Wellington on the home stretch to Nicklin re-election
Nearly at the half-way mark in Nicklin and Peter Wellington has 44.38% of the vote. He looks as though he'll comfortably keep the seat.
With about 20.62% of the vote counted, Independent sitting member Peter Wellington has 43.74% of the vote, with the LNP's Matt Trace sitting on 32.33.
THE LNP is being accused of a dirty tricks campaign in the Sunshine Coast seat of Nicklin with a maroon-coloured sign urging voters to to just vote 1.
But the ALP is also under fire over a confusing sign, urging voters to number every square, which appears to be from the Electoral Commission of Queensland.
The LNP had sought in the Supreme Court to have the signs pulled down but has not been successful.
Meanwhile, LNP supporters are privately fuming after party HQ apparently organised automated phone calls to voters at 7pm on Friday night, annoying local residents no end.
The calls urged people to vote for LNP candidate Matt Truce.
Mr Trace had nothing to do with the calls, campaign workers said.
At Nambour High, Independent candidate Peter Wellington was receiving strong support from voters with volunteers in recycled t-shirts from the last election handing out how to vote cards.
Mr Wellington has run a strong campaign on Facebook urging people to throw the LNP out, targeting Campbell Newman and Attorney General and Justice Minister Jarrod Bleijie over bikie laws.
Mr Wellington has gone into bat for the infamous Yandina 5, who were arrested after having a beer at the Yandina Hotel under Queensland's anti-association laws.
On Facebook, Mr Wellington urged voters to mark every box and put the LNP last.
The ALP and Greens were urging the same.
"LNP signs are going up everywhere saying Just Vote 1 and, I urge you don't do it, mark every box and put the LNP last,'' Mr Wellington said.
"As I have said all the way along, the only way to rid ourselves of this arrogant, vindictive government is to maximise your democratic rights."
"Our campaign to mark every box and put the LNP last is WORKING.
"The LNP is in panic mode and blitzing Queensland with new signs. My signs disappeared days ago and they are swamping my electorate with letters and postcards saying I support criminal gangs.
"Other Independents have told me the same thing is happening to them.
"Deputy Premier Seeney on 4BC yesterday in his frenetic rant against Independent Alex Douglas and me showed we are hitting them where it hurts.
"They are on the ropes and pulling out all stops to save themselves."
"My sincere hope is that the next Parliament will govern for all Queenslanders with dignity humility and compassion."
Campaign volunteer Kevin Roy Bryant, 54, a disability pensioner, of Nambour agreed.
He said people were doing it tough with the government lacking compassion.
Mr Bryant said nurses and health care workers had lost their jobs, single mums were struggling to put food on the table for their kids, and the elderly were having to choose between food and medicine.
POLICE were called to the polling booth at Nambour High School this morning at about 8am because two men were arguing.
According to reports from the scene, two people were engaged in a screaming match and according to Nicklin LNP candidate Matt Trace, who witnessed the incident, it wasn't about politics.
A Peter Wellington campaign worker, who is an ex-police officer, stepped in to separate the two men who didn't come to blows.
When police got there both men had left and the incident had been resolved.
"They were just a pair of idiots," Mr Trace said, confirming they were not connected with either campaign teams.
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- Julie Doolan - the Greens
- Peter Wellington - Independent
- Matt Trace - LNP
- Justin Raethel - Labor
The seat at a glance
INDEPENDENT Peter Wellington has retained a firm grip on the Sunshine Coast seat of Nicklin since he won it in 1998.
He has been a vocal critic of the Newman Government and his Sunshine Coast LNP parliamentary colleagues, particularly Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
Nicklin covers the rural hinterland of the northern Sunshine Coast with the Bruce Hwy as its spine.
It takes in Cooroy, Yandina and Nambour as well as Bli Bli and areas between the Sunshine Mwy and the Bruce Hwy to the east and extending to Mapleton and Kenilworth in the west.
AT THE time of the most recent Census in 2011, the Nicklin electorate had a population of 44,612, with almost 34,000 of voting age. Most were born in Australia (79%) and spoke only English at home (92%).
THE seat, named after former Queensland premier Sir Frank Nicklin who represented the then North Coast for four decades, was first contested in 1986.
It was won by Brian Austin, a Liberal who defected to the Nationals giving the party the opportunity to govern in its own right. Mr Austin resigned three years later after run-ins with the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
Former Maroochy mayor Bob King in 1989 won the seat back for the Liberals only to lose it 12 months later in the Court of Disputed Returns to the Nationals' Neil Turner.
Mr Wellington's 1998 success was crucial to the formation of the first Beattie Labor government which relied initially on his support.
Mr Wellington had little choice with the only other option being a rag-tag coalition of feuding Liberal, National and One Nation members.
In 2012 the LNP's John Connolly ran an aggressive campaign highlighted by its launch by former prime minister John Howard and got within 1000 primary votes of Mr Wellington.
The two-party preferred vote went to Mr Wellington 55.1% to Mr Connolly's 44.9%.
The Daily's tip
Peter Wellington is another well-established stayer who has proved hard to beat in class fields.