Reasons behind the LNP’s catastrophic failure in the north

THE LNP failed to make headway in winnable North Queensland seats because it underestimated voters and attempted to woo them with recycled law and order policies, a political expert has said.

As the party licks its wounds after a surprising blow to its support in the North, a Townsville-based LNP stalwart has also lashed out, calling for a complete "clear out" of the Opposition's policy and media staffers who have been there since the Campbell Newman era.

Townsville's three marginal electorates, and the Cairns seat of Barron River, had been viewed as ripe for the LNP's picking this election.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington with her LNP NQ Team in Townsville. Candidate for Thuringowa Natalie Marr, candidate for Townsville John Hathaway, Deputy Leader Tim Mander, candidate for Hinchinbrook Scott Piper, Member for Burdekin Dale Last and candidate for Mundingburra Glenn Doyle. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington with her LNP NQ Team in Townsville. Candidate for Thuringowa Natalie Marr, candidate for Townsville John Hathaway, Deputy Leader Tim Mander, candidate for Hinchinbrook Scott Piper, Member for Burdekin Dale Last and candidate for Mundingburra Glenn Doyle. Picture: Alix Sweeney

But an expectation-defying swing of 2-3 per cent to Labor in all four seats, which has surprised the party itself, will see the status quo remain in the North.

James Cook University senior politics lecture Dr Maxine Newlands said the lack of "original ideas" from the LNP, particularly on youth crime where the party rehashed a controversial curfew policy from 2017, may be partly behind its failure in Townsville.

"It didn't work in 2017 either … why they thought it would work again, I don't know," she said. "I definitely think they underestimated people's knowledge of politics.

"They didn't have the cut through … that's a big factor."

Dr Newlands said Townsville's struggle with youth crime was not new and voters were looking for solutions that offered "systematic change".

Describing the LNP as a "failed experiment" and the state campaign as "so bad", a party stalwart said they had to stop trying to be all things to all people and go back to a coalition model.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, joined by Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper (left), Labor candidate for Mundingburra Les Walker and Townsville MP Scott Stewart after arriving in a 1969 XW GT Falcon to a regional rally campaign event in Townsville. Queenslanders go to the polls on October 31. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, joined by Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper (left), Labor candidate for Mundingburra Les Walker and Townsville MP Scott Stewart after arriving in a 1969 XW GT Falcon to a regional rally campaign event in Townsville. Queenslanders go to the polls on October 31. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled


"How can people in Brisbane dictate what happens in Townsville and Cairns," the LNP stalwart said. "(The party) needs a regional deputy leader, or a North Queensland headquarters."

North Queensland LNP members were said to be "furious" at Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington for refusing to stand down on Saturday night.

Labor has credited wins in the North to older voters who swung their way and the LNP's inability to sell its message.

As the count progressed yesterday, Labor's Scott Stewart in Townsville remained sitting on 53 per cent of the indicative two party preferred vote while colleagues Aaron Harper in Thuringowa and Les Walker in Mundingburra were both on 54 per cent.


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