BACK AGAIN: While he may not have won the Nanango electorate, Labor candidate Mark Stapleton is seeing his results as “a victory of sorts” and plans to run again.Photo: Facebook/Mark Stapleton.
BACK AGAIN: While he may not have won the Nanango electorate, Labor candidate Mark Stapleton is seeing his results as “a victory of sorts” and plans to run again.Photo: Facebook/Mark Stapleton.

Labor’s Mark Stapleton spruiks big swing, will run again

WHILE he may have lost his chance to become the region’s new member, Nanango Labor candidate Mark Stapleton is looking at the positives – and says he’ll run again in 2024.

“I’ll probably run again in four years’ time,” the Wondai emergency nurse said.

Labor has boosted its vote from 2017 – with first preference votes up to 27.62 per cent from just 19.27 three years ago.

While the obvious reason for this boost is the collapse of One Nation – a trend that has occurred across the state, but dramatically so in the Nanango electorate.

One Nation candidate Tony Scrimshaw captured just 14.52 per cent of primary votes, a huge collapse from the party’s 27.44 per cent result in 2017.

But Mr Stapleton said the results could be more complicated, suggesting his boost in primary votes could have come from LNP voters switching sides, with the One Nation vote then being split between Labor and Deb Frecklington.

“I’ve been campaigning for weeks and months … I couldn‘t count the number of people who said to me ‘I’ve never voted Labor in my life, but I’m going to vote for you’,” he said.

“I think maybe a lot of one nation voters voted LNP and that’s why the LNP vote didn‘t suffer.”

The improved performance for Labor was made even sweeter after the dismal performance for the federal division in last year’s deferral election.

“It is a good feeling particularly since the federal election last year, where we just all felt sick,” he said.

“We always expected to do better after the last state election, but the federal election just knocked us for six confidence wise.”

But despite the significant boost in the primary vote, Mr Stapleton said he was “disappointed” he didn’t claim victory, pointing to his hopes of jump starting a number of projects in the region if he were elected.

“I always knew that it was going to be an uphill battle,” he said.

“In the end … for Annastacia (Palaszczuk) to be returned – not only returned but with an increased majority – and for myself to get a big swing, that’s a victory of sorts.”

South Burnett

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