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LNP back on the Sunshine Coast to find lost voters

The seat of Caloundra, a former LNP stronghold, not only swung to Labor at the last state election but also had a large number of postal votes declared invalid.

Jan 29, 2021, updated Jan 29, 2021
Queensland Opposition leader David Crisafulli wants MPs to return from holidays early to deal with the state's crime wave. (Photo: ABC)

Queensland Opposition leader David Crisafulli wants MPs to return from holidays early to deal with the state's crime wave. (Photo: ABC)

The retirement of long-time local member Mark McArdle, combined with a large proportion of older voters concerned about COVID-19, contributed to the Liberal National Party losing the seat.

But information tabled in State Parliament shows Caloundra also had the second highest number of invalid postal votes, 1,010, in an election where postal votes often decided the result.

On the primary count, Labor candidate Jason Hunt was only 1172 votes ahead of the LNP candidate, Stuart Coward, but then surged ahead on preferences. Anyone waiting for more votes to come in would have been disappointed, with Caloundra’s overall rate of invalid votes also higher than the state average.

Toowoomba South had the most postal votes rejected by the Electoral Commission of Queensland, with 1075. The seat was retained by the LNP’s David Janetski, who went on to become deputy Opposition leader.

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All members of the LNP parliamentary team have been on the Sunshine Coast this week, trying to regain lost support.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli has used the visit to criticise the Palaszczuk Labor government for not doing enough for the region.

“My team is determined on holding this government to account – we will fight for you,” Crisafulli said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters the LNP had failed the Sunshine Coast in the past whereas Labor would not take the region for granted.

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