Prime Minister Scott Morrison is sending voters to the polls on May 18.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is sending voters to the polls on May 18.

Why Flynn is an important seat to win this election

THE seat of Flynn is set to become a federal election battleground during the next 36 days.

As one of the most marginal seats held by the Liberal National Party in Queensland - with a 1.04 per cent margin - a political expert says Gladstone will be "bombarded" with politicians during the next month.

Four candidates so far are vying for the seat: incumbent member for the LNP Ken O'Dowd, Labor's Zac Beers, One Nation's Sharon Lohse and Palmer United Party's Jacob Rush.

With voters set to go to the polls on May 18, Queensland University of Technology's Dr Mary Crawford said Gladstone would be among the main regional cities on the LNP and Labor's election trail.

The LNP holds eight marginal seats in Queensland, with Flynn on one of the slimmest margins.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack visited with Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett and member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd to tlak about upgrades to Gladstone's Port Access Road 10 April 2019.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack visited with Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett and member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd to tlak about upgrades to Gladstone's Port Access Road 10 April 2019. Matt Taylor GLA100419PORT

During the past two days the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have visited Gladstone.

"I think Gladstone will be bombarded ... being in a marginal seat it's going to be on the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader's election trail," Dr Crawford said.

"I'd be hopeful it's honest.

"We don't want it to descend into ugliness."

Dr Crawford, a former federal MP for Forde and now researcher with QUT's Faculty of Business, said Adani, Medicare, healthcare and climate change would be hot topics.

She warned voters to consider more than Adani when thinking about long-term job opportunities.

Dr Crawford said residents should ask candidates: "What will you do to bring jobs to the region, with or without Adani?"

On Tuesday Federal Government Environment Minister Melissa Price approved the mine's groundwater management plan.

To go ahead the Indian mining giant needs approval for two management plans from the Queensland Government.

"We are experiencing change in employment ... and particularly in Flynn this won't be solved with a simple solution," Dr Crawford said.

"We can't look at simple solutions, it needs to be long term."

During the 2016 election Gladstone voters rallied against the two major parties, stripping them of almost 10 per cent of their usual votes and giving them to Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

One in six Flynn voters marked a one next to the One Nation Party, giving its candidate almost 14,500 first-preference votes.

Dr Crawford said it was unclear if voters would again give the same support to One Nation.

"Research would suggest when parties are in turmoil and facing difficulties that people are less likely to vote for them," she said.

"But I don't think anyone really knows the impact of some of the turmoil that's been felt by One Nation recently."

Ladbrokes and Sportsbet have placed Labor as the favourite to win the seat of Flynn - with Ladbrokes's odds at $1.33 and Sportsbet's $1.28.

Candidates have until April 21 to nominate.

Tegan Annett



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