Shayne backs Shorten as next Labor leader

RESPECT: Re-elected Blair MP Shayne Neumann will back Bill Shorten (right) as new Labor Party leader, if he puts his hand-up for the job.
RESPECT: Re-elected Blair MP Shayne Neumann will back Bill Shorten (right) as new Labor Party leader, if he puts his hand-up for the job. Rob Williams

BLAIR MP Shayne Neumann will back Bill Shorten as the new Labor Party leader if - as expected - he puts up his hand-up for the role.

Mr Shorten launched Mr Neumann's election campaign in Ipswich and has long been regarded as a potential prime minister by leading Labor figures.

"It is no secret that I am very good mates with Bill Shorten and I have enormous regard and respect for him," Mr Neumann said.

"If he puts his hand up to run, he will certainly have my vote."

Mr Neumann's seat of Blair has gone from being a marginal seat in Queensland to one of the safest Labor strongholds after what he referred to as a Barack Obama-style campaign on the ground.

At yesterday's count Mr Neumann had a 1.43% swing to him and had captured 55.67% of the two party preferred vote

Mr Neumann said there were three reasons behind his third victory Blair.

Internal Labor polling showed clearly that Kevin Rudd was popular in Ipswich, hence the billboards and promotional material that featured Mr Neumann and Mr Rudd.

Secondly, the LNP State Government cuts to funding, services and jobs alarmed working class Labor-voting suburbs, where residents feared a double dose of cuts under a Tony Abbott federal government.

"That is why we saw big swings to Labor in places like Collingwood Park, Redbank Plains, North Ipswich and very strong swings in One Mile, Leichhardt and Raceview," Mr Neumann said.

Mr Neumann said his strategic campaign was the third factor in his favour.

He said LNP candidate Teresa Harding had spent time waving at traffic in Brown's Park in North Ipswich, while his team was engaged in targeted phone canvassing and direct mailing in that suburb detailing exactly what Labor had done for the area.

"It was an Obama-like campaign here on the ground in Blair," Mr Neumann said.

"We had up to 40 people making close to 25,000 phone calls into people's houses and we door-knocked far more households than the Coalition ever did... and we did them in strategic areas.

"I am very proud of the nearly 260 people who worked on election day for us. It was the most professionally-run, well resourced and strongest campaign that I have been associated with in my 30 years of involvement with the Labor Party in Ipswich."

Mr Neumann is tipped to hold a key role in Labor's shadow executive.

He would not pre-empt anything, saying it would be up to the caucus and the new leader to decide what role he would play.

But his performance in Parliament since 2007 and his big win in Blair were likely to stand him in good stead.

Mr Neumann said he had a solid record in the areas of health, community services, and indigenous affairs.



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