TOO BUSY: Kirsty McLeod talks with Michael Wray on the bus out of Ningi on Tuesday. Picture: Claudia Baxter
TOO BUSY: Kirsty McLeod talks with Michael Wray on the bus out of Ningi on Tuesday. Picture: Claudia Baxter

Party slogans fall on deaf ears

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 TUESDAY

THE ambient noise in Kirsty McLeod's life for the past few months has been randomly throwing up words like Susan Lamb, Pauline Hanson, big banks, Caboolture Hospital and by-election.

The words blast out of her radio in advertisements for this political party or that one. They are in the political pamphlets she keeps shovelling from her mailbox straight into the bin.

They're even on the double-sided billboard just up from her bus stop in Ningi, a speck of a town on the way to Bribie Island, where she starts her 90-minute journey to Brisbane each day.

The political slogans are getting more intense as Saturday's crucial Longman by-election draws closer but still the words are just floating straight through her consciousness.

It's the real noise, her life as a single mum of four girls aged 12 to two, childcare fees, a mortgage and nursing studies, that consumes every scrap of her attention.

"I've seen the billboards and the ads and I can't even remember who's meant to have taken the money from the Caboolture Hospital," the 30-year-old said. "I normally follow the elections more closely but I've just been swamped with examinations and stuff and I've just got to prioritise life."

Like many others we have spoken with, Ms McLeod's planning on some last-minute Googling to work out where her vote will eventually land.

"I just go for which party will affect me in the best way," she said.

- Michael Wray

RETIREES LOOKING AFTER THEMSELVES

LIFELONG Labor voter Greg Beh won't be putting Susan Lamb first when he votes in this weekend's Super Saturday by-election in Longman.

Greg and his wife Vicky, self-funded retirees living on Bribie Island, say they'll be voting for the LNP's Trevor Ruthenberg because "the Liberals are doing a better job".

LOCKED IN: Bribie Island residents Vicky and Greg Beh with reporter Vanessa Marsh. Picture: AAP Image/Steve Pohlner
LOCKED IN: Bribie Island residents Vicky and Greg Beh with reporter Vanessa Marsh. Picture: AAP Image/Steve Pohlner

"When I was working, I was in the union and I think the Labor Party looked after the workers better," Mr Beh said. "Now that I'm not working, I'm more interested in a government that won't hurt me as much as a self-funded retiree and I think the LNP is better for us now."

Mrs Beh, a retired registered nurse, said Mr Ruthenberg's war medal dramas didn't change her mind - an opinion widely shared by many of the voters we have spoken to.

"I think it was a bit of a storm in a teacup really - people make mistakes and I think that's what's happened here," she said.

She said it was nice for the once politically neglected electorate to get some attention.

"I think it is good putting Bribie on the map and giving us a say which we don't usually get because it's considered a bit of a backwater and a retirement area," Mrs Beh said.

"The really important issues locally are the bridge and the Bribie road - we need better access here. If there's an accident and the bridge is shut it's terrible because it's such a small narrow bridge."

- Vanessa Marsh

 

WOMEN SPEAK OUT ON LADIES DAY AT CLUB

UNDECIDED: Patsy Evans with reporter Matt Condon at The Club in Caboulture. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter
UNDECIDED: Patsy Evans with reporter Matt Condon at The Club in Caboulture. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter

IT may as well be Ladies Day here in The Club Tavern in Caboolture in the seat of Longman, north of Brisbane, as the federal Super Saturday by-elections loom.

And why shouldn't women celebrate here, given the seat of Longman is named after the first female elected as a Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, Irene Maud Longman (Bulimba, 1929 - 1932).

In the tavern bistro are 19 women eating and drinking and enjoying each other's company, a privilege not afforded poor Irene, excluded as she was from the parliamentary dining room. She had to eat her meals on the veranda.

And Patsy Evans, or "Patsy of Caboolture", who recently gained notoriety for verbally stripping naked ALP leader Bill Shorten on talkback radio during a recent debate on, is back for her morning coffee.

Patsy, in her early 70s, is everywhere in town, trying to make sense of who best to vote for on Saturday.

She says she has never seen Susan Lamb (ALP) in the Longman electorate, but recently asked for and received a one-on-one "coffee at Maccas" with the LNP's candidate Trevor "Big Trev" Ruthenberg, where she politely asked him to explain himself on all manner of policy fine points.

"It will all hinge on what happens in the next couple of days," said Patsy.

- Matt Condon



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