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Why Labor should be afraid of the Noosa Line - and the 'tofu curtain'


Former Speaker and leading party elder John Mickel has warned Labor that the Noosa line will play a big part of the upcoming state election.

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Mickel, who is now an QUT Adjunct Associate Professor, said a similar barrier had played a part in the recent Northern Territory elections where Labor performed poorly past the “Berrimah line” which split the territory into the haves and have-nots.

Commentators have also created an inner city Brisbane conceptual barrier for Labor, known as the “tofu curtain” which separates the major party from the Green-tinged seats of South Brisbane – currently held by Jackie Trad – and Maiwar, which is held by the Greens’ Michael Berkman.

Mickel said it could be the Noosa Line for Labor in Queensland and if it loses four seats to the LNP there was no credible pathway to Government.

There is speculation that Labor is in trouble in the three Townsville seats and the LNP has a slight lead in the most recent polls, although Annastacia Palaszczuk retains strong support as preferred premier.

However, Mickel said there were potential extra seats Labor could win from the LNP south of Noosa, such as Pumicestone and Caloundra.

“Labor can also hope for a Beattie-style Gold Coast breakthrough in Currumbin, Burleigh, and Bonney, while the fast-growing seat of Coomera may favour them too,” Mickel said.

He said the minor parties including One Nation, Katter’s Australian Party and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party made predictions difficult.

“In regional Queensland, north of Noosa, Labor’s majority is at risk and it needs to hold all of its current seats or win seats south of Noosa to offset any regional losses.

“In 2017, Thuringowa (Townsville) was almost lost to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and Labor came within a whisker of also losing Townsville to the LNP,” he said.

“Katter’s Australian Party has previously been competitive in Thuringowa which partially overlaps the Federal seat of Kennedy, home to Bob Katter senior. KAP are also favourites to retain their existing seats of Traegar, Hill and Hinchinbrook but will also give Labor a run for its money in Cook.

“Any Government party needs to actively defend the traditionally change of Government Cairns-based seat of Barron River and the change of Government Townsville-based seat of Mundingburra – losses in both would spell danger for a Labor majority.

“In addition to these seats, the LNP would like to recapture Whitsunday from former LNP member Jason Costigan and overwhelm One Nation in Mirani. With a north Queensland macro swing, they could achieve these objectives.

“Last year’s Federal election highlighted the massive desertion Labor faced when its former voters turned to One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party and gave the LNP their second preferences to decisively win regional seats.

“However, Labor has its work cut out to defend its southeast marginal seats of Aspley, Pine Rivers, Redlands, Springwood and Mansfield.”

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