Queensland candidates have their “teeth clenched” about the election result, but all believe grassroots politics has made a big comeback in the Sunshine State.

Eight marginal seats are in play, while popular local candidates are challenging what should be four fairly-safe seats.

Liberal National Party MP Warren Enstch says his far north seat of Leichhardt, which takes in Cairns and Cape York, is too close to call.

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The veteran MP doesn’t feel voters want to change the government, but says with more than ten candidates the preference flows could go anywhere.

“It’s not like the brickbats are out,” Mr Entsch told AAP.

“One of my challenges is I’m up against 11 candidates.

“And you’ve Get Up! here that’s trying to roll in and round up all the left, and on the ultra right you’ve got all the freedom candidates.”

Labor Senator Murray Watt hopes his party can make inroads in a number of seats.

However, he said expectations were being kept in check as Labor must overcome big margins the LNP achieved in 2019.

He said Labor candidates have been campaigning hard at a grassroots level.

“We’re sort of going into this with our teeth clenched to see what the what the real result will be,” he said.

“Between Albo and our Queensland team we’ve done a huge amount of work over the last three years to rebuild trust between the Queensland electorate and Labor at a federal level.”

Labor is also trying to sandbag in Griffith, where the Greens are hopeful of picking up their first-ever Queensland seat and second-ever in Australia.

Terri Butler holds the inner south and east Brisbane electorate once held by former prime minister Kevin Rudd, by a wafer-thin 2.86 per cent margin.

Greens candidate Max Chandler-Mather said the Griffith campaign has been focused on local issues like reducing aircraft noise from Brisbane Airport and flood clean-ups.

“It is the most comprehensive, broad-reaching campaign we’ve ever run. We have reached into literally every part of the electorate,” he told AAP. 

He said exit polling has been encouraging, but like many other seats, Griffith is just too close to call.

In the seat of Groom, which takes in Toowoomba and parts of the Darling Downs, independent candidate Suzie Holt is trying to unseat first-term LNP MP Garth Hamilton.

He enjoys a 9.83 per cent margin in an electorate that’s been held by Nationals, Liberals or the LNP since its inception in 1984.

Ms Holt, who’s endorsed by the grassroots “Voices of” campaign, says local issues like regional development and the Inland Rail project took centre stage.

“I think once you start taking things back to the communities and they feel like you’re being heard, they embrace it,” she told AAP.

“It’s like even if we don’t get over the line, what we’ve done for Queensland has shown that there is an exciting and different way of doing politic.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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