10 May 2023

How Cape York voters delivered another term for Warren Entsch

| Matt Nicholls
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DON’T take the Cape for granted.

That’s the message for all future candidates in Leichhardt after Cape York voters helped deliver Warren Entsch another term.

Of the 11 polling places in the Cape, Entsch won the two-party preferred count in eight of them, with Bamaga the only exception.

On Saturday, voters at Bamaga gave Elida Faith a small margin in the two-party preferred count.

Weipa’s Saturday ballot box went slightly in favour of Labor, but Entsch smashed the town’s overall vote when pre-polling was included.

Cooktown also went the way of the veteran MP.

For the first time, there were no voting booths in Aurukun or Napranum on election day, with the Australian Electoral Commission sending mobile teams to those communities – as well as other smaller places on the Cape – in the lead-up to the election date.

Speaking to Cape York Weekly, Mr Entsch thanked voters on the Peninsula for backing him again.

“We have delivered a lot of great outcomes for the Cape and I’m sure that was recognised,” he said on Sunday.

“The sealing of the Peninsula Developmental Road has been one of the best things we have done as a government and I really want to make sure the Albanese government continues that work. It’s been a massive winner for the region and the state government has been a great partner.

“We’ve put in better telecommunications throughout the region and I wasn’t finished yet.

“Interestingly I won at Lockhart River, which some might find surprising.”

Entsch had drawn plenty of criticism about the lack of good telecommunications in Lockhart and just before the election announced funding for Telstra to fix the issue.

His $2.5 million election promise to build a roof over the Weipa Bowls Club greens is unlikely to be realised, with Labor not matching the commitment.

Mr Entsch and the bowls club will now have to lobby the opposition to find the money in the next budget.

The results in Cape York would no doubt be disappointing for Labor. In state elections, the ALP usually shines in the polling booths on the Peninsula.

Ms Faith was dominant in the Torres Strait, winning the vote on Thursday Island.

For the other candidates, there was little to celebrate.

Former magistrate Pat O’Shane was the only Indigenous woman on the ballot paper and picked up her share of primary votes for the Socialist Alliance party – perhaps partly to do with being on top of the ballot paper.

Katter’s Australian Party candidate Rod Jensen performed well on his visits on the western Cape and was rewarded with some good primary votes in places like Weipa.

Cooktown voters are always a little bit different to the rest of Leichhardt and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation candidate Geena Court had her best result there with third place behind Mr Entsch and Ms Faith.

Silvia Mogorovich from the Informed Medical Opinions Party received just 1.8 per cent of the primary vote in Leichhardt, but was much more popular in Cooktown with 8.8 per cent of the primary.

The Remote Polling Booth 4 threw up a strange result – it was the only booth where Entsch didn’t make the top three in the primary vote after he slipped behind O’Shane, Faith and Jensen.

But bizarrely, Entsch still dominated the two-party preferred count 60-40.

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