THE seats of Hinkler and Flynn could play key roles in the election on August 21 with Queensland shaping up as the battleground that could decide who is the next prime minister.
Queensland went a long way towards delivering government to Kevin Rudd in 2007, and if there is resentment in the state over the manner of his ousting, there could well be a significant swing towards the Coalition.
The long-standing LNP Member for Hinkler, Paul Neville, held on to the seat in 2007 despite an 8% swing to Labor across the state, and now holds it by a margin of 1.5%.
His main challenge will come from Labor's Belinda McNeven, who is a councillor on the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
Mr Neville said at the weekend he was looking forward to the contest.
“This election is about the ability to manage the economy and rein in the cost of living, create more local jobs, deliver better health and aged care services and give taxpayers value for their hard-earned dollar,” he said.
“Voters will have to decide between the Coalition, which is renowned for its economic credibility and a track record of delivering for regional areas, and Labor, which has trashed our national economy, trashed its own programs and even trashed the former prime minister Kevin Rudd.”
Mr Neville identified six key issues – the cost of living, health, aged care, jobs, roads and border protection.
“The Coalition has policies targeting all these areas which have either been released or will be released during the campaign.
“Of course, voters will also take into account more fundamental issues such as good economic management,” he said.
Ms McNeven said a Labor government would be committed to better schools and hospitals, a strong economy and a sustainable Australia.
She said the choice for voters was clear.
“(Prime Minister) Julia Gillard is committed to moving Australia forward while (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott will take us back to cuts in health and education and back to the worst aspects of WorkChoices,” she said.
She said she shared Ms Gillard's belief that every child deserved the chance of a quality education and access to Trade Training Centres in schools.
“Like Julia Gillard, I entered politics because of my commitment to improving educational opportunities in my community,” she said.
“I would encourage all local people to check their enrolment is up to date and for young voters to make sure they are enrolled.”
Independent candidate Cy d'Oliviera, who is running on a platform of a better deal for seniors, said he had been preparing for the election since last year.
Greens candidate Adrian Wone could not be contacted yesterday, but has said previously he planned to focus his campaign on renewable sources of energy.
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