ALP candidates for the Greater Mackay Region Mike Brunker, Bronwyn Taha, Julieanne Gilbert and Jim Pearce were like rock stars at the ALP election launch on Thursday night.
ALP candidates for the Greater Mackay Region Mike Brunker, Bronwyn Taha, Julieanne Gilbert and Jim Pearce were like rock stars at the ALP election launch on Thursday night. Campbell Gellie

Campaign for seat of Mirani heats up

THERE are two ways to deal with tension at the polling stations, according to the Member for Mirani, and former miner, Jim Pearce.

You either punch your opponents in the nose, or overlook it.

While Mr Pearce would choose the latter option to avoid unwanted airtime and said unruly behaviour at polling stations was no new thing.

"It's been happening for years and years and years mate. Every time we have an election, there's always issues around on polling booths. This is not new."

While speaking to reporters on Thursday morning to announce funding for the Palmyra Dragway, he wouldn't comment on the clash between One Nation and unions reported in The Daily Mercury yesterday.

But he mentioned to behaviour he saw while at a Rockhampton polling booth this week.

"I've been to a couple of polling booths in the last few days and the way some people behave, it only needs a little trigger and people get upset," he said.

Later, he told The Daily Mercury, he was referring to "bullying tactics" over his opponent Kerry Latter's signs and their placement in Rockhampton.

"The Liberal National Party is taking up all the space with these massive big signs and have rushed in and put themselves right at the entrance to the polling booth and pushed everybody else aside," he said.

"That's not sharing the area, getting the balance right. It's about 'we're going to run this booth whether you like or not, we're taking control here'."

However, LNP candidate for Mirani Kerry Latter refuted the claims and said all parties at polling stations across the electorate had a fair go.

"I'm quite sure that all parties have pretty good access right across the pre-polls," he said.

Mr Pearce said his party hadn't reacted as they had an "understanding that you don't go bloody looking for trouble".

"That's the sort of people that you've got to deal with. And you can deal with them one way, you can punch them in the nose or you just overlook it, and say, well that's typical, that's the typical behaviour, what we're used to."

Mr Pearce said he is feeling no less confident than he has in the past and continues to take every day as it comes.

"I just got back to my office and the staff asked me how's it going and I said, 'good one day, bad the next' and that's the way it goes."

First-time campaigner, Mr Latter said it would be a tight election and an energetic finish.

"I'm always confident that we can hopefully present the right choices to the electorate and then it's up to the people to make those choices," he said.



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