VOTE BOOSTER? Annastacia Palaszczuk holds a meerkat at Australia Zoo yesterday.
VOTE BOOSTER? Annastacia Palaszczuk holds a meerkat at Australia Zoo yesterday. DAN PELED

Leaders spend final days hunting scarce votes

IF THERE was any doubt regional Queensland would decide this election, the past week has put that to bed.

Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk and LNP leader Tim Nicholls have spent the campaign's final week in a whirlwind tour of the state.

Both leaders have blitzed through multiple electorates up and down the coast every day of the past week.

University of Queensland political expert Chris Salisbury said regional electorates were a three-way contest between the LNP, Labor and One Nation.

"At the risk of sounding cliched it's mostly down to One Nation, even though that is the answer to so much in this election," he said.

"The visits into Brisbane have been very much flying visits, almost an afterthought. The main game is outside the southeast."

Mr Nicholls began the week in Bundaberg, then flew to Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.

Ms Palaszczuk started in Cairns before heading to Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.

At the same time, senior ministers Cameron Dick, Yvette D'Ath and Mark Ryan drove Labor's "Cuts Express" bus from Brisbane to north Queensland.

Wherever she went, Ms Palaszczuk urged local people to vote, telling them regional seats could decide the election.

The Premier hinted at her focus in the campaign's first week when she said, "If you don't understand regional Queensland, you don't understand Queensland."

In Toowoomba North on Wednesday she said the seat could decide whether Labor was able to form a majority government.

Mr Nicholls has also thrown his energies into securing regional votes in the final days of the campaign, joined by deputy leader Deb Frecklington for part of the trip.

"The regions are in the LNP's DNA," he said.

"We represent the best of both worlds - the city and the country."

Although some high-profile Brisbane seats could change hands at the election, the leaders have for the most part avoided them.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has been left to campaign in South Brisbane without the Premier's support and Mr Nicholls has not visited Mansfield to help shadow attorney general Ian Walker.

Dr Salisbury said Mr Nicholls had to battle the perception he was a "Brisbane boy" who was not well known or liked outside the southeast.

He said Ms Palaszczuk faced a different challenge of having to juggle "Green-friendly" policies in Brisbane, but support mining and industry in the regions.

- NewsRegional

News Corp Australia


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