Bennett de­fies swing

Isis Town and Country - - News - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

THE re­al­ity of sit­ting in Op­po­si­tion is slowly start­ing to sink in for Stephen Bennett.

The re-elected Mem­ber for Bur­nett will face starkly dif­fer­ent sur­rounds when he re­turns to par­lia­ment af­ter voter dis­sat­is­fac­tion de­liv­ered a likely La­bor win.

The big­gest ques­tion for lo­cals to pon­der was the sta­tus of prom­ises and com­mit­ments made by Mr Bennett and the LNP dur­ing the cam­paign – in par­tic­u­lar the $300,000 hy­drother­apy pool slated for Isis Me­mo­rial Swim­ming Pool, which was an­nounced by for­mer Health Min­is­ter Lawrence Spring­borg.

“To be frank it wasn’t an elec­tion prom­ise but it was a com­mit­ment from the health bud­get,” Mr Bennett said.

“I don’t know what (La­bor) will say and do, but this was def­i­nitely made through the bud­get and I am to­tally com­mit­ted to hold them to ac­count.

“At this point in time I can’t cat­e­gor­i­cally say ei­ther way.”

The LNP suf­fered a mas­sive swing across the state, with La­bor earn­ing a 10% swing in Bur­nett, ac­cord­ing to the ABC.

An anal­y­sis of re­sults from the Isis re­gion, how­ever, shows strong sup­port for Mr Bennett, who gained a 7% swing on first pref­er­ence votes.

With Mem­ber for Cal­lide Jeff Seeney step­ping down as deputy Pre­mier and a raft of se­nior LNP fig­ures voted out, Mr Bennett’s pop­u­lar­ity in a “very safe” LNP seat could make him a can­di­date for a lead­er­ship po­si­tion.

How­ever, Mr Bennett said he was fo­cused purely on rep­re­sent­ing the Bur­nett and do­ing a bet­ter job in his sec­ond term.

“That hasn’t been dis­cussed ei­ther with my col­leagues or at home but I’m sure oth­ers will do a ster­ling job,” Mr Bennett said.

“I’m happy rep­re­sent­ing Bur­nett and do­ing the best I can for my elec­torate.”

Mean­while, La­bor can­di­date Bryan Mustill had a spring in his step af­ter Satur­day’s re­sult.

Mr Mustill seemed to strug­gle at can­di­date fo­rums in the lead-up to the elec­tion, but on Sun­day morn­ing he was fu­elled by a re­newed vigour for the role.

The 62-year-old ra­dio­g­ra­pher said he in­tended to run again at the next elec­tion, and with more prepa­ra­tion could per­form even bet­ter.

“This is the sort of thing I was told – the peo­ple are out there but whether they turned into votes I don’t know,” he said.

“It’s a lot more than I hoped for.”

Mr Mustill at­tracted more than 30% of first pref­er­ence votes, prompt­ing him to de­clare he will run again.

“I was only en­dorsed a few months be­fore the elec­tion and I wasn’t re­ally pre­pared,” Mr Mustill said.

Mr Bennett en­cour­aged Mr Mustill’s dec­la­ra­tion, say­ing a vi­able op­tion from La­bor who un­der­stood com­mu­nity is­sues was good for democ­racy.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

BIT­TER­SWEET: Cathy Mad­sen, Ruth Gille­spie, Kate Bar­wick, Flora Bar­wick and Bur­nett mem­ber Stephen Bennett cel­e­brate Mr Bennett’s re-elec­tion at an LNP func­tion at Bur­nett Club on Satur­day, but were stunned by the LNP’s over­all re­sult.

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