Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert (left) with Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk and Mirani MP Jim Pearce.
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert (left) with Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk and Mirani MP Jim Pearce. Campbell Gellie

Even the safest seats can fall: Could LNP win in Mackay?

IN THE past 100 years the Labor Party has held the Mackay electorate for all but five years.

And even then, it was held by Labor member who turned independent - Ed Casey, who would later re-join and lead the party.

Despite Mackay traditionally being one of Labor's safest seats in Queensland, one election watcher is warning the government cannot take it for granted.

Yet with rumours rife of an imminent election, the LNP has not named a candidate for Mackay.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert won the seat in 2015 after long-time MP and deputy Labor leader Tim Mulherin retired. Ms Gilbert did not respond to a request for comment.

LNP campaign director Lincoln Folo did not respond to questions about who would be the LNP candidate, nor when they would be named.

One of the men who put their hands up to run for the LNP in 2015, building inspector Jeffrey Keoskie, will run in the seat - but for One Nation.

University of Queensland politics expert Chris Salisbury said despite Labor's historic dominance of Mackay they could not afford to take the seat for granted.

"Mackay is one of those seats that once could have been seen as a stalwart, safe Labor seat," he said.

"But what we've seen since the 2012 Newman landslide is that even the safest seats can fall.

"I'm not for one moment saying that Annastacia Palaszczuk is on the nose like Anna Bligh was in 2012, but I don't think there are seats any party can take for granted."

Dr Salisbury said possible support for One Nation made the seat even harder to predict.

"They're just such a wild card," he said.

"One Nation's preferences are going to go someone, now that preferencing is compulsory.

"What we've seen in recent election, like in WA, is that they may flow back to the Coalition more so than they have in the past."

An election is due before May 5, 2018 but could be held later this year. - NewsRegional


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