Location, location: First moves are all about the where, not the what

Where the political leaders go during an election campaign tells you as much – and sometimes more – than what they’ve got to say.

Oct 07, 2020, updated Oct 07, 2020
Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington. (Photo: ABC)

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington. (Photo: ABC)

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington started this contest in very different places, almost as far apart as they could get.

The Premier headed to Mount Isa, burnishing her regional backing/mining-friendly credentials and making nice with local MP Robbie Katter, who might play a role after the votes are counted.

The LNP leader stayed close to the Brisbane media market, going down towards the Gold Coast, making a high-tech/space industry visit in the state seat of Bonney.

Frecklington’s choice of a defensive move rather than going on the attack by targeting a Labor seat the LNP needs to win spurred conversations on both sides of the political divide.

Bonney sits between the Broadwater and the Pacific Highway on the northern end of the Gold Coast and is regarded as one of the more Labor-leaning electorates in that part of the state.

With a 1.7 per cent margin, it is the fourth seat on the conservative side of the pendulum and is one of five electorates Labor is either targeting or dreaming about on the Gold Coast. The others are Currumbin, Burleigh, Coomera and Theodore – in ascending order of being possible as ALP gains.

Some of these seats – particularly Coomera – have experienced remarkable population growth, led by lower-cost housing. This is feeding those Labor dreams although making anything of this is easier on paper than on the streets.

The vulnerability of LNP seats on the Gold Coast – and polling showing a general two-point uptick in Labor’s vote in this region – makes some sense of Frecklington’s choice of a first stop in campaign 2020.

However, it is certainly eyebrow-raising to see a leader go on the defensive in the first hours after the poll has begun officially.

This election is a big head-to-head contest backed by a series of intriguing subplots up and down the state. Bonney looks like being just another one of those.

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