The surprise Sunshine Coast seat the LNP may lose

MARK McArdle (second left) with fellow LNP Members of Parliament Fiona Simpson (Maroochbydore), Jarrod Bleijie (Kawana), and Glen Elmes (Noosa) at the opening of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital earlier this year.
MARK McArdle (second left) with fellow LNP Members of Parliament Fiona Simpson (Maroochbydore), Jarrod Bleijie (Kawana), and Glen Elmes (Noosa) at the opening of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital earlier this year. Patrick Woods

MARK McArdle faces a real challenge in Caloundra where the erosion of 20 per cent of his margin in 2015 and boundary redistribution have combined to make the once safe seat marginal requiring a nominal 4 per cent swing to unseat him.

Labor challenger Jason Hunt who in 2015 rode hard work campaigning and the state wide backlash against the Newman Government to re-frame the once blue ribbon LNP seat is back in a four-way contest that also includes Rod Jones (PHON) and Marcus Finch for the Greens.

The seat of Caloundra has its north eastern boundary at Dicky Beach following Buderim Avenue, the Nicklin Way and Caloundra Road before taking a northern track to scoop up Glenview before stretching west to Maleny Road and then south embracing Landsborough and Beerwah.

The southern boundary then heads east following Coochin Creek to Pumicestone Passage.

In the process it picks up Bells Creek, Pelican Waters, Golden Beach, Caloundra Moffat Beach, Dicky Beach, Little Mountain and Caloundra West.

Mr McArdle entered parliament in 2004 and is a former Liberal Party leader before amalgamation with the Nationals in 2008 and for a short period, deputy leader of the LNP.

The former solicitor was a member of the Newman Government Cabinet from 2012-2015.

Labor's Jason Hunt is a corrections officer at Woodford Prison who grew up in Caloundra and is married with a young son.

He ran an energetic campaign prior to the 2015 election and has kept going since maintaining the profile that helped generate the 20 per cent swing that has not left the seat vulnerable.

Rod Jones of the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party is a past winner of the Stawell Easter Carnival, Australia's premier professional foot race, is a former carpenter and construction manager and now runs his own retail tourism outlet at Glenview.

Mr Jones has been president of the Glass House Mountains Rotary Club and contested the 2016 Sunshine Coast local government elections securing more than 13 per cent of the Division One vote.

Marcus Finch for The Greens ran in Kawana in 2015 winning 8.69 per cent of the primary vote.

He is a former high school science teacher, graduating after attending Caloundra High and went on to successfully own and operate a number of child care centres with his partner.

Topics:  caloundra greens jason hunt labor lnp marcus finch mark mcardle one nation qldelection2017 rod jones

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