Populists could challenge QLD LNP in by-election: expert

IN A hung parliament any by-election is a big deal.

Depending on Federal pre-selection processes and a police investigation, Queensland could see up to three LNP MPs leave the parliament.

Callide MP Jeff Seeney has confirmed he is looking to replace retiring Wide Bay federal MP Warren Truss and LNP sources confirmed to the Toowoomba Chronicle this week Toowoomba South MP John McVeigh is considering a move to Canberra in outgoing MP Ian Macfarlane's seat of Groom.

Nominations for the pre-selection in Groom and Wide Bay are expected to open next week.

Meanwhile Warrego MP Ann Leahy has been referred to the police, accused of misleading the parliament - an offence that carries up to seven years jail.

The good news for the LNP, if by-elections are held in any of those seats, is they are all safe seats. The bad news for the party is all three seats saw a swing against the LNP at the 2015 state election.

Griffith University state political expert Dr Paul Williams said although the LNP would be the "red hot favourite" to win by-elections in all three seats, it was not a sure thing.

"I would say it's unlikely the seats aren't won by the LNP," he said.

"But if a popular local politician says 'The LNP has sold you out' and claims to represent the old bush populists of the Country Party, then the LNP could face a challenge.

"If a popular local mayor or a former Bronco put their hand up they could pose a risk for the LNP."

Dr Williams said despite the three seats having a large margin for the LNP, they would be more worried about a by-election than the Labor government. - APN NEWSDESK

2015 election swing

Callide - 6.8% away from LNP

Toowoomba South - 12.7% away from LNP

Warrego - 12.7% away from LNP

Topics:  ann leahy by-election jeff seeney john mcveigh lnp politics

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