LNP federal Member for Flynn, Ken O’Dowd, would rather be backing Winx than himself as the Liberal Party leadership took more twists on Thursday.
Both Mr O’Dowd and fellow LNP MP, Michelle Landry, representing the neighbouring seat of Capricornia, are odds-on to be among the regional federal parliamentarians losing their seats if predictions this week by Sportsbet are correct.
The online bookie released betting for all 151 electorates in the wake of Tuesday’s Liberal leadership spill, which saw Malcolm Turnbull retain the top job by 48 to 35 against challenger, Peter Dutton.
According to Sportsbet, the ALP’s candidate in Flynn is favoured to win an election by small odds of $2 to Mr O’Dowd’s $1.80.
Ms Landry is less favoured to retain her seat, carrying odds of $2.40 to rival ALP candidate, Russell Robertson’s $1.57.
Ms Landry wasn’t talking to the Queensland Country Life on Thursday but Mr O’Dowd openly admitted the government had had “a fair bit skin knocked off us this week”.
Belonging to the National Party side of the Coalition, Mr O’Dowd has only been able to look on as the leadership turmoil evolved but he described himself as embarrassed by the turn of events.
He acknowledged that it had been brought on by the Longman by-election loss, where Pauline Hanson’s One Nation “dipped into” traditional LNP voting numbers, and was brought to a head by the wrangle over electricity prices and the National Energy Guarantee.
Mr O’Dowd said he was sure he could work with any of the people putting themselves up for the Liberal leadership – Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison and Julie Bishop – to get up the big infrastructure projects he wanted to happen in the electorate.
He said a more conservative Prime Minister, which Mr Dutton is regarded as, would appeal to his electorate.
He also urged unity among the Nationals, which he said would be meeting following the Liberals’ leadership meeting on Friday, to support whichever candidate they chose.
“We’ll lose the next election if we don’t,” he said. “We’re hanging on by our fingertips as it is.”
As far as the announcement by Nationals MPs Kevin Hogan, believed to be supported by Darren Chester and Damien Drum, to defect to the crossbenches if the Liberals switched leaders, Mr O’Dowd said it was vital they remained on board with the Coalition agenda.
“I imagine (Nationals leader) Michael McCormack will be talking to them,” he said.
There was a 5.49pc swing away from the LNP in Flynn in the 2016 election, which Mr O’Dowd won by 1814 votes.
In Capricornia, while Ms Landry became the first re-elected conservative MP in the seat since 1958, winning with a margin of 1111 votes, there was a small swing against the LNP of 0.14pc.
Other Nationals colleagues are in a more comfortable position, according to Sportsbet, including George Christensen in Dawson, tipped to hold on with odds of $1.45 to Labor’s $2.80.
Similarly, Keith Pitt in Hinkler is way ahead of the ALP, being given odds of $1.01 to $21, and Maranoa’s David Littleproud boasts similar odds, $1.01 to $23.
Two of the Queensland MPs who align with the Liberal Party, John McVeigh and Scott Buchholz, were given similar odds of retaining Groom and Wright.
Mr McVeigh voted for Mr Turnbull on Tuesday while Mr Buchholz gave his allegiance to Mr Dutton.
Further north, in Leichhardt, fellow Liberal MP, Warren Entsch has been given odds of $1.30 of retaining his seat to Labor’s $3.60.
Mr Entsch blasted the challengers in the full Coalition party meeting on Tuesday, saying those who held their seats by 11 per cent should not think they were safe from trouble from the government's disunity.
With Sportsbet predicting an election would be just around the corner and giving Labor odds of $1.40 to win to the Coalition’s $2.80, the ALP candidates in Flynn and Capricornia were rubbing their hands in glee.
Zac Beer, who lost to Mr O’Dowd in 2016, said from his perspective the leadership turmoil went to the heart of the frustration voters had with politics in Canberra.
“The ALP has learnt its lesson; we’ve never been as united as we are now under Bill Shorten,” he said.
Russell Robertson, gunning for Capricornia for Labor, said the government had forgotten about the regions and needed to focus on job creation rather than themselves.
“What I’m hearing is that people didn’t want to see tax cuts for big business, especially banks.”
He said Capricornian voters “needed a Rocky person in Canberra, not a Canberra person in Rocky.”