What chances do Queensland's dumped and defector election candidates have?

Queensland election 2017: What chances do Queensland's dumped and defector election candidates have?


One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and Queensland One Nation leader and member for Buderim Steve Dickson, pictured at Sippy Downs, Buderim, on November 11.
Photo: AAP/Glenn Hunt

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and Queensland One Nation leader and member for Buderim Steve Dickson, pictured at Sippy Downs, Buderim, on November 11. Photo: AAP/Glenn Hunt

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Some have been disendorsed by major parties, others left of their own accord. But what will it mean for their chances on election day?

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Some, such as LNP MP-turned-One Nation state leader Steve Dickson, have switched parties while others have been disendorsed, dumped or simply chose to leave their previous party.

But what chances do these candidates who have changed political allegiances have at the polling booths on Saturday?

Frank Mols, a lecturer at the University of Queensland's School of Political Science and International Studies, said Mr Dickson would be an intriguing candidate to watch in particular.

"It's a bit too soon to say but I think Steve Dickson might be an interesting one, I suspect he'll do well," Dr Mols said.

Mr Dickson, the member for Buderim, defected from the LNP in January saying he believed the major parties "have lost their way".

On the one hand, Dr Mols said, Mr Dickson would attract voters who felt the One Nation message resonated with them. On the other hand, he said, "deep blue Liberal voters" were likely to stick with the LNP.

"My hunch is that a majority will stay with the party because it's the party identity that they are attached to, whereas some (voters) will certainly defect," Dr Mols said.

For those who left major parties of their own volition, the political scientist said a perceived authenticity and effective use of "us versus them" tensions would help candidates maintain media attention and voter popularity.

"They tend to do disproportionately well ... if they understand that politics is about identity," he said.

Senator Jacqui Lambie after she informed the Senate she intends to resign because of dual citizenship by descent at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 14 November 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares

Senator Jacqui Lambie after she informed the Senate she intends to resign because of dual citizenship by descent at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 14 November 2017. Fedpol. Photo: Andrew Meares

Dr Mols said Senators Cori Bernardi, Bob Katter and former senator Jacqui Lambie were examples of politicians who had done that well.

"I think Jacquie Lambie strikes me as someone who is perceived as far more authentic," he said.

"That's kind of highlighted by certain moments in parliament where she breaks down and she talks about her son with the drug addiction - a moment of authenticity."

As a politician, Dr Mols said Ms Lambie has benefited from that percieved authenticity.

"She's had a lot of sympathy from voters who don't vote for her, they still have a bit of a thing for her," he said.

Dr Mols said it would be difficult to predict how well disendorsed candidates would do, as it was really down to the individual personality.

"We may think that being disendorsed by a party is a black stain on your jacket, but political scientists like myself, we know people have very short memories," he said.

Among candidates dumped from their political parties are Rick Williams, who is running as an independent for Pumicestone after being disendorsed by Labor; Independent for Bundamba Shan-Ju Lin who was dumped by One Nation over anti-gay comments; and Peter Dowling who was disendorsed by the LNP for his penis-in-a-wine-glass sexting scandal.

"There are different ways of handling (those) crisis, and some do it well and some do it really badly," Dr Mols said.

"The moment you do that well as a politician it's remarkable how much you can be forgiven."

Dr Mols said candidates who did well after defecting tended to be good at using identity politics - suck as country Queensland versus the city - as a way of drawing voters.

"You see a domino effect, once one person has done it effectively - Pauline Hanson would be the obvious person to have shown the way," he said.

"Who has done better out of leaving a mainstream party than Pauline Hanson?"

The story What chances do Queensland's dumped and defector election candidates have? first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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