WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: It's all smiles for the Pitt family after Keith's return to office.  He is pictured with wife Allison, older daughter Ruby, younger daughter Elisabeth and son Liam.
WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: It's all smiles for the Pitt family after Keith's return to office. He is pictured with wife Allison, older daughter Ruby, younger daughter Elisabeth and son Liam. Tahlia Stehbens

UPDATE: Why did Hinkler Labor voters turn away from party?

UPDATE 10AM: Opinion by editor Adam Wratten

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has etched himself a special place in the pages of the Liberal party and nation's history books with an election victory few saw coming.

He deserves the plaudits.

FEDERAL
2019
Hinkler

Saturday's election result was a rejection of Labor's controversial platform.

No where was this rejection more strongly felt than in regional Queensland, particularly Hinkler, where the electorate recorded the highest pre-poll figure anywhere in the country.

I'd suggest this showed voters were clearly not wanting to listen to Labor's message.

 

UPDATE 7.20AM: While not officially declared yet, Keith Pitt has been returned as the member for Hinkler.

With just under 80 per cent of the vote counted last night, Mr Pitt has 35,926 votes (45.61 per cent of the primary vote), compared to Labor's 18,379 (23.33 per cent).

That's a massive difference of 17,547 votes.

On a two-party preferred basis, Mr Pitt has enjoyed a 5.8 per cent swing to him and has a margin of 22,377 votes.

Labor isn't the only party to have disappointed.

One Nation's Damian Huxham saw his numbers drop 4.23 per cent to 11,763 votes.

The Greens' Anne Jackson lost 0.3 per cent to record under 3000 votes, while Joseph Ellul's 3495 votes would be a massive blow for Clive Palmer after such a huge election advertising blitz.

More than 85,000 votes have been counted.

Keith Pitt, with his family.
Keith Pitt, with his family. Tahlia Stehbens

UPDATE 9.30PM: Keith Pitt has addressed media saying the LNP's strong vote in Hinkler was a resounding endorsement of the Cashless Debit Card.

Speaking at the Burnett Bowls Club, Mr Pitt didn't claim victory, saying there were still a lot of votes to be counted.

With 42 of 50 polling booths in, and more than 43,000 votes counted, Mr Pitt has secured 17,238 votes; representing a 1.5 per cent primary swing to him.

Labor candidate Richard Pascoe also hasn't conceded though media commentators across the country have labelled Hinkler as a retain for the LNP.

After thanking volunteers and his family for their support, Mr Pitt said the electorate had sent a clear message.

"I look forward to continuing to do the job I have been doing," he said.

"If this is a referendum on the Cashless Debit Card, then the result is very, very clear.

"People want change.  They know these are tough decisions that we have to do to make real social change locally that is in the benefit of local kids."

He said the fact Hinkler had recorded the highest pre-polling in the nation with more than 50,000 votes cast sent "a clear message to Bill Shorten and the Opposition that they didn't like their agenda".

He said voters didn't want their money taken in higher taxes and redistributed to other parts of the country, particularly retirees.

Mr Pitt said if he is to win, it would be a "humbling experience".

"Tonight is about thanking our volunteers for the work they've done," he said.

He congratulated nearby regional Queensland National party members for their strong showing and likely victories.

 

UPDATE 8.30PM: The swing against Labor appears to be holding with almost 40,000 votes counted.

The swing is 5.5 per cent against the ALP on the two-party preferred basis, while Richard Pascoe's primary vote is more than 3 per cent below how the party performed in 2016.

LNP incumbent Keith Pitt has seen his primary vote increase by 1.23 per cent.

He is currently tracking at 42.89 per cent.

Mr Pitt is set to address media at 8.30pm.

Meanwhile there is no word out of Mr Pascoe's camp at this stage.

VOTING: Labor candidate for Hinkler Richard Pascoe voting at Kepnock High School.
VOTING: Labor candidate for Hinkler Richard Pascoe voting at Kepnock High School. Mike Knott

 

UPDATE 8.15PM: While Labor's Richard Pascoe isn't admitting defeat, it seems Independent Moe Turaga has acknowledged nobody will be able to catch Keith Pitt.

Posting to his political Facebook page, Mr Turaga said: "Oh well looks like Mr Pitt is in again".

With 38 of the 50 polling booths returned, the LNP's Mr Pitt has 13512 votes, nearly 6000 more than Mr Pascoe.

Damian Huxham is clear in third position with Mr Turaga and the Greens' Anne Jackson and UAP's Joseph Ellul battling for fourth.

Hinkler Independent candidate Moe Turaga.
Hinkler Independent candidate Moe Turaga. Adam Wratten

 

UPDATE 7.50PM: Just 90 minutes into the vote count and Sky News is reporting LNP's Keith Pitt has retained the seat of Hinkler.

Mr Pitt has secured 41 per cent of the nearly 20 per cent of votes so far from the electorate.

His 8599 tally represents a swing to him of 0.8 per cent.

