Voters have had their say - and now we wait to see who will represent the Lockyer.
Voters have had their say - and now we wait to see who will represent the Lockyer.

LNP WIN: Jim McDonald to enter state parliament

CALLED SEATS: 

MONDAY, NOON:  As officials continue with the vote count,  LNP man Jim McDonald remains the most likely candidate to emerge on top but One Nation's Jim Savage believes he could still be in with a fighting chance. 

"Nothing is going to happen today, we've still got another 10 days for the postal votes to drift in and be counted but we've seen a hell of a swing around and we're not declaring defeat at this stage," he said. 

"We'll definitely be keeping a very close eye on the preferences and making sure everything's above board until the end." 

Mr Savage also hinted there may be a recount on the horizon, with only a few hundred votes separating two rival Jims. 

Though One Nation is unlikely to hold the balance of power in parliament, their Lockyer candidate said he would act like a "bulldog with a bone" in the state's capital to deliver his promises. 

"If I do get in, we won't have the balance of power and therefore my effectiveness is reduced, but the difference between McDonald and myself is the strength of personality and I've got that," he said. 

Mr Savage again thanked everyone involved in his campaign, including the large percentage of Lockyer voters who placed him first on their ballots. 

"I've had more support here than anywhere else I've run and I'm truly thankful for that," he said. 

"To all of my volunteers, there's too many to thank, but I've had a tremendous amount of support from them and it's been very humbling and very flattering." 

Current figures have Jim McDonald leading with 9152 votes or 36.12 per cent of the primary vote and Jim Savage with 8732 votes or 34.47 per cent, with almost 80 per cent of the roll accounted for. 

10PM: Former premiers Campbell Newman and Peter Beattie have called the election for Labor, and all three of the Star's electorates appear to have a clear victor. 

As we mentioned earlier, the LNP's Jim McDonald looks to inch ahead by preferences in Lockyer and has begun celebrations while One Nation man Jim Savage has conceded his defeat. 

Deb Frecklington will once again represent the LNP in Nanango and Labor's Jim Madden will return as MP to Ipswich West. 

Further counting will be done on Monday. 

That's all for us at the Star, thanks for following our coverage and we'll be back on Monday with the final scorecard. 

9.35PM: The mood and spirits are high for the Lockyer LNP supporters who have filled the Porters Plainland Hotel.

LNP supporters anxiously await the results at Porter's Plainland Hotel. PHOTO: Francis Witsenhuysen.
LNP supporters anxiously await the results at Porter's Plainland Hotel. PHOTO: Francis Witsenhuysen.

The LNP booth results are written on a white board at a current 9724 to One Nation's 8460, showing a clear indication that Lockyer LNP Candidate Jim McDonald is leading for the seat of Lockyer.

"I'm feeling good, it's been a lot of hard work, but there's a lot more hard work to do," Mr McDonald said.

"Thanks to all my loyal supporters."

Current Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss was in the crowd to declare his long-standing support for Mr McDonald.

"It's good to see Jim up... it's a very good feeling," he said

"And although I'm retiring, Jim will do a fine job in my place. I've had a good run."

Retiring member Ian Rickuss congratulates Jim McDonald on his victory at Porter's Plainland Hotel.  PHOTO: Francis Witsenhuysen.
Retiring member Ian Rickuss congratulates Jim McDonald on his victory at Porter's Plainland Hotel. PHOTO: Francis Witsenhuysen.

9PM: One Nation supporters blinked back tears as Jim Savage announced he was unlikely to be victorious in Lockyer. 

Though the official count has the LNP and One Nation as neck-and-neck, Mr Savage said the preference flow system would see his rival Jim McDonald inch in front. 

Sombre and deeply disappointed, Mr Savage thanked his crowd of volunteers before heading over to the Royal Hotel, and celebrated the sheer number of votes he attracted. 

"I'm still feeling good, despite the fact that I'm going to get rolled by the preferences," he said. 

"For a newcomer, as I've been called, I'm pleased to have so many Lockyer Valley residents who voted for me." 

Jim Savage and his supporters conceded defeat around 9pm on Saturday evening.
Jim Savage and his supporters conceded defeat around 9pm on Saturday evening.

However, Mr Savage was less optimistic about whether his former rival would pay attention to the swell of support his party drew. 

"Quite frankly, I think it will be business as usual, and I don't expect the promises made in the Lockyer to be kept," he said. 

"But I'd like to be proven wrong." 

His wife Jackie said although the result was disappointing, life would go on. 

"That's the game of politics," she said. 

"Win or lose, we're proud of Jim." 

Meanwhile, steadfast support Chelle Boekel said she was "gutted". 

"We've done everything possible," she said. 

"I quit my busiess to back him 15 months ago. 

"We've just worked so hard and had such an amazing response from the community. 

"I don't know now. I just don't know." 

