Peter Dutton is confident he can hold his marginal seat of Dickson, which he’s held for 18 years, and one of several Queensland seats that Labor hopes to win in Saturday’s federal election.
The home affairs minister is in the fight of his political life as he duels for votes with Labor candidate Ali France.
“Get Up and Labor have thrown a lot of mud,” he said, while talking to voters and LNP volunteers at the polling booth at Strathpine West State School.
“This is always going to be a very tight seat. And we’ve worked very hard, obviously, in 2007, we won by 217 votes.
“And we have, from GetUp, seen vicious personal attacks and I’ve got to say, I’ve been stopped by countless people, saying they weren’t going to vote for me, but they got a knock on the door from an aggressive GetUp person, and they were quite rattled by it, and told the GetUp person to leave the house, and are now voting for me,” Mr Dutton said, later speaking to reporters at length.
“So we’ve countered that and we’ve had a really strong campaign.”
Mr Dutton’s seat is one of several Queensland seats held with a margin of less than two per cent, along with Capricornia (0.63), Forde (0.63) and Petrie (1.65).
He started his campaigning in his northwestern Brisbane seat with a gaffe when he claimed Ms France was using her disability as an “excuse” not to move into the electorate.
He denied those comments would sway voters on Saturday.
“On the booths, people haven’t raised it. People are interested in their own circumstances and in some cases, their own circumstances and the future of the country.
“People, I think predominantly in this election, it’s been a significant contest between Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten,” he said.
Ms France voted earlier on Saturday, saying she is just glad that polling day has arrived.
“To finally be here today everyone is really excited,” she said.
Further north, LNP incumbent Ken O’Dowd’s huge central seat of Flynn looks likely to fall to Labor’s Zac Beers.
Elsewhere in the state, the LNP should stave off the electoral bloodshed expected south of the border and pick up the ultra-marginal seat of Herbert following a blitz of regional electorates by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Former serviceman and 2018 Queensland Young Australian of the Year, Phillip Thompson, is tipped to win Herbert for the LNP from Labor’s Cathy O’Toole, who holds the seat by 0.02 per cent following her 2016 win by 37 votes.
The Senate race will also be hotly contested, as voters hit the polling booths following Clive Palmer’s $50 million advertising splurge in his bid to return to federal parliament.
One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts is also hoping to return to the Senate, but voters may be wary following the scandal over the party’s links to the US gun lobby.
Greens senator Larissa Waters should have enough support to keep her seat but controversial far-right senator Fraser Anning is unlikely to win.