Forget all the analysis you have read about the election being decided in Western Sydney.
The big play is on in Queensland and it is happening this week.
A Katter/Rudd preference deal will be a game changer. And the mail I've received from sources across the political spectrum is that it's on.
This is the scenario: Labor will send their senate preferences to Katter before the Greens. This will almost certainly ensure that James Blundell, takes a seat in the red chamber.
In return, Katter will direct preferences to Labor in all lower house seats.
It's a no-brainer for Kevin Rudd. The Greens might get a little miffed, but they are still going to preference Labor anyway – they've nowhere else to go.
Securing Katter's vote will be a huge boost for a Prime Minister desperate to offset losses in other states. It could deliver Rudd seats in Queensland that were never in play before. In short, with opinion polls once more turning against Labor, the only way Kevin from Queensland will remain in power is if he secures this deal.
It's also an attractive option for Bob Katter but it does contain risks for him. While almost guaranteeing a foothold in the senate, a deal could also alienate his conservative base and upset candidates who overwhelmingly want to see the back of Rudd.
But as parties must lodge candidate nominations tomorrow and senate preferences are not finalised until Saturday, jumpy Katter candidates will be locked in before they have a chance to protest.
So, what exactly would a deal with Katter mean for Rudd's chances and the outcome for Australia on September 7?
A lot, is the answer.
Katter's impact at the Queensland Election last year is not well understood and has been largely underestimated.
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