Capricornia's preference puzzle and a new betting favourite
WHAT a difference a month and a half can make in politics.
After trailing in support from the bookies, incumbent Capricornia MP Michelle Landry's campaign has hit its stride with the perennial underdog taking in enough money to be installed by Labrokes as the favourite to take Capricornia in the May 18 federal election.
In early March, Labor's candidate Russell Robertson was a raging online betting favourite to win Capricornia, paying $1.20 and Ms Landry $4.
A fortnight ago, the gap had narrowed, with Mr Robertson at $1.38 and Ms Landry $2.60.
Today, Ms Landry leads the pack with Ladbrokes quoting odds of $1.83, ahead of Labor at $1.91.
Her betting odds have mirrored the Coalition's improving fortunes in the polls since it delivered what was widely regarded as a favourable Federal Budget in early April.
Other factors which could have improved the LNP's standing in Capricornia include getting traction in the battle over Adani and coal mining and voters fleeing One Nation following its "guns for funds” scandal.
Ms Landry said she was not reading too much into becoming the bookies' favourite.
"Central Queenslanders know what they want and aren't afraid to say so at the ballot box,” she said.
"People like to say the bookies never get it wrong but look at Prince of Penzance when it won the Melbourne Cup, it was 100/1.
"The only indicator I rely on is the voices of my constituents and the only poll that matters is coming up on May 18.”
Pleased to have drawn a higher place on the ballot paper (5th) than she had previous elections, Ms Landry gave a clue about her preferences.
"I disagree with what Fraser Anning stands for and his candidate will be placed last on my how-to-vote cards,” she said.
"I will not be commenting further on preferences as you'll only have to wait until Monday to see everyone's how-to-vote cards.
"At the end of the day it is the voter, not the candidate, that determines where preferences flow.”
In the past, Ms Landry said Labor and the Greens would make up the bottom two places on her how-to-vote card, followed by Clive Palmer's United Australia Party candidate Lindsay Sturgeon.
Scott Morrison has announced a preference deal to put UAP second, but it remains to be seen if Ms Landry will follow, especially given her refusal to follow the Liberal Party's decree to put One Nation below Labor.
Mr Robertson spoke of his position on the ballot paper (6th), his shifting fortunes with the bookies and his preferencing. "I'm not concerned about my position on the ballot, my main concern is fighting to secure stable jobs for locals which I have been fighting for all my life,” he said.
"Preferences are a matter for the party but with regards to betting markets, if that's what I was interested in, I'd be reading the form guide at Callaghan Park but I'm not.”
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said her party would look at preferencing the Katter party, the independent, and the minor parties before the major political parties with The Greens "a definite last” on One Nation how to vote tickets.
ONP candidate Wade Rothery said he would recommendvoters preference other minor parties and independents who had strongly supported coal mining in the Galilee Basin before the majors.
"The Greens will be dead last and Labor will join them down low on our how-to-vote cards because Bill Shorten refuses to commit to coal mining in the Galilee Basin, and Labor have decided to preference the Greens ahead of One Nation,” Mr Rothery said.
Katter's Australia candidate George Birkbeck said his party was happy with position two on the ballot but was concerned with the Greens candidate in first position having an inflated result from donkey votes.
"We've needed to consider the late entry of the DLP, FANCP and the independent before we finalise our how-to- vote order,” Mr Birkbeck said.
"We've got a meeting with HO at lunchtime today. We can say that our policy from the start of the campaign has been to put the big-city parties last, with the Greens dead last. This won't be changing.”
United Australia Party candidate Lindsay Sturgeon said ballot position was not an issue.
"We are confident and ready to face the campaign challenge in front of us and polling is very positive,” Mr Sturgeon said.
"The fact there is nine candidates running in the race sends a very clear message that the people are over the current lot of politicians and it is time to drain the swamp.
"Preference deals are negotiated by the executive committee and will be released shortly.”