Former Murweh mayor to stand for Labor in Warrego
THE mayor who led Charleville through the 2011 floods will attempt to do what hasn't been done in 40 years - win Warrego for Labor.
Mark O'Brien immediately expressed concerns over the LNP's response to the drought and its concentration on the mining industry when he was announced as the Labor candidate for Warrego on Monday.
He came to national prominence as the Murweh Shire mayor when Charleville flooded in 2011.
Mr O'Brien said the LNP government had ignored the rural Queensland industries.
"I think the bush would be really keen if they had somebody who actually represented them who actually brought their concerns to the table," he said.
"You know we hear about the mining industry regularly in the media. There's a fantastic industry in the bush called the sheep and wool industry that the government's taken their eye off. It's an industry waiting to be reborn."
At the 2012 election Mr O'Brien stood as an independent in Warrego where he outpolled the Labor candidate.
LNP Warrego MP Howard Hobbs, who has represented the electorate since 1986, will retire at the next election. The LNP has preselected Ann Leahy as Warrego candidate.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said Ms Leahy was a strong candidate who LNP members chose.
"I'm pretty sure Ann Leahy will make a good fist of representing us in Warrego," he said.
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said, if elected, Mr O'Brien would be Labor's "eyes for rural Queensland" because he was passionate about the bush.
"It's going to be a tough fight. We know it's going to be tough out there in the bush. But we have the right person and Mark O'Brien is that person for the seat of Warrego," she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said Mr O'Brien was not a Labor member when selected.
While Warrego has been a safe National, and now LNP, seat since the 1974 election it wasn't always. From 1908 to 1974 Labor held the seat.
Members elected to Warrego generally hold their seat for over a decade. Neil Turner was elected for the then Country Party in 1974 and held the seat for 12 years. In 1986 Howard Hobbs replaced him and held it for 19 years.
Only two MPs have held the seat for less than 10 years since 1908 - Labor's Jack Aiken and Harry O'Shea - while two Labor MPs, John Dufficy and Randolph Bedford, held it for 18 years each.
- APN NEWSDESK