A new book analysing the 2019 election suggests that the seat of Kennedy is the only possible expansion left for the Nationals across Australia.
The seat has been held firmly by Bob Katter for 27 years but the new book called Morrison's Miracle: The 2019 Federal Election suggests it might eventually fall to the Nationals (badged as the LNP in Queensland).
The Australian National University published book edited by academics Anika Gauja, Marian Sawer and Marian Simms is a forensic look at how Scott Morrison unexpectedly won the election but also examines where things may change in future, including the vast seat of Kennedy.
The book said that in the election Bob Katter was re-elected for a 10th term with a 2.3 per cent,swing, increasing both his primary and his Two Party Preferred votes.
"So regaining this seat for the Nationals looks set to hinge on the health and inclinations of the sitting member and perhaps the intentions of his son, Robbie Katter, who is a member of the Queensland Parliament," the book said.
The book also questioned what was the long-term future for the KAP party, now led by Robbie Katter.
"While (Bob) Katter remains very popular in his stronghold of Kennedy, his party has made little headway at the federal level beyond this seat," the book said.
"Katter, who has held the seat for 26 years, is 74 years old and the question must be asked, how much longer can he continue?"
More broadly the book questioned the narrative that the Adani issue cost Labor in Queensland.
"Despite the Adani coalmine anecdotally playing a pivotal role in Labor's defeat in regional Queensland, voter salience regarding this thorny issue did not initially appear high," it said.
"Opinion polls during the 2017 State campaign indicated, for example, that just 17 per cent of voters rated the issue as important and when voters did show interest, public opinion appeared to be turning against the mine."
The book said Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk enjoyed a mid-campaign fillip when she pledged to veto any federal public money being allocated to Adani for infrastructure.
"The Adani issue appeared to be totemic: while only a minority of Queenslanders were passionate about the Adani project specifically - which was not unexpected given publicised threats to groundwater, the Great Barrier Reef and the blackthroated finch - regional voters saw the project as a lifeline to community revival."
The book noted Queenslanders rated material economic interests more highly than the environment which was the reverse of the Australian average.
"The Coalition parties can win elections despite some degree of disunity, adverse perceptions of leadership, no great policy reforms and a thin policy agenda," the book said.
"Fearmongering about Labor and 'progressive' politics can work and may work especially well in regional areas."
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