Keith Politch at the Club Tavern Caboolture. Picture: Peter Wallis
Keith Politch at the Club Tavern Caboolture. Picture: Peter Wallis

What Longman voters really think ahead of by-election

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 have had to say so far.

LITTLE CHEER AT CLUB TAVERN - MATTHEW CONDON

IT'S only four minutes into opening time (10am) at The Club Tavern in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, on Monday, and already there's some political high drama.

Caboolture is in the heart of the seat of Longman and a flashpoint for this Saturday's critical by-election. and some opportunist has gone and hi-jacked four of the club's car parks, planting a 4WD and trailer across the spaces.

The trailer is emblazoned with advertising placards for the ALP's Susan Lamb

"I'll stand up for Queensland schools!," the message reads.

Blonde-bobbed Doris - tavern bartender and all-rounder - is not happy.

She stalks the vehicle before inspecting the front of the tavern, looking for people in "red shirts".

"Who owns this trailer?" she shouts to a crowd at the nearby bakery.

"Me, love," a man in a CFMEU hoodie responds.

"Move it before it gets towed."

He moves it.

It transpires the incident had everything to do with illegal parking and not much to do with politics.

"I don't think the patrons here give a damn about politics," says Doris.

We’re not the only ones who’ve been visiting the Club Tavern. Former ALP leader Mark Latham was with entrepreneur Steve Baxter and the Liberal Democratic Party's candidate for Longman, Lloyd Russell, for the LDP’s election launch on Saturday. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
We’re not the only ones who’ve been visiting the Club Tavern. Former ALP leader Mark Latham was with entrepreneur Steve Baxter and the Liberal Democratic Party's candidate for Longman, Lloyd Russell, for the LDP’s election launch on Saturday. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Another local, Matt, 33, a self-confessed "bar fly", agrees.

"They're only here to drink, mate," he says.

Ruthenberg, Lamb, Turnbull, Shorten?

"Ask the punters about that and they're going to tell you to piss off."

A woman in her mid-70s, known locally as the powerhouse "Patsy of Caboolture" since she recently tore ALP leader Bill Shorten to shreds on talkback radio, says Susan Lamb and the ALP were telling lies with all their promises in this campaign and needed to be brought to

account.

"I live here," she says. "I want the truth to be told."

Keith Politch talks to Courier-Mail journalist Matt Condon. Picture: Peter Wallis
Keith Politch talks to Courier-Mail journalist Matt Condon. Picture: Peter Wallis

But retired pineapple farmer Keith Politch, 65, says he always has and always will vote for the ALP.

"If I didn't, my father would have given me a clip across the ears," says Keith, enjoying a beer in the sports bar.

"They used to stand up for the working people."

Back in the tavern bistro, Doris is vigorously rinsing the beer glasses.

"What week is it this week?" Doris asks. "Dole week or pension week?"

That will determine the weekly demographic in the refurbished The Club Tavern, formerly known as The Sipping Duck, then The Twisted Arm, in the bad old days, when the then "blood house" literally provided what it advertised.

But politics? Bah.

"I'll vote for free beers all day!" says Matt, in what may be the most succinct policy announcement in this long by-election campaign.

 

BRIBIE LOCALS WANT A VOICE - VANESSA MARSH

THE laidback residents of Bribie Island have found themselves at the centre of a political storm and they know the enormous value of the cards they're holding.

There's no apathy toward this weekend's by-election in Longman - every customer through the bustling Evolve Espresso Bar on the island on Monday had an opinion on the parties, candidates and policies.

Retired schoolteacher Vivian Salisbury, a long-term Labor voter has already voted early for the Greens, saying she didn't feel heard by ALP candidate Susan Lamb.

Vivian Salisbury talks with journalist Vanessa Marsh. Picture: Peter Wallis
Vivian Salisbury talks with journalist Vanessa Marsh. Picture: Peter Wallis

"I was going to vote for Susan despite the citizenship shenanigans, but I asked some of the people doing her campaign if she knew about Ben Diggles' project (an oyster recycling project re-establishing shellfish reefs within the Pumicestone Passage) and they said they'd check with her and get back to me but no one ever contacted me," she said.

"I would have voted for Labor if Albanese was in charge because he's a lot more personable, or even if Susan Lamb or her people had gotten back to me," she said.

"I understand she's probably flat-chat, but people need to feel heard and that their views have just as much weight as anyone else's, and that wasn't the case."

Bribie Island mums Holli Suchoronczak and Ruby Clark said funding for education and child care would help secure their votes.

"I'll usually vote for whoever has the best (policies)," Ms Suchoronczak said.

"I think it's good the area is getting some attention."

 

Journalist Michael Wray. Picture: Lachie Millard
Journalist Michael Wray. Picture: Lachie Millard

 

COMMUTERS SAY NO TO POLITICS - MICHAEL WRAY

COMMUTERS making their way around Longman on public transport on Monday confessed to being totally underwhelmed about voting on Saturday.

Retired, lifelong Labor voter and former union delegate Judith Thomas perhaps spoke for most as she made her way from Caboolture to the Telstra shop in Morayfield, where she planned to "have a whinge".

"For the first time in my life, I don't want to vote," she said.

"There's no one there who I would vote for so I'm just going to opt out then just go to jail. I'd rather go to jail, at least it would be a new experience."

Sitting next to her, Helen Pratt, in her Maroons hoodie and proud of her 25 years residence in Caboolture, was also headed for Morayfield.

Like Ms Thomas, she was fantasising about not voting on Saturday but, like Ms Thomas, she also conceded she'd have to mark something on a ballot paper on Saturday.

One Nation seemed quite appealing - "gee, Pauline can really give it to them" - but she leans towards Labor and agreed with the results of Monday's The Courier-Mail/You Gov.

Galaxy polling showing the party would be more popular if Anthony Albanese replaced Bill Shorten as Opposition Leader.



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