Bennett and Batt up for the fight
IT WAS a bittersweet moment for returning Burnett MP Stephen Bennett and first-time Bundaberg MP David Batt.
Today, after two long weeks tallying the votes, both LNP candidates officially won their respective seats comfortably on a two-party preferred basis. But from a state perspective, the LNP is in disarray after seeing a big swing against the party and now having to sit in opposition for a further three years as Labor claimed a slim majority government.
Mr Bennett said the LNP would take time to reflect on the result but he was focused on his third successive term as the Member for Burnett.
"We are delighted to have got the faith and the support of the people of the Burnett electorate,” Mr Bennett said.
"And to increase our margin is incredibly humbling.”
After preferences, Mr Bennett secured 60.6 per cent of the vote but said he was aware of the need to reconnect with disenchanted conservatives who voted for One Nation.
"There is a challenge for me to engage with people who felt that One Nation was their first choice,” he said.
"What is making people think One Nation is a credible option?”
The LNP lost several high-profile personnel including Scott Emerson and Tracy Davis leaving a vacancy at the top of the food chain.
Mr Bennett did not rule out taking up a more senior position if it was on the table.
"I would be honoured if I'm asked to serve in any capacity the leadership team sees fit,” he said.
New pollie on the block, Mr Batt was delighted with his win over Labor's Leanne Donaldson.
"It is still sinking in,” he said. "It's fantastic we've been able to get over the line.
"I'm just going to go down there and represent Bundaberg in the best fashion I can.”
Mr Batt garnered 54.2 per cent of the vote.
Both politicians acknowledged reducing electricity prices and flood mitigation as items the Labor government must fix.
Mr Batt said he would hold the government to account for all promises it made to the Bundaberg electorate during the election campaign, including a new Level 5 Bundaberg Hospital.
"(I want) to make sure all the commitments made by the Labor Government are brought to Bundaberg in the next three years,” he said.
Former Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls will not contest a leadership ballot when the LNP's party room meets next week. This leaves Deputy Leader Deb Frecklington and John John-Paul Langbroek to jostle for the leadership role.