Will scandals cost One Nation in Petrie?

ONE Nation was poised to be kingmaker in the vital seat of Petrie but recent weeks of turmoil in the party have seen its influence wane.

For the first time since 2001, a One Nation candidate, Nikhil Reddy, is running in the seat. Both sides of politics were poised for the resurgent minor party to play a major role in Petrie, with its preferences potentially the deciding factor given the narrow 1.6 per cent margin.

In the 2017 state election, One Nation secured between 9.6 per cent and 19.4 per cent of the vote in electorates that overlap with Petrie.

Petrie MP Luke Howarth is contesting the 2019 election. Picture: Tara Croser.
Petrie MP Luke Howarth is contesting the 2019 election. Picture: Tara Croser.

A rift has grown between One Nation and the Government after Prime Minister Scott Morrison ruled that the party would be put below Labor on Liberal how-to-vote cards.

But incumbent LNP MP Luke Howarth (pictured right) is one of the few Government MPs nationwide to get One Nation's preferences.

Senator Pauline Hanson, One Nation's leader and founder, has said it was partially due to Mr Howarth calling out the PM's decision.

But recent scandals have affected the party's popularity, allowing Clive Palmer to soak up disaffected voters with a big-spending campaign to promote his rebadged United Australia Party.

One Nation has had to deal with the fallout from the Al Jazeera news sting, in which two One Nation operatives were caught out talking about seeking donations from the National Rifle Association in the US.


Labor candidate for Petrie Corinne Mulholland. Picture: supplied
Labor candidate for Petrie Corinne Mulholland. Picture: supplied

And this week its Queensland Senate candidate Steve Dickson resigned after video emerged of him propositioning a stripper.

One political operative on the ground at pre-poll questioned how much support the party would be getting now.

"I'm not exactly seeing people running up and grabbing One Nation how-to-vote cards," they said.

UAP does not have many people on the ground handing out how-to-vote cards but has first place on the ballot - giving it the donkey vote.

The seat of Petrie has frequently changed hands between Liberal/LNP and Labor.

It has never been held by the same party for more than 12 years in its
70-year history.

Mr Howarth said there was a similar feeling on the ground to 2016 when he was returned to power with an increased margin, although there were more people voting early this time. "I think it's people wanting to spend more time with family, not wanting to be locked in to the one day," he said.

ALP candidate Corinne Mulholland was contacted for comment.