READY TO WORK: One Nation candidate Chelle Dobson says both major parties have let Gympie down
READY TO WORK: One Nation candidate Chelle Dobson says both major parties have let Gympie down Patrick Woods

Gympie, meet your local One Nation candidate

UNITY is the name of the game following a dizzying beginning to the week for Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

WA Senator Rodney Culleton's resignation from the party this morning follows an increasingly tense relationship with Ms Hanson and has led to questions about the party's ongoing stability.

In Gympie, where polling shows One Nation is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, their recently announced candidate Chelle Dobson is confident in the party's ability to remain united.

"When Pauline was selecting candidates for the election, loyalty was a major criteria," she says.

"She wanted people who were going to take their political career seriously and stick with the party."

Ms Dobson was one of 36 new candidates announced for the upcoming state election - it's a number that reflects a growing dissatisfaction with the major parties.

She is keenly aware of the importance of stability to her success as a candidate after a dubious debut for the party in 2001.

The last One Nation candidate elected in Gympie, Elisa Roberts, left the party after a year and ran as an independent.

"If elected, I certainly will be staying in the party," she says.

"I'm committed to being a voice for this community."

Describing herself as semi-retired, Ms Dobson said she was spurred on to put her hand up as a candidate following disappointing performances from both Labor and the Coalition.

The widespread issues surrounding unemployment in Gympie are a major concern to Ms Dobson, and are expected to form the crux of her public campaign (expected to begin early next year).

"We're not going anywhere - Queensland is stagnant," she says.

"I believe there's too much of a focus on the major cities - but when regional centres thrive, big cities thrive too."

Unemployment figures, she argues, only show half of the story - with those only able to work for a few hours a week deprived of the benefits received by those who don't work at all.

Critical of the performance of the incumbent Coalition representatives, Ms Dobson says a position on the opposition backbench didn't mean substantial economic progress for towns like Gympie was a pipe dream.

"There are a lot of projects being announced for the area that never really seem to go anywhere," she says.

"They're employees of the people, and I don't believe they're pushing hard enough - I wouldn't be a silent backbencher."

Ms Dobson was asked why Gympie residents should elect her.

"Because I will be their voice in parliament," she says.

"There are so many things that need to be fixed here, but there are also so many opportunities for this region as well."

Gympie Times


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