Member for Nicklin Marty Hunt and Labor candidate Robert Skelton.
Member for Nicklin Marty Hunt and Labor candidate Robert Skelton.

Pendulum swings in Nicklin as incumbent braces for worst

Incumbent Nicklin MP Marty Hunt is sweating on a final flurry of votes, fearing he may not be able to overcome the challenge of Labor candidate Robert Skelton.

Late last week it had been expected Mr Hunt may cling onto his seat, with early postal votes favouring the first-term LNP MP.

But it was understood the trend had reversed in postal votes received closer to election day, with the later postal votes counted favouring Mr Skelton.

That coupled with the expected strong preference flow from Greens' hopeful Sue Etheridge had Mr Hunt bracing for the worst.

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He said it was hard to make much sense of the results so far, but he understood he was a "fair way behind".

He said the Greens preferences appeared to be flowing at their traditionally strong rate, while other preferences were a bit "all over the place".

Mr Hunt told the Daily he was "pretty sure" he was behind by at least 100-200 votes at present, and he wasn't sure there were enough still to come back to swing it back in his favour.

Last week the pair had been barely split, with unofficial figures showing Mr Skelton just ahead after preferences in the unofficial indicative count.

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Mr Skelton had claimed wins at several election day booths and less than 100 votes had separated the pair at the Nambour prepoll booth.

FLASHBACK: Nicklin MP Marty Hunt and Glass House MP Andrew Powell raising concerns about land resumptions and the future of a rail corridor, back in 2019.
FLASHBACK: Nicklin MP Marty Hunt and Glass House MP Andrew Powell raising concerns about land resumptions and the future of a rail corridor, back in 2019.

Labor scrutineers had been sent in from Brisbane, and Mr Skelton had been upbeat on election night, pleased with the swing being recorded, but that pleasure could turn to elation if he is to rip the seat out of LNP hands.

The LNP had long-sought Nicklin, which had been held for nearly two decades by independent MP Peter Wellington.

It was understood counting of votes would not resume until Wednesday now, with Tuesday the cut-off day to accept postal votes.

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Once the rest of the postal votes had been counted it was understood the official distribution of preference count would begin, which should deliver the final result, pending any recounts.

The latest Electoral Commission Queensland figures showed Mr Skelton had received 2353 official first preference postal votes, compared to Mr Hunt's 2862.

Late last week LNP party sources told the Daily postal votes had been breaking about 55:45 in favour of Mr Skelton, out of about 250 postal votes counted, and it was understood they'd needed to be favouring Mr Hunt about 60:40 for him to stave off the challenge.


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