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Liberals line up for Blair battle

Sarah Harvey

LNP candidates are lining up to take on Labor MP Shayne Neumann for his Federal seat of Blair at the next election.

Party sources have told the Queensland Times that 22 people have applied to be pre-selected by the LNP to run for Blair and more could join the race.

Mr Neumann holds Blair with a margin of 4.2 per cent after a 2.7% swing to the LNP at the 2010 election.

LNP state director Brad Henderson said the party had "about 20 people" so far wanting to contest Blair for the LNP.

"That's one of the highest numbers in the state," he said.

"We've had about 150 expressions of interest in the 10 seats the LNP doesn't hold. Obviously that represents a great interest in those communities for a change of government.

"This feeling is almost unprecedented in the Ipswich area; we've had about the same number of people applying for Oxley as well."

In the seat of Oxley, Bernie Ripoll holds a 5.8% margin after it was halved at the 2010 election

Nominations for LNP pre-selection close on Friday with the announcement of candidates expected in July.

Mr Neumann said he wasn't interested in how many people wanted to contest his seat, saying it was up to the people to decide.

"It's up to the LNP who they pre-select. I've got no influence on that; I'm in the Labor Party," he said. "All I know is that I'm delivering for the people of Blair and I'll be judged on my record at the next election, whether it's the Ipswich Motorway, the Blacksoil interchange or more community infrastructure for Ipswich, the record amount of money put into the area - all of which the Coalition has opposed."

The latest Newspoll has shown a slight recovery in the ALP vote, but it still trails the Coalition 54:46 on a two-party preferred basis.

Julia Gillard has, however, recovered her lead as preferred prime minister over Tony Abbott.

Former Liberal member Cameron Thompson, who was heavily defeated by Shayne Neumann in the 2007 election, did little to hold his delight.

Mr Thompson now works as a media adviser for Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg.

"It's wonderful isn't it? It's fantastic," Mr Thompson said.

"It's good to see there's so much strong interest in the seat of Blair."

Asked if he had any thoughts of nominating again for Blair, he said he was more than satisfied with his current job.

"No, everything's all cool with me. I'm enjoying working in health," he said




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