Preferences from former MP harmed conservative campaign, says McEachan

THE notional result in the fiercely contested seat of Redlands sees Labor’s Kim Richards leading the LNP’s Matt McEachan by 55.09 per cent to 44.91 per cent.

TOUGH TIMES: Matt McEachan on the campaign trail with opposition treasury spokesman Scott Emerson. Mr Emerson also appears set to lose his seat, possibly to the Greens.

TOUGH TIMES: Matt McEachan on the campaign trail with opposition treasury spokesman Scott Emerson. Mr Emerson also appears set to lose his seat, possibly to the Greens.

Polling booth numbers also show there was a strong flow towards One Nation on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands.

Although postal votes would be expected to favour Mr McEachan, he remains a long shot to peg back Ms Richards lead.

Mr McEachan said that given he had maintained a strong primary vote, it was likely he could have held Redlands, had it not been for former LNP member Peter Dowling running as a conservative independent but funneling preferences to Labor.

One Nation candidate Jason Quick also sent preferences to Labor.

In 2014 Mr Dowling lost pre-selection for the seat after a sexting incident. Mr McEachan was pre-selected and held the seat for for the past term. 

Mr Dowling said it was too difficult to speculate where preferences would go from this point in the count.

“Having said that, if all preferences flow as per how-to-vote cards, the result will remain unchanged with Kim Richards and ALP picking up the seat the LNP threw away,” he said.

Mr Dowling blamed Mr McEachan, his former party and campaigning federal MP Andrew Laming for the conservative loss.

“The battle was clearly who could spend (or) promise the most,” he said. “...We had an amazing team. We matched the major parties for people on the ground.

“...There appears to be a substantial protest vote toward the Greens and One Nation. In fact, Greens almost doubled their usual vote.”

Mr McEachan said Mr Dowling was wrong because most promises were of a community nature for work on things like schools and marine infrastructure.

He said Mr Dowling was not an independent conservative as he had given out.

“He gave his preferences to Labor,” he said. “In doing so he did two things. He manipulated locals in to voting for something he wasn’t and took votes away from the only conservative standing for election.

“The result of this is a Labor member and a Labor government. Thank you Peter Dowling.”

Mr McEachan said Mr Dowling was motivated by a personal vendetta against him and the party.

He said the LNP was the only party to take the Redlands seriously, from proposing to put the city into the state budget for the first time, to fixing Cleveland Redland Bay Road and investing in community groups and schools.