REVEALED: High-profile women who may win election for LNP
DEB Frecklington's hopes of becoming Premier appear to be slowly draining away. Or so pundits would have us believe.
It's no secret the Liberal National Party has giant hurdles to clear to claim a majority government at the October state election.
However, Frecklington has a secret weapon: A diverse range of high-calibre female candidates who've lined up to back her. They include a truck driver, a music therapist and pastor, a TV crime reporter who chased a paedophile down the street, a barrister, a nurse, and assorted businesswomen.
"It will be the women who will win it for us," said Dave Hutchinson, LNP president.
There are also three high-profile local government figures running for the LNP, including veteran Brisbane City Council infrastructure sage Amanda Cooper, who will contest Aspley. Another Cooper, first name Linda, will take the fight to Labor in the far north seat of Barron River. She represented Division 6 in Cairns Regional Council and that encompasses Redlynch, Brinsmead, Kamerunga, Freshwater and Stratford - all suburbs in the Barron River electorate. And head south to the Whitsundays where former Mackay deputy mayor Amanda Camm will carry the LNP flag into battle against the ALP and controversial incumbent Jason Costigan, who has started his own party.
The Coopers and Camm are savvy and articulate and have potential to be Cabinet ministers in a future women-dominated LNP government.
Amanda Cooper said ALP's policy to fix infrastructure (such as Beams Rd, Carseldine) is to call for an investigation and do nothing. "They're playing games," she said.
And public funds are not allocated as wisely as they were at City Hall. "A lot of money goes to areas where the Labor Party has political problems," she said.
You only had to look at Jackie Trad's South Brisbane seat to see that, Cooper said.
She and American husband Geoff Cooper, a Channel 9 programmer, live at Bridgeman Downs. She had 12 years as a councillor at City Hall.
And here is a point of difference with the Labor Party, whose female MPs generally arrived from the narrow, anti-business confines of the union movement to fulfil gender quotas. Their only idea on business is to tax it.
Hutchinson says a flood of female candidates winning preselection battles has reinvigorated the party. "It will kill off Labor's argument that we are a party that doesn't look after women," he said.
In a legislative assembly with 93 members, the LNP must hold all its seats and win nine more. "Forty-seven is the magic number for us to get a majority and a speaker.'
Truckin' Tracie Newitt, whose family operates a silage hauling business, will have to oust One Nation's Stephen Andrew to win in Mirani.
The LNP has to pick up nine seats while holding all the seats it won in 2017. It's a hard ask, especially with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk winning a halo effect courtesy of her seat on PM Scott Morrison's national cabinet.
If Frecklington has any hope of winning the election she must win Gaven, the Nerang-Pacific Pines seat on the Gold Coast. If there is a bellwether seat in this vast state, Gaven is it. A slight swing away from Palaszczuk will deliver it to the LNP.
LNP candidate Kirsten Jackson, a St Hilda's old girl, traces family roots in the area to 1874. She has worked in the offices of conservative senators Alan Eggleston and Ron Boswell and is no stranger to Canberra political life. Jackson must beat Labor young gun Meaghan Scanlon who won in 2017 by just 378 votes.
LNP women candidates are within striking distance in three Brisbane seats.
Former Channel 10 crime and political reporter Lauren Day decided to throw her hat in the ring in Maiwar after reporting on Labor's appalling failures in child safety and crime prevention. The young mother's husband is a cop.
Another former journo running for the LNP is Kirrily Boulton, head of corporate affairs at the Endeavour Foundation where she has a special interest in advocating for the intellectually disabled. Boulton believes she has the support to cause an election upset by defeating Housing and Public Works minister Mick de Brenni in Springwood.
Another most impressive candidate is Janet Wishart, a former pastor with a degree in music and musical therapy who worked in aged care and palliative care. Wishart, whose husband Dugald is general manager of business analysis at Rio Tinto, will contest the seat of Mansfield, which has been won nine times by the conservatives and seven times by the ALP since 1972.
Wishart also has a deep understanding of the disability sector. Her eldest son Caleb has undergone 21 surgeries in 18 years to lengthen his leg.
Hovering above the LNP campaign like a death star is former LNP Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey, who might stick in the knife by running as an independent in her old seat and directing preferences away from the LNP's Laura Gerber.
Originally published as REVEALED: High-profile women who may win election for LNP