Labor’s Chris Trevor.
Labor’s Chris Trevor.

O'Dowd extends lead to 4185 votes

THE political power battle continued across the nation yesterday, with vote counting continuing, Federal independents in negotiation talks and Labor Queensland Premier Anna Bligh facing caucus for the first time.

Ms Bligh faced a tense caucus meeting yesterday, set to examine the fallout from Labor’s setback in Queensland at the August 21 Federal poll.

Counting continued from the Federal election, with the undeclared seat of Flynn still showing a trend towards Liberal National Party candidate Ken O’Dowd.

Mr O’Dowd was leading the count against Labor’s caretaker Member of Flynn Chris Trevor by 4185 votes yesterday.

AEC spokesman Stuart Fraser said about 1700 postals and 500 pre-poll votes were counted yesterday and it was hoped 1000 absentees, 600 pre-polls and 600 postals would be counted today.

“Tomorrow will be the first count of absentees,” he told The Observer yesterday.

Mr Fraser said there were under 4000 pre-polls, 6000 to 7000 postals and about 6500 absentees all up.

He said, however, there were still the overseas votes to come in, with the pre-poll and postal votes not included in that overall tally.

Mr O’Dowd was in Canberra yesterday for a National Party meeting.

“It’s just a flying visit really to introduce us all and pick a leader,” he said.

Mr O’Dowd said they had nothing to do with the independents’ negotiations. “It’s been decided by the two parties (Liberal and National) that Tony Abbott will address the independents,” he said.

Federal Nationals leader Warren Truss said the Nationals were not involved in direct negotiations with the independents because the coalition was following the example of former Victorian Labor premier Steve Bracks.

Mr Bracks, when brokering a deal for a minority government in that state in 1999, said publicly that only one person should do the negotiations, he said.

Mr Bracks was the sole negotiator when Victorian Labor formed government with the support of regional independents Russell Savage and Craig Ingram.

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