Neumann powers on for fourth Blair term
DISCIPLINE. Determination. Drive.
Victorious Blair MP Shayne Neumann has based his political career on those qualities and the voters of Ipswich have given him the green light to continue to display them for a fourth term.
Mr Neumann celebrated what he called his "sweetest victory" at Ipswich Turf Club on Saturday night with family and supporters after securing his best ever result in Blair and a swing of 4% to him.
"The Labor Party has smashed the LNP in Blair and the vote is higher than the 2007 vote," he said.
"This is my sweetest victory and a victory for the true believers.
"It is my best result in Blair by a long way.
"This shows great confidence in our campaign and I feel very honoured that I have been entrusted to be the people of Blair's member again, because I have lived in this community all my life and I am a local through and through.
"I have worked hard for the local community on education, jobs, infrastructure and health.
"They are my mantras."
Mr Neumann's staff rang every single household in Brassall and Raceview and those two key suburbs brought significant swings to him in several booths where the ALP doubled the LNP's primary vote.
"We ran a terrific campaign last time (in 2013) but we ran a better campaign this time because we were more targeted, more focused and more energetic," Mr Neumann said. "Last time we had outside help from the party organisation and from unions because we were under siege.
"But this time, while we had financial support from donors who contributed to our campaign, it was a local campaign organised by local people in Ipswich and Somerset to win a local election in Blair.
"My campaign staff have worked tirelessly and I want to give particular praise to Melissa Hockey my chief of staff, who took over Jen Howard's role, and who has organised, co-ordinated and worked tirelessly to make sure this is was a well- functioning, disciplined and determined campaign.
"Discipline, determination and drive are what characterises the Labor Party in Ipswich and Somerset."
They also characterise Mr Neumann.
Why did he win?
In essence, because he works bloody hard for Ipswich.
The QT has written about the numerous funding wins Mr Neumann was able get for Ipswich across a wide variety of projects when Labor was in power.
But it is a fallacy to say that Mr Neumann has not been effective when the Coalition has been in power.
The Blair MP has banged on about the need to upgrade the Darra to Rocklea section of the Ipswich Motorway for years and was able to convincer Bill Shorten that the ALP needed to commit to and budget for $200 million to get the project going.
Mr Shorten came to Ipswich to announce the funding in this campaign, and not longer after the LNP matched it. Mr Neumann's leadership in this regard cannot be underestimated.
"On top of that I have secured many community grants for the local area," he said.
"Even the day before the election, there was $20,000 for the Ipswich Meals on Wheels.
"When you are in opposition you have to fight like a Kilkenny cat to get those funds.
"Just because there is money available in a program doesn't mean you are going to get it. You've got to fight for it."
The seat of Blair is hard to retain for a Labor MP due to its regional reach and the fact that many voters in the seat are conservative on social policy in particular.
But Mr Neumann polled extraordinarily well in the Somerset region in centres such as Toogoolawah, Glamorgan Vale, Coominya, Fernvale and Rosewood.
So it is not hard to gauge why his fourth consecutive win in Blair was so sweet.