Labor's Richard Pascoe however has recorded a 3 per cent swing against the ALP with 5175 votes.

However there is no sign of a concession from Mr Pascoe at this stage, who indicated to the NewsMail there was still a large number of votes to be counted.

On a two party preferred basis Mr Pitt holds 63 per cent of the count.

 

UPDATE 7.30PM: As the LNP's Keith Pitt consolidates his commanding position, it's clear Hinkler voters have rejected Fraser Anning's right wing Conservative National Party.

Greens candidate Anne Jackson with 480 votes has secured more than twice as many votes as the Conservative National Party's candidate Aaron Erskine, who has 207.

Both parties are behind independent Moe Turaga, whose grassroots campaign in which he spoke out against the Cashless Debit Card has resonated with him having 508 votes.

Mr Turaga is just behind United Australia Party's Joseph Ellul by 11 votes, despite not having the financial backing of billionaire Clive Palmer who undertook a massive advertising campaign in the electorate.

With nearly 12 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Pitt has 5063 votes.

It's got him 2137 votes clear of Labor's Richard Pascoe with 2876.

The Hinkler electorate clearly had its mind made up about how it would vote with the highest turnout in the country for pre-polling.

 

UPDATE 7.15PM: A swing against One Nation is emerging from the early count of the Hinkler vote.

Damian Huxham has 739 votes, representing a swing against Pauline Hanson's party of six per cent.

Last election he was about 20 per cent of the vote. Currently he is just on 14 per cent.

Meanwhile with five of the 50 polling places counted, Keith Pitt is projected to secure more than 66 per cent of the vote on a two party preferred basis.

He is sitting on 2400 votes. This represents a swing to him of +2.8 per cent and just over 45 per cent of the total count.

Mr Pascoe has captured 1247 votes, a swing against labor of 2.6 per cent.

So far just over 1.07 per cent of the vote has been counted.

UPDATE 7PM: Keith Pitt has taken a commanding lead as the vote count continues.

Pitt's vote tally, which sits at 1326, is almost double that of second-place holder, Labor's Richard Pascoe with 679.

One Nation's Damian Huxham sits marginally behind Pascoe with 410 votes.

Last election Huxham polled just under 20 per cent. 

Currently he is slightly down at 14 per cent.

Clive Palmer's party will be particularly disappointed with their performance so far with Joseph Ellul capturing just five per cent of the votes.

Independents, Greens and the Animal Justice Party are all sitting behind holding less than 10 per cent of votes collectively.

Meanwhile in the seat of Flynn, which incorporates the North Burnett, Ken O'Dowd has taken an early lead.

With six of 89 booths reporting first preference results so far, Mr O'Dowd currently leads with 827 votes.

FEDERAL
2019
Flynn

 

One Nation candidate Sharon Lohse is at 358 votes, a 5.14% swing towards them.

ALP's Zac Beers has 288 votes so far with a 3 per cent swing against the party.

Avondale, Bluff, Mondure, Mount Perry, Mundubbera, Stanwell polling places have reported their votes.

UPDATE 6.40PM: The first 214 votes are in for Hinkler and Keith Pitt has already taken a strong lead.

The LNP incumbent has secured 105 votes, just under 50 per cent of those cast so far.

Meanwhile, Labor's Richard Pascoe has got 48, just on 22 per cent of the vote.

Coming in third is One Nation's Damian Huxham, who has come down with the flu today, with 32 votes.

Followed by Independent Moe Turaga and Aaron Erskine, of Fraser Anning's Conservative party.

Clive Palmer's candidate Joseph Ellul has only got four votes, putting him behind the Greens' Anne Jackson with seven.

David Norman (Ind) and Animal Justice Party's Amy Byrnes have one vote each with Adrian Wone, another independent, yet to register.

Counting begins

COUNTING has begun, but we're still waiting for the first numbers to come through..

It has been a busy day of voting across the Bundaberg and North Burnett regions.

We will keep you up to date with the latest count and all the news from the candidates as a clearer picture emerges.

And if you want to keep posted with the national picture, Sky News has got you covered.

 

Candidate catches flu

ONE Nation candidate Damian Huxham cast his vote earlier today.

Federal election 2019 - Hinkler One Nation candidate Damian Huxham voting at the Hervey Bay High polling booth.
Federal election 2019 - Hinkler One Nation candidate Damian Huxham voting at the Hervey Bay High polling booth. Alistair Brightman

It's the fourth time he's contested an election - this is is second tilt at the seat of Hinkler.

With daughter Kyra by his side and sporting a bright orange vest (and flu symptoms), Mr Huxham spent his last campaign moments speaking with residents at Hervey Bay State High School.

Mr Huxham maintained One Nation voters were the biggest fear for major parties.

"People are tired of the major parties and want to see change," he said.

"I always feel confident, but it's going to come down to preferences.

"There are 10 candidates and it's going to be a tough call."

 

Election opinion

TODAY we get to decide.

