Federal member for Blair Shayne Neumann.
Federal member for Blair Shayne Neumann. Rob Williams

Labor set to hold Ipswich for another three years

HE IS on track for a fifth election victory, but Shayne Neumann is reluctant to be drawn on his future as a cabinet minister if Bill Shorten wins government tonight.

The Member for Blair was criss-crossing Ipswich's pre-polling booths yesterday morning as a record number of voters cast their ballots.

Labor volunteers are feeling positive, but Mr Neumann is coy about his own views of the red campaign.

"I'm not prepared to say publicly where I think it's going locally at the moment, but I think we're doing pretty well," he said.

"If the (national) polls are accurate, there's likely to be a narrow Labor victory."

Mr Neumann first won Blair from the Liberals in 2007 in Kevin Rudd's crusade to power.

He has sandbagged the seat to the extent it is now considered safe Labor territory.

The veteran campaigner and political strategist said the high number of early votes were one of many stand-outs during this poll.

"This campaign is a bit different in the sense we have got more candidates than ever before," he said.

Despite the number of candidates, Mr Neumann is the only one to make electorate-specific funding pledges.

"Labor is the only party that is offering anything locally," he said.

"No other party has made any local commitments here.

"I've got the determination and drive, the experience, energy and enthusiasm to represent this area."

Mr Neumann said nationally, the Labor Party had laid out its plans and strong agenda.

"If they vote for us they know what they're getting," he said.

 

Pre-polling at the Humanties Centre in Ipswich on Thursday.
A record number of voters have their say before election day at pre-polling. Rob Williams

Mr Neumann believes the main issues in Blair are jobs, health and education spending, infrastructure and climate change.

Labor's immigration and border protection spokesman stands to be a minister in Bill Shorten's cabinet, but he won't go into much detail.

"It's always good for an area if they have someone at the big table, so to speak," Mr Neumann offered.

"But my role will be up to what the caucus decides and what Bill and Tanya (Plibersek) decide."

University of Southern Queensland political expert John Cole agreed Mr Neumann would be victorious.

"He's a professional politician," Professor Cole said.

"He's going to win Blair comfortably.

"You've got a gaggle of wannabes on the other side, not so much the LNP, but Independents."

Professor Cole said having Mr Neumann in cabinet would be beneficial to Blair.

"It's a better place to be," he said.

"The only better place to be is probably an Independent with the balance of power.

"Assuming the bookmakers have it right and it's a Labor victory, Shayne will be one of the Shorten ministers

"It will be interesting to see where he ends up."

Professor Cole said the battle across Australia had become closer.

"I think it's tighter in Queensland as you'd expect," he said.

"It sounds like it's a bit of a wasteland for the Libs in Victoria."

Professor Cole said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had "turned out to be a very good campaigner".

"For Morrison, it's about getting as many positives as he can in Queensland to offset the likely Liberal losses in Victoria," he said.

Professor Cole said anything is possible on Saturday night.

"It's a close call election, people on both sides will be biting their nails a bit," he said.

"The Hawke factor is proving to be a major distraction.

"It won't help Morrison, I don't know if is going to help Bill Shorten necessarily.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, more than four million people cast an early vote this election.

"People have made up their minds," Professor Cole said.

"They're not interested in hearing any more.

"It's going to make it really interesting tomorrow night."

With pre-poll votes not counted on election night, Professor Cole said it could be days before Australians know the outcome.

For the campaign, he said Labor had been a disciplined machine.

"It has been Labor on message, they've got policies out there early," he said.

"There's a generational divide in this too.

"Older voters are more likely to stay with the Coalition but younger voters are likely to see much more in the Labor message."

Booths will close at 6pm today.

For live election coverage, visit qt.com.au and for a wrap of the election pick up Monday's paper.