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Not quite Howard v Latham, but leaders set to 'bump elbows' in Townsville

Decision 2020

Queensland’s major party leaders are set to rub shoulders, or bump elbows at least, in Townsville as the state election campaign continues in the north.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Liberal National Party rival Deb Frecklington are both waking in Townsville, where Labor holds three seats and two by wafer-thin margins.

The premier insists she won’t be fazed if she runs into the opposition leader on the hustings in the garrison city on Friday.

Perhaps the most notorious meeting of leaders on an Australian political campaign trail was Mark Latham’s infamously aggressive handshake with then-PM John Howard during the 2004 election campaign.

“No, not at all, not at all. I might even give her an elbow bump, hey,” Palaszczuk said.

Jokes aside, the election result in Townsville is set to be decisive in the formation of the next government, with Labor holding a two-seat majority in parliament.

Labor are hanging on to the seats of Townsville (0.4 per cent), Mundingburra (1.1 per cent) and Thuringowa (4.1 per cent), with the LNP hoping to pick up all three.

The opposition are running a law and order campaign in the city, promising tougher laws and running former police officer Glenn Doyle as their Mundingburra candidate.

The State Government launched a police crackdown on recidivist offenders in Townsville just two weeks ago and have promised $640 million for 1450 more frontline officers across the state, including a new mobile beat in the city.

Labor’s Mundingburra candidate Les Walker, who hopes to replace retiring Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke, is a former corrections officer and councillor.

Mr Walker said the most effective way to deal with crime in Townsville was investing in police, education, training and housing.

“It’s a holistic approach and if we don’t get that right we fall off the wagon,” he said.

The Katter’s Australian Party’s Alannah Tomlinson, One Nation’s Ian Bowron, Greens’ Jenny Brown and Palmer United Party’s Martin Brewster will also contest Mundingburra.

Labor incumbent Scott Stewart faces a tough battle in the seat Townsville against former LNP member John Hathaway, the KAP’s Josh Schwatz, One Nation’s Troy Thompson and the PUP’s Greg Dowling.

In Thuringowa, Labor’s Aaron Harper will take on LNP candidate and former local councillor Natalie Marr, while the KAP is running anti-crime advocate Julianne Wood and the PUP is fielding unknown Blu Turner.

One Nation’s candidate Troy Thompson was disendorsed earlier this year and the party is yet to replace him.

The contest in the three seats is even more intriguing after the KAP and One Nation struck a preference deal on Wednesday.

Queenslanders go to the polling booths on October 31.


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