In truth the battle for Hinkler has been somewhat of a fizzer with the major happenings occurring before the election was even called.

When LNP incumbent Keith Pitt announced $30 million from the Regional Deal would be spent on demaining Quay St, he went head-to-head with the Queensland Government, which had earlier refused to sign on to the deal.

Since then, the campaign has been pretty straight forward, despite a historic high number of candidates nominating.

Betting agency Ladbrokes yesterday had Mr Pitt a hot favourite at $1.07. It would be a real surprise if he wasn't returned for a third term.

Read: Editor's take on Hinkler election race.

Where to vote

LEFT voting until the last minute?

We've put together a list of polling booths in the Bundaberg and North Burnett regions where you can vote on Saturday.

Evidence suggests that a change to the rules for voting might cause voters to vote for parties they thought they’d put last.
Evidence suggests that a change to the rules for voting might cause voters to vote for parties they thought they’d put last.

They'll be open from 8am-6pm.

All of the booths have assisted wheelchair access except for Biggenden State School and Bullyard State School where there is no wheelchair access.

Check out all the places to vote in Bundaberg and the North Burnett.

 

Meet the candidates

A TOTAL of 10 candidates have put their hand up for the seat of Hinkler.

Betting website Ladbrokes currently favours the chances of Labor leader Bill Shorten becoming the country's next PM.

Here's a brief guide to each of the 10 candidates running for Hinkler.

 

Aaron Erskine, Fraser Anning's Conservative Nationals Party candidate for Hinkler.
Aaron Erskine, Fraser Anning's Conservative Nationals Party candidate for Hinkler. Contributed

Aaron Erskine - Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party

A father of five, Mr Erskine is set to run for Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party.

With a background in information and communication technology, Mr Erskine said he had developed a passion for politics throughout his lifetime.

 

Hinkler independent candidate Adrian Wone.
Hinkler independent candidate Adrian Wone. Tahlia Stehbens

Adrian Wone - Independent

A passion for the sugar industry and frustration at mainstream politics has motivated Adrian Wone to take another shot at federal politics after once running for the Greens.

 

AJP: Amy Byrnes is the Hinkler candidate for the Animal Justice Party.
AJP: Amy Byrnes is the Hinkler candidate for the Animal Justice Party. contributed

Amy Byrnes - Animal Justice Party

Amy Byrnes is a committed and compassionate vegan and volunteers to help reunite lost animals with their owners.

"I love this area because we are so close to nature - from parklands and wetlands to the beach. It's special and something we need to protect," Ms Byrnes said.

 

Hinkler candidate Anne Jackson.
Hinkler candidate Anne Jackson. Tahlia Stehbens

Anne Jackson - Greens

Ms Jackson announced her candidacy in February.

The long-time resident has come out with a strong stance against the Cashless Debit Card.

 

One Nation candidate for Hinkler Damian Huxham.
One Nation candidate for Hinkler Damian Huxham. contributed

Damian Huxham - One Nation

It will be Mr Huxham's second go at the seat of Hinkler and says that with One Nation achieving a lot unelected, he'd like to do even more from an elected position.

The One Nation candidate says he is passionate about regional infrastructure and the Hinkler bridge.

 

Hinkler Indepenent candidate David Norman.
Hinkler Indepenent candidate David Norman. Contributed

David Norman - Independent

Mr Norman was born and raised on a property near Monto and has lived in Hinkler for nearly 40 years.

Mr Norman said he wanted to run was because he believed constituents deserved better than political fighting and he has stated that he is against the Cashless Debit Card.

 

Hinkler candidate Joseph Ellul with Clive Palmer.
Hinkler candidate Joseph Ellul with Clive Palmer. Mike Knott BUN300419PAL7

Joseph Ellul - United Australia Party

Mr Ellul is the latest addition to the list.

Growing up on a Bucca farm, Mr Ellul said he was focused on aged care and small business.

 

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt. Mike Knott BUN220419PITT2

Keith Pitt - LNP incumbent

Mr Pitt goes into the election with achievements under his wing including securing the Tobruk for the region as well as the Regional Deal for Hinkler.

His controversial push for the Cashless Debit Card will make or break some votes for the incumbent.

 

Moe Turaga is running as an independent candidate for Hinkler in the next federal election.
Moe Turaga is running as an independent candidate for Hinkler in the next federal election. Katie Hall

Moe Turaga - Independent

Mr Turaga gave up his dual Fijian citizenship to run for the seat of Hinkler.

Mr Turaga says he believes the people need a voice and hopes to see the Cashless Debit Card repealed.

 

Labor candidate for Hinkler Richard Pascoe.
Labor candidate for Hinkler Richard Pascoe. Mike Knott BUN210119LAB7

Richard Pascoe - Labor

Mr Pascoe has come out firing on numerous local issues since declaring his intention to run for Hinkler in August last year.

Mr Pascoe says he believes the member for Hinkler role should be about creating jobs and opportunities so locals have the opportunity to save.



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