'Be scared': LNP eyes Ipswich after close election result
A RESURGENCE is occurring within Ipswich's Liberal National Party ranks after a closer-than-expected result at last month's federal election.
New members have joined and potential candidates are being identified inside a Liberal party once considered conspicuous by absence in Ipswich.
Labor suffered a 4.2 per cent swing against the party in Queensland at May's federal election.
In Blair the primary swing was larger; 9.7 per cent against Labor's 12-year member Shayne Neumann.
The close campaign put wind in the sails of an LNP trying to break Ipswich's red wall.
Labor holds each of the region's four state and two federal electorates and the Liberals have struggled to mount an active campaign in the west.
The closer-than-anticipated federal result in Blair has buoyed the party, LNP acting president David Hutchinson said.
"We've had a lot of strong interest from new members," Mr Hutchinson told the QT.
"We've had our membership grow."
Mr Hutchinson said the party was looking at new candidates to take on Labor at the October 2020 state election.
"There are several members who have expressed interest in standing," he said.
"It's heartening, but the LNP has always been strong."
With polls predicting a Liberal loss across Queensland, the state executive turned its attention to defending seats.
Brisbane resident Robert Shearman was selected as the LNP's Blair candidate; a sign of the party's lack of belief it could close the gap to Mr Neumann.
Booth workers were drafted from the city and no region-specific promises were made.
Whether a local and more visible candidate would have won the seat won't be known, but Mr Hutchinson doesn't think so.
"We've got a pretty good branch but bear in mind there are a lot of booths in Ipswich to cover," he said.
"The issue is more about resource distribution.
"Rob Shearman, whilst he lives at The Gap, is very much the type of candidate electors of Blair respond to."
"He's a man with a background in business and a military background."
Mr Hutchinson said Mr Neumann, as the opposition's immigration spokesman, hadn't performed strongly.
"He did not lay a glove on Peter Dutton the entire term of parliament," Mr Hutchinson said.
The most senior LNP executive has declared Ipswich's state Labor MPs are on notice.
"We'll be fielding strong local candidates," he said.
"All Labor members should be scared because they're so closely aligned to the Ipswich City Council."
Mr Hutchinson said nominations would open soon.