Political experts: What went wrong for Labor in Flynn
POLITICAL experts say a shake-up is needed to the Australian Labor Party to regain support in regional electorates including Flynn.
Sweeping support for the Coalition was seen in Flynn, Capricornia and Dawson in the Federal Election off the back of the Liberal National Party's campaign against Labor's policies on negative gearing, franking credits and climate change.
Despite several visits to Flynn from now former Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Labor frontbenchers, the party was unable to shift votes in their direction in the rural parts of the electorate.
University of Queensland's School of Political Science and International Studies' Chris Salisbury said Labor needed changes at all levels if it wanted support from regional voters.
Ahead of this year's election Flynn was described as a key seat with Mr O'Dowd hanging on by a slim margin of one per cent.
But Dr Salisbury said it was likely Flynn would be considered a safe LNP seat again.
On a two-party preferred basis Mr O'Dowd has 40,414 votes, about 9000 more than Labor candidate Zac Beers.
Mr Beers is yet to concede a defeat with about 15,000 pre-poll and postal votes still to be counted.
"(Labor) hasn't failed for lack of trying ... Shorten and other prominent Labor frontbenchers made a regular habit of visiting Queensland the the Bill Bus was quite recognisable," Dr Salisbury said.
"Not enough voters seem to be convinced.
"I'd hate to suggest it comes down to things like personality but it may well mean they need to choose a leader who is more palatable with regional voters.
"From the top down Labor is going to have to revisit how it presents itself before the next election."
Dr Salisbury said Adani's Carmichael Mine also played a key part in the Coalition's success.
Dawson and Capricornia incumbent Nationals MPs George Christensen and Michelle Landry have retained their seats.
Dr Salisbury said preferences were key to Mr O'Dowd's success, given his primary vote dropped compared to 2016.
This year Mr O'Dowd had a 1.07 per cent swing against him in first preference votes.
In 2016 32,293 voters put a one next to the three-term MP's name, compared to 26,059 this year.
Meanwhile One Nation secured a larger percentage of first preference votes this year, with a 2.86 swing towards candidate Sharon Lohse.
"In the past it's been unpredictable where One Nation and United Australia Party voters would send their preferences, but it looks like arrangements made between the Coalition and the UAP ... and One Nation has paid dividends," Dr Salisbury said.
Queensland University of Technology political lecturer and former Member for Forde Mary Crawford said the result showed Clive Palmer's $80 million advertising campaign struck a chord with regional voters.
She agreed preferences from One Nation and United Australia Party secured Mr O'Dowd his strong lead.
"What the results show is that Flynn is divided, because some areas have strongly voted in support of Zac Beers and others for Ken O'Dowd," she said.
"One would assume people were attracted to Scott Morrison and they took notice of Clive Palmer and the pro-Adani campaigns."
She said the suspension of the Gladstone Ports Corporation contractor could have swayed some undecided voters against Labor.
The 49-year-old's contract was suspended after he asked Bill Shorten a question about tax during a visit to Gladstone Ports Corporation.
Dr Crawford said because Labor released more policies than the LNP it opened the party up to criticism from the Coalition.
Dr Salisbury and Dr Crawford expected pre-poll and postal votes to have similar trends seen in the results so far.
Mr O'Dowd and Mr Beers have not commented on the results since 9pm last night.