Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

State's 'Must-Watch' Electorates; Battle Heating Up as Liberals' Grip on Strongholds Weakens

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

State's 'Must-Watch' Electorates; Battle Heating Up as Liberals' Grip on Strongholds Weakens

Article excerpt

Byline: Claire Bickers

QUEENSLAND will be ground zero for seven of the nation's "must watch" battles of the 2019 federal election.

Political experts have given News Corp their predictions for 35 of the "must watch" battles of the election, including some of the country's most marginal seats, the dirtiest fights and the heavyweights who might fall.

It shows traditional Liberal strongholds like Sturt in South Australia and Deakin and Higgins in Victoria could be up for grabs.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce are expected to hold on to their seats despite massive swings against them.

But other party heavyweights, including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Attorney-General Christian Porter, could be wiped out.

It will mean the Coalition could spend months or even years rebuilding if the election goes as forecast.

Queensland's most critical seat will be Dickson in Brisbane's northwest, where MrDutton is widely tipped to lose his seat after 17 years in politics.

However, political commentators believe maverick MP George Christensen could buck the national trend to hold on in Dawson, despite having a margin of just 3.4per cent.

Junior minister Michelle Landry could also defy expectations to reclaim Capricornia against Labor's Russell Robertson, despite having a wafer-thin margin of 0.6per cent.

But after almost two decades in politics and rising to become one of Australia's most powerful men, Mr Dutton is "highly unlikely" to hold on.

A redistribution in his outer metro seat boosted his margin from 1.7per cent to 2per cent but Griffith University political expert Paul Williams said it was "still too thin for Dutton, who has his strong supporters and strong detractors".

The LNP veteran - who was almost ousted in 2016 but clung on by just 2911 votes - will be open to negative campaigns from Labor, The Greens and GetUp! over his role in the leadership spill to dump Malcolm Turnbull, the so-called au pairs scandal and his tough stance on asylum seekers. …

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