DECIDED: Vanessa Marsh with Emma Miller, 19.
DECIDED: Vanessa Marsh with Emma Miller, 19.

‘I like that she stands for equality and inclusiveness’

FORGET the polls and what the pollies say, if you want a real taste of voters' thoughts ahead of the Longman by-election there's only one place to go - into the heartland itself.

Reporters Matthew Condon, Vanessa Marsh and Michael Wray will be talking with Longman locals all week, prior to Saturday's by-election.

This is what residents had to say on Wednesday.

 

THE Super Saturday by-election will be the first time many young Longman residents have ever had the chance to vote.

And for teens such as Emma Miller, it's a decision she thought long and hard about before eventually choosing to vote for Labor's candidate Susan Lamb. "I like that she stands for equality and inclusiveness," she said.

The 19-year-old, who works at Bribie Island's Evolve Espresso Bar and is studying to be a teacher, said Ms Lamb's citizenship scandal had not made her a less attractive candidate.

"With the island, it's so small and we have a lot of younger and older people so health is really important and so is education," she said. Ms Miller said she strongly supported Labor's promise to reverse penalty rate cuts.

"I think if someone is working extra hard on the weekend and not getting a break like everyone else then they should get (penalty rates)," she said.

For Bribie Island retirees Val and Neville Cuthbert, it will only be a "super" Saturday when the Longman by-election is over and their phone finally stops ringing.

The pair are sick and tired of the relentless automated political phone calls they've been receiving for weeks.

"It's at 10 to nine in the morning when you're doing work and trying to get things done," Ms Cuthbert said.

- Vanessa Marsh

 

HAUNTED BY GHOSTS OF ELECTIONS PAST

 

IS THIS the calm before the storm?

The Club Tavern in Caboolture is a ghost town on this morning, three days out from the Longman by-election, except for the transfixed punters in the gaming lounge, their pokie ­machines - Dragon Link, Jackpot Carnival, Best Bet - trilling away.

LONG MEMORY: Journalist Matthew Condon speaks with Caboolture woman Doris Woodbury, 55. Picture: Lachie Millard
LONG MEMORY: Journalist Matthew Condon speaks with Caboolture woman Doris Woodbury, 55. Picture: Lachie Millard

But this week, there has been a genuine ghost lurking about the ­tavern, the former LNP member for Longman, the ever-youthful Wyatt Roy, ousted by current ALP candidate Susan Lamb in 2016.

Roy, the youngest person ever to be elected to the Australian Parliament at 20, is remembered fondly by some in Longman. The punters talk of him as if he was some long lost son.

Doris Woodbury, 55, the tavern's bar and gaming attendant, remembers there was community optimism when he was elected in 2010.

"A lot of people thought he was going to be good for the area," she says. "Young blood and all that. But the young kids today, they wouldn't remember who he was."

Politics has a short memory, but from the Club Tavern in the heart of Caboolture, The Courier-Mail tracks down the ghost of Longman in ­Melbourne, where he is on business for an international IT company.

Roy fondly remembers his old stomping ground. "It's the heartland of middle Australia," he says. "It's an aspirational community full of hardworking, decent people … it's home."

Now based in Brisbane, but commuting regularly to southern capitals, Roy, still only 28, says he always finds time to get to the family strawberry farm near the Pumicestone Passage.

Who does the ghost of Longman think will win Saturday's by-election? He laughs: "I'll leave that to other people to comment."

- Matt Condon