8.30PM: Most indications have Labor scraping ahead into a majority, though it's still early in the count. 

44 seats have been called for the incumbent government so far with the LNP having taken 37, both still short of the 47 seats required to win government. 

None have yet been called for Pauline Hanson's One Nation party and three seats have fallen to candidates of other parties. 

8PM: It's an anxious wait at the Royal Hotel, where two of Jim Savage's party supporters have staked out a table to watch the results roll in. 

Michael Deans said he believed Mr Savage had an "extremely good chance" of taking the seat and added the man himself would join them shortly. 

 

One Nation supporter Michael Deans is holding on hope at Gatton's Royal Hotel.
One Nation supporter Michael Deans is holding on hope at Gatton's Royal Hotel.

Both the LNP and One Nation candidates' votes have hovered around the 35 per cent mark for the past hour, as Labor's Nicole Lincoln gains on them with 24.62 per cent. 

The LNP's Deb Frecklington still holds the lead in Nanango with 47.09 per cent and Labor's Jim Madden staying in front with 47.68 per cent in Ipswich West. 

7PM: Early vote counts are putting Jim McDonald almost dead even with his rival Jim Savage, with each so far bringing in around 35 per cent of the vote.

Of course, this will change as preference flows are taken into consideration, but all numbers point to an extremely tense night for both contenders. 

Meanwhile, Nanango LNP incumbent Deb Frecklington has taken a strong lead with 46 per cent of the vote, followed by One Nation man Douglas Grant with 29 per cent of the vote. Labor's Ben Rankin has attracted 21 per cent and The Greens candidate John Harbison has taken almost 6 per cent. 

Ipswich West is also looking comfortable for its incumber member Jim Madden, who leads with 46 per cent of the vote. His closest rival is also from a One Nation candidate, Brad Trussell, on 30 per cent. The LNP's Anna O'Neill has 16 per cent and The Greens' Keith Muller 8 per cent. 

6PM: Polls are now closed and the first exit poll, taken by Nine/Galaxy, has Labor coming out on top with 52 to the LNP's 48 per cent of the vote. 

Earlier today, One Nation volunteer Michael Deans made an interesting observation while handing out how-to-vote cards down at Faith Lutheran College, Plainland polling booth.

"Out of everyone so far, more than 50 per cent of people weren't wanting any parties how-to-vote cards," he said.

"The people I spoke to said they'd already made their minds up before coming down. It's great to see people have done their research."

One Nation volunteer Michael Deans was happy a lot of voters had seemed to had made up their minds before coming down to Faith Lutheran College polling booths today.  PHOTO: Francis Witsenhuysen.
One Nation volunteer Michael Deans was happy a lot of voters had seemed to had made up their minds before coming down to Faith Lutheran College polling booths today. PHOTO: Francis Witsenhuysen. Francis Witsenhuysen

4PM: Volunteers at the Forest Hill State School said they've been taken aback by a handful of heated outbursts by voters heading into the booth. 

One man reportedly took issue with the presence of One Nation merchandise while another abused the volunteers because he wanted to "vote for Jesus". 

Labor supporter Nathan Barton, One Nation man Ian Swney and LNP volunteer Trisha Evans said the verbal attacks weren't common, but disturbed them all the same. 

"It's funny, because we're having a great time, we're getting along and having some banter," Mr Swney said. 

Campaigners have a laugh together at Forest Hill State School, after a fiery afternoon.
Campaigners have a laugh together at Forest Hill State School, after a fiery afternoon. Melanie Keyte

Otherwise, it was a quiet afternoon for those handing out the how-to-vote cards. 

"I'd say about 90 per cent of people have got their minds made up and they just go in without any of our cards," said Mr Swney. 

Like in Gatton, it was speculated that voters had already cast their votes before the weekend, but turnout numbers were reported to be higher in Laidley. 

One Nation is expected to poll well in Laidley, but small business owner Michelle Rugg said it was becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate the parties and their candidates.

"I usually vote based off the candidate but this election is different because I don't really know any of them," she said.

"I have seen Jim McDonald out once or twice, but I don't even know what the others look like.

"If only they could get back to the basics and talk to the people and listen to what they want."

3PM: Despite her eldest daughter suffering an epileptic seizure this morning, Labor candidate Nicole Lincoln was rallying hard at Faith Lutheran College this afternoon.

"Tahlia didn't want to tell me about her seizure because she didn't want me to worry," Ms Lincoln said   

"But she's still down here helping me campaign today with my other daughters.  

"She's a trooper."  

TEAM LINCOLN: Emily Smith, Paul Fuimaona, Tahlia Lincoln, Labor candidate Nicole Lincoln and Harriette Lincoln at Faith Plainland College.
TEAM LINCOLN: Emily Smith, Paul Fuimaona, Tahlia Lincoln, Labor candidate Nicole Lincoln and Harriette Lincoln at Faith Plainland College. Francis Witsenhuysen

Campaigning in Gatton has been tough for Ms Lincoln and was admittedly hard to crack.  

