Con­struc­tion boss piv­otal to elec­tion win

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - LEA EMERY

LIT­TLE-known fa­ther of four Robert Buegge is shap­ing as a po­ten­tial king­maker in this month’s State elec­tion.

A Gal­axy poll shows Mr Buegge, a direc­tor with build­ing group BDI, and fel­low in­de­pen­dent Ron Nightin­gale hold sway in the must-win seat of Bon­ney, with La­bor and the LNP tied on the two-party pre­ferred vote.

A CON­STRUC­TION boss and courier driver hold the key to the cru­cial mar­ginal seat of Bon­ney.

The pref­er­ences of in­de­pen­dents Robert Buegge and Ron Nightin­gale have be­come cru­cial with the seat rest­ing on a knife’s edge.

A Gold Coast Bul­letin Gal­axy Re­search poll shows an even split on a two-party pre­ferred ba­sis and po­lit­i­cal ex­perts have pre­dicted pref­er­ences from the two in­de­pen­dents will be vi­tal.

Mr Nightin­gale, a for­mer One Na­tion cam­paign man­ager, yes­ter­day said he would not al­lo­cate pref­er­ences on his how-to-vote card.

Build­ing boss Mr Buegge de­clined to say how he would dis­trib­ute his pref­er­ences.

“I have had a num­ber of peo­ple call since Tues­day,” Mr Buegge said.

The direc­tor of In­di­an­based com­pany BDI Group is run­ning on the Gold Coast for the first time with the aim of giv­ing peo­ple a choice other than the ma­jor par­ties.

If any deals were done, they will not stay se­cret for long with pre-poll vot­ing open­ing on Mon­day.

Mr Buegge is putting his work on hold for the elec­tion while he and his wife care for four teenage chil­dren who all go to school at Southport State High School.

For Mr Buegge, the elec­tion is about mak­ing Bon­ney a bet­ter place.

“We have a fairly large crime rate for our lo­ca­tion,” he said. “I’d also like to do some­thing about congestion and work with schools for air­con­di­tion­ing.”

Mr Buegge sup­ports a multi-pronged ap­proach to re­solve is­sues on the M1, in­clud­ing an in­crease in pub­lic trans­port, ex­pan­sion and build­ing bet­ter feeder roads.

As for The Spit, the builder be­lieved any de­vel­op­ment should not ex­ceed three storeys.

Mr Buegge said he did not favour one party over the other but he was not happy with La­bor’s sup­port of the Adani coal mine.

Mr Nightin­gale is more fa­mil­iar with Gold Coast pol­i­tics hav­ing been the cam­paign man­ager for One Na­tion can­di­date Broad­wa­ter Bren­den Ball un­til a split in Au­gust.

The Bul­letin was told the split oc­curred af­ter Mr Nightin­gale had dis­agree­ments with staff in the state cam­paign of­fice.

The courier driver, who specialises in flower de­liv­er­ies, is still work­ing while he cam­paigns on a tight bud­get with few vol­un­teers.

“I am not giv­ing out any pref­er­ences,” he said. “I have been hit by the other par­ties a num­ber of times.”

Mr Nightin­gale said he be­lieved peo­ple were “adult” enough to make their own de­ci­sions.

A 12-year res­i­dent of the Coast, he said the Labrador and Big­gera Wa­ters area needed bet­ter polic­ing. In re­la­tion to the M1, he said he would like more work done to in­crease the ca­pac­ity of ser­vice roads.

Robert Buegge (left) and Ron Nightin­gale have be­come cru­cial play­ers in Bon­ney.

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