Leaders’ last-minute dash through swing seats
Labor and the LNP have been forced to fight off a fresh insurgency in emerging battleground seats as the race for Queensland intensifies in the dying days of the campaign.
Insiders from both camps have outlined a growing list of seats they fear they could lose, and seats they increasingly believe they are poised to snatch from their political enemies.
But several wildcards are also emerging, in which seasoned party hacks warn upsets are possible.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will take on challenger Deb Frecklington in today's final leaders' debate at the Queensland Media Club, in what will be their last big pitch to voters before Saturday.
The Premier spent yesterday on a last-minute dash across the Gold Coast and north to the Sunshine Coast, where the Government hopes it can pick up seats to plug feared losses in the regions.
She took a morning walk, spruiked commitments and met voters on a shopping centre tour in Coomera, Gaven, Burleigh and Currumbin.
Taking a detour through Labor's marginal Brisbane seat of Mansfield - where both sides have poured resources in the past week - she finished her day on the Sunshine Coast, in Caloundra.
With Liberal National MP Mark McArdle retiring and a population boom - with thousands of new homes being built and young families moving into the area - Labor believes it has its best chance of taking a bite out of the LNP stronghold.
In Currumbin, Labor's Kaylee Campradt lost a close race against the LNP's Laura Gerber in a March by-election, sparked when the LNP's Jann Stuckey retired.
But a wide field of candidates, including cashed-up Clive Palmer's wife Anna and Ms Stuckey's husband, who is urging voters to preference Labor above his wife's former party, has shaken up the race and put the LNP on edge.
Meanwhile, Ms Frecklington was in Brisbane visiting the marginal Labor holds of Mansfield and Aspley as well as McConnel, where the LNP, Labor and the Greens are fighting a three-cornered race.
While Labor has long been worried about the Greens' onslaught in South Brisbane, it has been increasingly concerned about McConnel, where seasoned Greens candidate Kirsten Lovejoy is chasing an increased vote.
Preference flows that are hard to anticipate will then decide the victor.
However Townsville remains ground zero for both parties and has by far seen the most visits from both leader throughout the campaign.
Although Labor strategists initially worried Thuringowa and Mundingburra were most at risk, a turning tide now has them most concerned about Townsville - the party's most marginal seat, held on 0.38 per cent.
But the LNP say they are relentlessly targeting all three Townsville-based seats and Labor insiders have admitted Ms Frecklington's anti-crime plan to introduce a youth curfew has been popular there.
The LNP has a left-field fight on its hands in Oodgeroo - held by the LNP's Mark Robinson by what should be a comfortable 7.24 per cent.
He is being challenged by independent Claire Richardson, who polled well in Oodgeroo booths during her unsuccessful Redlands mayoral tilt earlier this year. She is opposing the $1.3 billion Toondah Harbour development, which includes 3600 units in the protected waters of Moreton Bay, and will be boosted by preferences from other candidates.
Meanwhile, Noosa independent Sandy Bolton is fighting a nasty campaign in the previously LNP-held electorate in which she's been slammed as an ALP stooge and has been falsely accused of opposing a Public Sex Offenders Register.
Labor currently has a slim two seat majority - 48 of Queensland's 93 seats - with the LNP holding 38 seats.
The Opposition needs to gain an extra nine seats to form a majority government. Labor would need support from independents and the Greens should it lose two seats.
Katter's Australian Party would need to lend its support to the LNP should the party fall short of the 47 seats it needs to form a majority.
KAP state leader Robbie Katter has said he remains unimpressed with both major parties and their vision for regional Queensland and is still undecided about who he may support if the role of queenmaker falls to him.
Originally published as Leaders' last-minute dash through swing seats