A SURPRISED Paul Hoolihan yesterday vowed to work "even harder" to hold onto his job after the bookies rated him the clear underdog in the battle for Keppel.
The seat's incumbent is seeking a fourth term at the forthcoming state election and holds Keppel with a 7.6% margin.
On Friday, betting agency Sportsbet.com.au released its odds for the March 24 election with Mr Hoolihan the $2.50 second favourite, well behind the LNP's Bruce Young at $1.35.
"If I am the underdog, I will just work harder," Mr Hoolihan said.
"I'm really surprised that was the price they have put up.
"Obviously they have based it on the information they have available to them."
He said he'd worked hard for the community for the last eight years and would continue to do so.
While he doesn't mind the occasional flutter on the horses, Mr Hoolihan questioned why betting agencies were framing markets for politics.
He said there was too much focus on gambling these days.
"Quite seriously, I don't think it's right and should be stopped," he said.
And he said the issues on the minds of Keppel voters had more to do with the future than the past.
Education, health and future living costs were what voters cared about.
De-amalgamation wasn't as big an election issue as some believed.
Meanwhile, Mr Young wasn't placing too much emphasis on what the bookies thought.
"Clearly I am out there and people are telling me it's time for change," Mr Young said.
"Lots of people are unhappy with the Bligh/Beattie governments.
"I am listening to the concerns of residents in Keppel."
The other candidates were at $101.
In Rockhampton, Labor's Bill Byrne was a short-priced favourite at $1.08 to replace the retiring Robert Schwarten with former Mt Morgan mayor Gavin Finch at $3.60 to win the seat for the LNP.
At Mirani, the LNP's Ted Malone was an even hotter favourite at $1.02 with Labor's Jim Pearce at $7.50 and the other candidates at $34.
- Keppel: LNP $1.35, Labor $2.50, others $101
- Rockhampton: Labor $1.08; LNP $3.60, others $51
- Mirani: LNP $1.02, Labor $7.50, others $34
- Queensland: LNP $1.08, Labor $7