Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles who: Picture: Anna Rogers
Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles who: Picture: Anna Rogers

State MPs enter fray over federal leadership

Two members of Queensland's state Labor Government have made a dramatic intervention in Labor's deputy leadership race, urging their federal colleagues not to vote for Richard Marles claiming it would be a "slap in the face". 

Mr Marles is widely-tipped to be elected as deputy Labor leader when federal caucus meets in Canberra on Thursday, fending off a challenge from fellow Victorian Clare O'Neil.

But in an eleventh-hour intervention, two members of the Palaszczuk Government - Mackay's Julieanne Gilbert and Rockhampton's Barry O'Rourke - have written to federal colleagues urging them to vote against Mr Marles claiming his views on coal are "radically out of touch".

"Voting for Richard Marles to be in the leadership team of the Federal Labor Party would be a slap in the face to Queensland," Mr O'Rourke wrote.

"Richard Marles should not expect to be welcomed in our electorates of Mackay and Rockhampton."

The backlash against Mr Marles follows comments he made during an interview on Sky in February when he declared it would be "a good thing" if the thermal coal sector collapsed, despite it being the nation's top export industry, pumping billions into the Australian economy last year.

 

 

Barry O’Rourke’s letter to federal counterparts urging them not to vote for Richard Marles.
Barry O’Rourke’s letter to federal counterparts urging them not to vote for Richard Marles.

 

Julienne Gilbert’s letter.
Julienne Gilbert’s letter.

"His views on the coal and jobs it supports are so radically out-of-touch that they were even endorsed by the Greens," Ms Gilbert wrote.

 

 

Clare O'Neil is tipped to contest the deputy leader role.
Clare O'Neil is tipped to contest the deputy leader role.

"We will always stand up for jobs, including jobs in the coal industry, despite what Richard Marles may think."

"Our constituents are not less entitled to a job than his," she wrote.

The split comes one week after Labor's wipe-out in Queensland in the federal election which prompted Queensland state's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to demand a "definitive time frame" on approvals for the Adani mine.

More to come.



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