"In the first week Gatton was hard, and then it started to turn around, "she said.  

"Lowood is great because it's very pro-Labor … Jim McDonald is finishing up his campaign in Lowood because of that reason.  

"While the speculation is that people are more pro LNP and One Nation, a lot more people are coming in and saying they are voting Labor, which is a great change"  

Ms Lincoln will be ready to celebrate at her campaign manager's house in Fernvale this evening once the votes are counted.  

Casting his vote at Lowood State High School, LNP Candidate Jim McDonald said he hoped to be celebrating a victory tonight.  

"We are at the eleventh hour and we are not stopping until it's over," he said.  

"Polls show eight to 20 per cent of people haven't made up their mind before coming to a poll like this so we want to make sure we get a good vote."  

LNP Candidate Jim McDonald casts his vote at Lowood State High School polling booth.
LNP Candidate Jim McDonald casts his vote at Lowood State High School polling booth. Francis Witsenhuysen

Mr McDonald said he was grateful and touched by the level of support of the voters today.  

"It's great to see so many people of the community understand how important it is to make positive change," he said.  

"There are so many exciting things happening in the Lockyer, we can't go backwards. 

"Our party are confident of winning majority government."  

Mr McDonald said the incident involving Jackie Savage earlier in the week was completely fictitious.  

"It was an honest conversation about the Radio National story that Jackie was defending I didn't raise my voice or hand and I was four metres away," he said.  

"She stayed on the booth for another 30 to 40 minutes without tears.   

"She came back after a break and we were all at a meet the candidates night that night and civil.

"Then Jim Savage decides to try and make a smoke screen to cover up his resignation and attempt to run for the mature Australia party in the senate."  

Mr McDonald will be ready to hear the verdict at the Plainland Hotel this evening.  

Also rallying down at Lowood State High School polling booths was Greens candidate Ian Simons, who said he was feeling very confident, and was counting on a protest vote to change things up.  

Greens Candidate Ian Simons at Lowood State High School Polling booths.
Greens Candidate Ian Simons at Lowood State High School Polling booths. Francis Witsenhuysen

"One Nation have the numbers out here, but it will still be down to the wire and preference will be a big deal in this election," he said.  

"It's going to be touch and go with the Liberals and One Nation and they'll be relying on the preferences of the Labor, the Greens and the independent (candidate).  

"Undoubtedly there will be a protest vote so I'm hoping we will reap that."  

Getting up at 4am this morning, Mr Simons admitted he was tired.  

"I've been working hard today and this entire campaign," he said.  

"It's nice when people come out of the booths and pat me on the shoulder so it's a bit of a sign."  

2PM: GATTON'S two polling booths were deserted this afternoon with only a handful of voters turning out to the primary and high school to vote.

Volunteers manning the stations, such as LNP supporter Andrew O'Brien, believed the low turnout was thanks to the town's prominent pre-polling booth.

The Lockyer-born and bred volunteer said he was cautiously optimistic that the early votes would mean good things for the party.

"This is probably the quietest I've ever seen it, and I've been working on the last seven or eight elections," he said.

"This (Lockyer District High School) has historically been one of the largest voting booths in the area."

It's not the only difference he's noticed.

"There's a lot more passion in this election... on all sides."

The volunteers' passions were evident, as they sweltered through the early afternoon to hand out how-to-vote cards.

But there was markedly less on the voters' side.

Sejal and Neha ducked quickly in to cast their votes and said always voted for Labor because of the party's reputation for representing the workers.

Second-time voter Dacoda Kirby said he still hadn't made up his mind when he arrived to cast his vote.

Dacoda Kirby was one of the few souls voting at Lockyer District High School on election day. He hadn't yet made his mind up about how to vote for, but said the inland rail project was a big issue to him.
Dacoda Kirby was one of the few souls voting at Lockyer District High School on election day. He hadn't yet made his mind up about how to vote for, but said the inland rail project was a big issue to him. Melanie Keyte

"We'll see who looks alright once we get in there," he said.

"The (inland) rail is probably the only thing we're thinking about. I'm not sure about the rest."

8AM: VOTING booths across the valley are now open as all eyes look to the Lockyer as one of the key battlegrounds in the state election.

LNP candidate Jim McDonald has been slightly favoured by pollsters but will face rising One Nation support in his rival candidate Jim Savage.

Betting odds are also indicating a tight race between the two, giving Me McDonald odds of $1.60 and Mr Savage $2.20.

Labor candidate Nicole Lincoln, The Greens candidate Ian Simons and independent candidate Tony Parr are not giving up though and plan to rally as many people visiting the ballot boxes today to their causes.

Follow developments through our rolling coverage from 2pm.


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