Laming set for long haul Bowman battle

LIBERAL Party MP Andrew Laming has secured a preselection win that will see him contest the next election for the LNP.

Free from internal branch issues, he can now be expected to ramp up pressure on his Labor opposite, Tom Baster.

Mr Laming has kicked this off by challenging Mr Baster to a public debate. So far Mr Baster has not accepted.

It is an interesting move by Mr Laming because when he was asked to take part in a public forum for candidates organised by Fairfax Media before the last election, he was not much interested.

At that event he would have been quizzed by members of the public but he turned up for only the last 10 minutes of the hour-long session. Regardless, we are sure he would give a good account of himself in any debate.

Despite the disenchantment of some within the party about his performance – especially on social media – Mr Laming will be expected to mount his usual vigorous campaign as he fights to hold Bowman at the next federal poll.

Bowman was named in 1949 to honour David Bowman, one of the first Labor Party Queensland MPs. It has been held by five Labor MPs – including the prominent Con Sciacca – but is now deemed fairly safe LNP territory.

As more and more waterside units are built, this seat could be expected to become an even stronger conservative bolthole. It has helped make Mr Laming the Bowman division’s most successful political representative.

It remains to be seen if the Liberal Party can free itself from the bitter internecine feuds that have wracked it for much of the past term.

It is a party in so much strife that it knifed PM Malcolm Turnbull, the man who helped produce the best set of economic figures Australia has seen in years.

It’s hard to imagine its warring MPs would be so stupid as to resume battle with an election only months away.

Bearing this in mind and given that Opposition leader Bill Shorten is not overly popular, it’s difficult to see how Mr Laming could lose the next poll, barring any major misdemeanour.

Mr Laming is a tough campaigner who works exceedingly hard when on the campaign trail.

The preselection win is a great effort by Mr Laming and he has shown that he is in for the long haul.