ELECTION: Bookies' favourites for the seat of Hinkler
HINKLER MP Keith Pitt says voters need reassurance the National Party is fighting for them.
In the wake of the party's poor showing at the weekend's New South Wales election, calls are emerging from within Nationals ranks for the party to run its own race at the upcoming federal election.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the loss of seats held by the Nationals to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party should act as a wake-up call.
The Australian yesterday reported Mr Pitt said country voters needed reassurance that the party was "fighting for them" on the issues they cared about.
"Cost of living is all about cost of electricity and making sure it's affordable," said Mr Pitt, who has threatened a showdown when parliament returns over the need to underwrite coal-fired power.
Yesterday he expanded on his comments to the NewsMail.
"I've been a broken record about the cost of electricity which the Queensland State Labor Government is entirely responsible for," he said.
"I have fought to secure the first regional deal for the electorate, I fought to implement the Cashless Debit Card which is a difficult but necessary policy, and I have fought to secure funding to fast track projects which will result in more local jobs: expansions at Austchilli and Macadamias Australia, a significant redevelopment at Hervey Bay airport and an upgrade to the Royal Flying Doctors base in Bundaberg, just to name a few."
With an election tipped for May 11, the bookies have Mr Pitt as a firm favourite.
Yesterday the bookies had him at $1.44 with Labor's Richard Pascoe at $2.60 and the Greens at $61.
At the last election Mr Pitt was $1.14.
Mr Pascoe said he was unconcerned about being the underdog.
"I am focused solely on talking with community and working with key stakeholders on the matters of importance in the community," he said.
"Issues around jobs, health and education are the key concerns of the community not odds on a sporting website.
"That is why Labor has already announced an additional $20.8 million for our schools in Hinkler in the first three years of a Shorten Labor government.
"We know parents want to give their children the best start in life and this additional funding will help our schools provide greater subject choices and more one on one attention.
Meanwhile in Flynn they're predicting a swing to Labor at $1.33 with the LNP incumbent Ken O'Dowd at $3.25 and the Greens at $17.
In Wide Bay, Llew O'Brien is at $1.25, with a swing to Labor at $4 and the Greens $21.