SHOALWATER: Expert says Landry should have lost Capricornia

VOTE WINNER: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry going over the Shoalwater Bay expansion.
VOTE WINNER: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry going over the Shoalwater Bay expansion. Contributed

AN EXPERT on voting behaviour says the Liberal National Party would not have won the seat of Capricornia in 2016 if compulsory land acquisitions at Shoalwater Bay were made public before the election.

His comments come after Defence Minister Marise Payne admitted during Question Time in the Senate yesterday that she had been briefed by the Defence Department in June.

She said the briefing included the potential for compulsory land acquisitions.

Queensland University of Technology's Professor Clive Bean, who is an expert in voting behaviour and elections, told The Morning Bulletin that because the seat was one of the most marginal in the country and historically, with no LNP member able to retain the seat for more than one term, the seat should have gone to the Australian Labor Party.

Professor Clive Bean, from the Queensland University of Technology.
Professor Clive Bean, from the Queensland University of Technology. Photo contributed ROK230316bean1

He said another factor was the 0.8% margin in the lead up to the election on July 2.

"They (LNP) managed to hold the line,” Mr Bean said.

He said generally local issues don't play a huge role in voting behaviours, but something as big as the $2.25 billion deal with Singapore to expand Queensland military training bases at Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area and Townsville Field Training Area was expected to give a huge economic boost to the region and would have made a lot of difference to people's voting behaviours.

"That's probably what saved them,” Mr Bean said.

"To then find out there was another twist to it (the compulsory land acquisitions)... they most certainly would not have been able to hold the line.”

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry won the 2016 election by 1,111 votes with a 0.14 swing in favour of the ALP candidate Leisa Neaton.

However, Ms Landry countered the political experts' comments.

"No-one could know what the people voted for,” she told The Morning Bulletin yesterday.

"No one knows if the average person took notice of the Singapore deal.”

Ms Landry said the 2016 election came down to the 'fact ALP was not interested in infrastructure projects'.

She highlighted the Rookwood Weir and the Rockhampton Hospital carpark commitments by the Coalition Government as key elements to her success at the polls against Ms Neaton.

"They've taken it for granted for far too long that this is a safe Labor seat,” Ms Landry said.

"Capricornia has always been tight. It was tight in 2013. It was tight in 2016. I have made it a very tight seat.

"I will continue to work hard for my electorate.”

Ms Landry reiterated that she did not know about the land acquisitions until "probably November when people started ringing my office”.

Her comment came after ALP Senator Murray Watt and Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon yesterday called for Ms Landry to publicly comment on when she first knew about the land acquisitions

Topics:  capricornia federal election 2016 leisa neaton michelle landry mp shoalwater bay expansion shoalwater bay military training area

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