Gympie LNP candidate Tony Perrett is back for a second term.
Gympie LNP candidate Tony Perrett is back for a second term. Scott Kovacevic

Back for another swing despite drop in support

FOUR weeks engaged in a "tough battle” for Gympie have ended with incumbent MP Tony Perrett holding his seat for a second term.

By 4pm yesterday 81.9per cent of the region's votes had been counted, with Mr Perrett securing 37.7per cent of the primary vote.

His main competition, One Nation candidate Chelle Dobson, had received 29.6per cent, while Labor's Tracey McWilliam had 22.2per cent. On a two-party preferred vote, the LNP was ahead of One Nation 59 per cent to 40.1 per cent.

While the results looked "solid”, Mr Perrett declined to make any declaration until tallying was done.

"There's nothing to be gained by declaring victory or any other thing by any candidate at this stage,” he said.

As postal votes have until next Tuesday to be returned, then followed by a full preference count, final results on the election may not be known until next Friday.

Overall, support for the LNP dropped almost four per cent from the last election, putting paid to Mr Perrett's early prediction.

"I pointed out before the election this was going to be a tough battle,” he said.

It was not an unexpected result across the electorate, either.

"Last election 2015 Katter Australian Party and Palmer, their combined vote was 27per cent in this seat.”

"It looks like One nation are up around 29per cent, so it was similar. It was always going to be there, I always knew it would be there.”

With a clear wind towards One Nation not only in Gympie but across the state, the parties needed to pay attention.

"No doubt there will be some valuable lessons to be learned,” he said.

The LNP was not the only party to drop in popularity. Labor was down 1per cent from 2015 while the Greens, whose candidate remained only a name on the ballot during the campaign, sank almost 3per cent.

Attempts to contact Ms Dobson for comment were not returned.