Capricornia MP Michelle Landry says she will not be intimidated by “union bullies” at the election. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry says she will not be intimidated by “union bullies” at the election. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen

‘I won’t be intimidated by union bullies’: Landry

CAPRICORNIA MP Michelle Landry says she will not be intimidated by "union bullies" flown into her regional electorate from Brisbane, as the campaign in the ultra-marginal seat heats up.

The central Queensland seat will be one of the most heated battles in the election campaign with only about 600 votes need to be swayed to Labor for it to change hands.

The Coalition is targeting Labor's flip-flopping on the Adani coal mine and proposed vegetation management laws to keep its existing numbers and win over blue-collar voters wanting work.

Labor meanwhile is seeking to change the conversation to casualisation of the workforce, labour hire practices and where secure jobs will be coming from.

Both sides are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the seat and mobilising an army of volunteers, but the union movement is sending in its own troops to the make-or-break electorate.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry says she will not be intimidated by “union bullies” at the election. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry says she will not be intimidated by “union bullies” at the election. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen

Pre-polling opened yesterday, but Ms Landry said she would not tolerate a return of what she called "intimidation tactics" seen in 2016.

She said last time union volunteers at booths would follow her or her volunteers around, shouting or attempting to intimidate others heading into vote.

"I'm not putting up with staff and volunteers being harassed by unions at polling booths," she said.

"They try to intimidate people with their numbers and their tactics. If we have problems I will be ringing the police.

"They just try to harass people, but I will be standing up to them. I will not be intimidated."

Labor are expected to use the LNP’s preference deal with Clive Palmer in the fight for the marginal seat. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
Labor are expected to use the LNP’s preference deal with Clive Palmer in the fight for the marginal seat. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

She said she already had more than 100 union protesters show up outside her office one day last month, shouting and taking photos of the staff inside the office.

"They weren't local. (Afterwards) they got on a plane back to Brisbane," Ms Landry said.

Labor is expected to leverage the LNPs preference deal with Clive Palmer as a way to paint the Coalition of siding with big business over workers.

"It's the LNP teaming up with a billionaire who rips off his workers," a Labor source said, referring to the collapse of Mr Palmer's Queensland Nickel which saw about 800 workers lose their job and being left owing more than $70 million in unpaid entitlements.

Mr Palmer has denied any wrongdoing and blamed administrators for the workers' losses.

Labor's candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson was contacted for comment but he did not return calls.

 

CAPRICORNIA FACTS

 

■ About 600km north of Brisbane and includes Rockhampton, Isaac and Livingstone council areas, as well as parts of Mackay and Whitsunday.

■ 98,190 voters

■ Current MP: Michelle Landry (LNP)

■ Candidates: Paul Bambrick (Greens), George Birkbeck (KAP), Richard Templer (DLP), Ken Murray (Ind), Russell Robertson (ALP), Wade Rothery (PHON), Lindsay Sturgeon (UAP), Grant Pratt (FACNP).

■ Margin: 0.6 per cent

■ History: While it has been held by Landry of the LNP since 2013, Capricornia has changed hands frequently between National, Liberal and Labor parties over the past 100 years. It had been held by Labor for 15 years before Landry's victory. It only attracted a small vote from minor parties in 2016, with almost 80 per cent of the vote going to the LNP or Labor, though One Nation did not contest.

■ Local issues: Local issues include demand for the Rookwood weir, which major parties have committed to, a Rockhampton levee and unemployment sitting above the state and national average. It could receive an employment boost from the Adani mine, which is also likely to be an issue.