Editorial: Election finally comes down to decision day

Candidates at the debate: Robbie Katter (KAP), Ron Bird (LNP), Craig Scriven (Ind), Sarah Isaacs (Ind), and Danielle Slade (ALP).
Candidates at the debate: Robbie Katter (KAP), Ron Bird (LNP), Craig Scriven (Ind), Sarah Isaacs (Ind), and Danielle Slade (ALP).

The four week election campaign has come to an end and everyone finally goes to the polls on Saturday. 

I say everyone, though some of us who have to work have already voted and when I went into the pre-poll centre in Mount Isa on Thursday they were doing brisk business from people who were passing up the opportunity to partake of the “democracy sausage” on Saturday.

The new seat of Traeger has 25,636 electors scattered across a vast region of north west Queensland with six candidates in order on the ballot: Robbie Katter (KAP), Ron Bird (LNP), Craig Scriven (Ind), Sarah Isaacs (Ind), Danielle Slade (ALP) and Peter Relph (Greens).

When we ran a poll of readers the two biggest issues raised were the cost of transport and the high rate of youth crime, with employment and support for mining also important.

There was broad agreement these were priority areas for action at our Traeger candidate forum on Tuesday.

Former member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter goes into the election as overwhelming favourite to win the seat but the state wide poll is less easy to predict.

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The polls have it neck and neck between Labor and the LNP or else a very narrow lead for Labor (but well with the margin of error).

There are several complicating factors making this election particularly difficult to call. The last two Queensland elections have been hugely volatile with Labor smashed in 2012 only to somehow claw their way back into government in 2015. The number of seats has gone up from 89 to 93 and then there is the matter of a resurgent Pauline Hanson’s One Nation which could play havoc in Labor and LNP territory with some people predicting PHON to do better than they did in their high-water mark of 1998. 

There is also the fact that for first time Queenslands can’t “just vote one” and must rank all candidates in order on the ballot paper for their vote to be valid.

This was a change introduced by Labor that some people think will backfire on them.I will be happy with a minority government of either flavour, but not if they have to rely on the unpredictable votes of One Nation – Derek Barry