Warrego MP Howard Hobbs' political career has reached the end of the line after 29 years.
Warrego MP Howard Hobbs' political career has reached the end of the line after 29 years. Contributed

Warrego electorate eyes new political candidates

WARREGO voters will be faced with a very different ballot paper to that of the last state election when they head to polling booths on January 31.

For the first time in 29 years, Howard Hobbs will not be contesting the election, replaced instead by his long-serving electorate officer Ann Leahy.

Ms Leahy was chosen to stand for the Liberal National Party in what has traditionally been a safe seat for the party.

And that is exactly what Australian Labor Party candidate Mark O'Brien will be hoping to change.

Mr O'Brien contested the last election as an independent but was invited by Labor Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk to join the ALP ranks this time around.

Mr O'Brien served as Murweh Shire Council mayor for eight years and still lives in Charleville.

He said he agreed to join the ALP to give Warrego voters a "genuine choice".

"Unless we make Warrego a marginal seat, we will continue to be overlooked," Mr O'Brien said.

"Let's make a change to tell both the major parties that we're interested out here and we expect some attention.

"We can't keep doing what we've always done and expect a change."

Running against the major parties will be the Roma-based Ruth Golden, standing as an independent.

Ms Golden said she was not surprised at the snap election announcement, saying she was as ready as she could be.

"For the seat of Warrego, it will be about population retention and keeping government services," she said.

"Whatever options we've got, we've got to fight to keep those services.

"It's a safe LNP seat, but I'm hoping people will think of me as a real-life candidate and with real-life experience."

Ms Leahy said the last thing Queenslanders wanted was a "long, drawn-out election campaign".

"This means we'll have certainty sooner and can get on with the job of making Queensland stronger," she said.

"There is more work to be done to upgrade our health facilities, more roads, and strengthening our local industries and jobs that sustain our communities."

Candidate nominations close at noon on January 13.

If you recently turned 18 and are yet to vote, or you need to change your address, you better be quick - the deadline is Saturday, January 10.  

Click here to enrol or change your details. 


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