Bill Bus hits road to woo swing vote

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - RICK MOR­TON

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.

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