OPINION: Five more Dicks and ALP could have won outright

Milton Dick’s targeted grassroots campaign paid dividends in Oxley.
Milton Dick’s targeted grassroots campaign paid dividends in Oxley. Contributed

IF THE Labor Party had another handful of candidates of the quality of new Oxley MP Milton Dick it may well of won government in its own right in Saturday's election.

Mr Dick ran a comprehensive grass roots campaign with a focus on health, education, jobs, the NBN and key infrastructure. His 'save Medicare' message resonated strongly in his electorate.

Mr Dick stayed on message and drove home his point.

Contrast that to the performance of failed Labor candidate Pat O'Neill in the seat of Brisbane, who was more concerned with issues that interest the Greens, and on which Labor would get electors' votes anyway after preference allocations.

Brisbane's Greens candidate Kirsten Lovejoy won almost 20% of the vote but Mr O'Neill was not able to capitalise on the preferences that went his way because he was not able to get across a narrative on the key issues in this election to swinging voters.

The lesson is that the choice of a quality candidate at pre-selection can make or break elections.

Mr Dick's two-party preferred vote in Inala and Durack booths was over 70%, a double-digit swing to him.

Mr Dick's election night party was attended by many residents from the various cultural backgrounds in his seat, once again highlighting that he got through to a wide cross-section of his community on the key issues. The lesson here is that the quality of a candidate at a grass roots level makes a difference.

The art of winning seats and increasing margins revolves around winning over voters whose reflex would not be to vote for you and in areas that aren't your heartland.

Mr Dick, who garnered almost 60% of the two-party preferred vote with a 5.7% swing to the ALP, shored up and improved his vote in his Brisbane-based heartland of Inala and Durack, but also had swings to him in places such as Springfield and Springfield Lakes and at the periphery of his electorate in Ipswich in booths such as Redbank Plains East.

That didn't just happen by chance. The dissatisfaction with the LNP's NBN rollout and Mr Dick's campaigning on Labor's version in the Springfield area would have no doubt played a role.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann did a similar thing in his own electorate by increasing his margins in Labor heartland and gaining ground in key booths in the Somerset region where the conservative vote is stronger.

The LNP's primary vote in Blair went backwards 5.66% and Pauline Hanson's One Nation candidate Troy Aggett captured it, along with the conservative former protest vote that went the way of the Palmer United Party in 2013.

Greens candidate Pat Walsh ran a strong campaign and increased his party's vote by over 2% while Mr Neumann had an over 1% swing to him.

The conservative right in Blair was fractured by Ms Hanson and the middle of the road voters went towards the Greens and ALP.

If Ms Hanson impresses in the Senate this could be a worrying trend for the LNP in similar seats in future.

Topics:  editors picks federal election 2016 milton dick opinion oxley

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