Bill Bus hits road to woo swing vote
The Pineapple Express political route will be revived in Queensland next week when Bill Shorten boards another bus for a campaign-style tour of marginal seats in the key state.
Just 2½ months after Scott Morrison hit the Bruce Highway — and occasionally a VIP jet — for a dry-run ahead of the federal election this year, the Labor leader will get on the road to meet voters and candidates.
Queensland, with its peculiar politics and nearly a dozen marginal seats, has been a key stalking ground for the Opposition Leader where he has tried to talk two ways on the controversial issue of the Adani coalmine to reassure locals and appease more progressive elements of the party.
His office would not confirm the route chosen for the tour.
Labor hopes to pick up a swag of seats in the state.
It successfully regained the marginal seat of Longman, north of Brisbane, during the by-election last July when Susan Lamb was returned after her citizenship woes.
Other electorates that could fall at the federal election, due in May, include Petrie with a margin of 1.6 per cent, Flynn on 1 per cent and both Forde and Capricornia on 0.6 per cent.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton holds the seat of Dickson with a razor-thin margin of 1.6 per cent and will be particularly targeted by left-wing efforts to oust him.
The Coalition, which holds 70 per cent of all the seats in Queensland, has been threatened from the right by One Nation and other fringe parties that have bled its vote.
Labor’s Cathy O’Toole is the member for Herbert, but her winning vote was in the hundreds and will also require special attention from Mr Shorten and a series of Labor luminaries who are expected to join their leader for parts of the mini-campaign.
Mr Shorten’s previous Bill Bus, the brainchild of former senator Sam Dastyari, was used extensively during the 2016 election campaign.