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THE race is on for what is considered to be the safe State Liberal-National seat of Gympie.

But anything can, and often does, happen in politics.

Six candidates - two women and four men - have thrown their hats in the ring for Gympie in the March 24 election, representing the whole spectrum of the Australian political landscape - One Nation, Bob Katter's Australian Party, Family First, the LNP, Labor and The Greens.

The Gympie Times will endeavour to fully inform our readers on the make-up of the candidates they must choose between later this month, where each candidate stands on the issues that are important to the people of this electorate and what actions they would take in relation to those issues if elected.

Using our newspaper, our website and social media over the next few weeks, we will be asking you, our readers, to tell us exactly what you want us to ask the candidates, and what issues you see as this region's most pressing.

We launch that coverage today with a profile on each candidate and a brief mention of what they see as the big issues.

See profiles of each of the candidates here

The Gympie electorate covers the city of Gympie and its surrounding rural areas, along with Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach, Cooran, Pomona and parts of the Mary Valley.

Politics has played a strong part in the region's history, going all the way back to late 1800s, when gold mine worker Andrew Fisher was elected as the first president of the Gympie branch of the Labor Party before going on to become Prime Minister in 1910.

According to the website thetallyroom.com, the seat of Gympie was first created in 1873.

It was abolished in 1950, and restored in 1960. Barring two terms in the early 2000s, the seat has always been won by the Country/National party since its restoration in 1960.

Max Hodges won the seat for the Country Party in 1960, and held the seat until 1979.

Len Stephan won the seat for the National Country Party in 1979, and held it until his retirement in 2001.

Upon Mr Stephan's retirement in 2001, his seat was lost to One Nation's Elisa Roberts.

Ms Roberts left One Nation in early 2002.

She won a second term in 2004, but lost the seat in 2006 to the National Party's David Gibson.

Mr Gibson won a second term and increased his majority in 2009.

Thetallyroom.com says Gympie is the safest LNP seat in Queensland.

Queensland is divided into 89 electoral districts and each district, or electorate, is represented by a single member in parliament.

The boundaries of those electorates are changed on average every eight years and no redistribution has been carried out in Queensland since August, 2008.

Voting is compulsory in Queensland.

People of voting age (18 years) who don't vote in a state election may be fined.

Following a state election or by-election the names of electors who appear to have not voted are ascertained using a scanning process.

The Electoral Commission then begins the non-voter process.

An Apparent Failure to Vote notice is sent to all electors identified as having not voted.

The elector is given the opportunity to provide the Commission with a valid reason for failing to vote or if they failed to vote to pay the half penalty unit ($50).

For more information visit the Electoral Commission Queensland website at www.ecq.qld.gov.au.

See profiles of each of the candidates here

Gympie Times


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