political climate.

Herbert is the most marginal seat in Australia, with Labor's Cathy O'Toole taking out Herbert by just 37 votes in the 2016 federal election, becoming the first Labor member to hold the seat since 1996.

Despite this, Sportsbet has Labor at $1.45 to retain the seat, with the Coalition at $2.80.

Herbert LNP candidate Phillip Thompson OAM, who was named 2018 Queensland Young Australian of the Year, is optimistic of his chances.

"I think those numbers will chance to be honest, and I'm humbled there's a Sportsbet," Mr Thompson said.

"I probably won't look at it again. What I'll be doing to speaking with my community about their needs and wants and developing policy around that so when I'm elected I can take our problems to Canberra.

"I'm here to be a responsible, reliable voice for the people of Herbert and to be Townsville's voice  in Canberra instead of Canberra's voice in Townsville, which is what we've seen for a long time."

Kennedy is solid Katter country, with Bob Katter having held the vast seat for that last 25 years after he was first elected in 1993.

Sportsbet has the odds of Katter's Australian Party retaining the seat at $1.07, the Coalition $7 and Labor $36.

But Kennedy LNP candidate, Frank Beveridge, a former Charters Towers mayor, said he felt change was in the wind.

He acknowledged leadership issues within the Liberal party was dominating political chatter, but said it was a conversation that needed to be had.

"We still need to work out the leadership issues, I see that as a process that we had to go through, whether it is now or later, and the sooner that is put to bed the better," Mr Beveridge said.

Mr Beveridge spent yesterday talking to about 50 business owners in Innisfail and has just returned to the coast after visiting Mount Isa, Normanton and Karumba.

"The common theme I get from most people is the talk of change.

"People are doing it fairly tough in the regional towns and the general feeling in the community is that they haven't had as much attention as they would have liked.

"What I'm presenting to people is an opportunity to look at things with new, fresh eyes."

Mr Beveridge said people felt that Kennedy was being ignored in terms of funding for infrastructure, where surrounding electorates were forging ahead.

"Absolutely, nothing is set in concrete and I'm an unknown quantity," he said.

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