Pitt ahead as the counting continues
AS THE counting continued last night to determine who will hold the seat of Hinkler, the LNP's Keith Pitt was ahead but with a reduced margin.
With 47 of the 52 booths counted late yesterday, LNP had 58.9% of the votes according to the count after preferences.
Behind him was Labor's Leanne Donaldson on 41.1%.
Mr Pitt had 44.4% of the first-preference count by late yesterday with the last five booths still to be counted. That equated to 31,994 votes.
Ms Donaldson had 27.8% of the count, or 20,048 votes.
Palmer United Party candidate and former State Member for Burnett Rob Messenger had 18.2% of the first-preference count, or 13,114 votes.
Mr Pitt was chosen by the LNP to stand for the seat after long-time incumbent Paul Neville announced he was retiring.
Mr Pitt has made it clear from the start that he is a National first and foremost.
So he sees potential opportunities in the fact that National Warren Truss has again won the seat of Wide Bay, which he has held since 1990, and is set to become Deputy Prime Minister.
Should Mr Pitt be declared winner once the counting has been finalised, he sees that situation as a chance to help the region.
Mr Truss, celebrating in his home town of Maryborough yesterday, promised to put more emphasis on regional Australia.
Mr Pitt said he also wanted to pursue opportunities for regional Australians.
He said that having Mr Truss down the road would be positive for the Bundaberg region.
"We are very fortunate to have the Deputy Prime Minister next door and Mr Truss is well aware of the issues in this area," he said.
It seemed likely last night that the seat of Flynn would stay in LNP hands, with Ken O'Dowd holding 54.6% of the count after preferences, with all 113 booths counted.
Labor was in second position, with 45.4% of the count after preferences.
Liberal National candidate Ken O'Dowd has retained the seat of Flynn with 54.6% of the votes after preferences. The win included an increased swing of 1.1%.