SPEAKING UP: Mackay Chamber of Commerce president Kylie Porter hopes more attention from national politicians will come from the tighter race in Dawson this election.
SPEAKING UP: Mackay Chamber of Commerce president Kylie Porter hopes more attention from national politicians will come from the tighter race in Dawson this election. Tony Martin

Seat losing safe reputation

A SWING towards the Labor party this election could encourage political leaders to shine a stronger spotlight on the Dawson electorate.

Even though LNP candidate George Christensen won the seat, with 56 of the 61 polling booths returned there was a 4.51% swing against him to Labor party candidate Frank Gilbert in the two-party preferred race.

It was a shift from three years ago, when Mr Christensen saw a 0.49% swing towards him and Labor party candidate Bronwyn Taha had a 10.33% swing against her.

In the eyes of Mackay Chamber of Commerce president Kylie Porter, the region was largely ignored during the federal campaign but the tighter race could spike their interest.

"Cairns and Townsville absolutely receive a whole lot more than our region does in terms of national focus and attention at that very high political level," Ms Porter said.

She pointed out the Dawson electorate had one of the highest levels of job losses but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, whose party built a campaign around job losses, chose not to visit Mackay during the campaign.

"That says to me that we are too safe," she said.

"I think there's some real unfairness there."

But she does believe Mr Christensen's "noisiness" as a politician will serve the region well in fighting for funding and national recognition.

Former Labor party candidate for Dawson Bronwyn Taha agreed the seat was becoming less safe for the LNP.

In this election, she said, the swing away from the LNP locally was likely driven by rising unemployment and concern for the future of Medicare.

But she believes, with voters putting more thought into issues at a local level, the trend will continue.


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