WHY I’M BACKING MAYOR MARGARET
Qld Premier throws her support behind Margaret Strelow as Labor’s battle to replace Rocky MP Bill Byrne heats up
❝today I have only come out in relation to who I believe is the best person (for the job) — Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
ON THE back of a glowing endorsement from the Queensland premier, Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow yesterday confirmed she would lodge documents for her Labor preselection nomination.
Cr Strelow said she was taking each step in the process as it came and would not speculate on the outcome of either the preselection or eventual election.
“There is still a process,” she said.
“Should I be successful it’s on to the election.
“I do not take either the preselection or the election for granted.
“For now I am heartily and completely committed to my role as mayor.”
The state election must be called before May 2018, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday said the date had still not been decided.
It’s understood the Rockhampton preselection process could take some weeks to be completed.
Ms Palaszczuk had earlier given a glowing endorsement of Cr Strelow, saying she would be “an outstanding candidate” in the upcoming state election.
Speaking to media in Brisbane, the Premier indicated her support for the mayor, who has yet to formally nominate for Labor preselection.
“She has been a strong voice for Rockhampton,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“She has been an excellent mayor and if she chooses to step up and run for that seat, she would have my blessing.”
On Thursday, former long-serving Rockhampton MP and state minister Robert Schwarten said he would nominate if his preferred candidate, Queensland Teachers’ Union organiser Dan Coxen, was ruled ineligible.
Ms Palaszczuk said no one could dispute the “great contribution” of Mr Schwarten to Rockhampton.
In response to a question about what this meant for the party, Ms Palaszczuk said she had not previously publicly backed any particular candidate.
“I have only come out today in relation to who I believe is the best person, if she chooses to put her hand up,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I have worked extensively with Margaret through both tropical
cyclone Marcia and the floods that were the aftermath of tropical cyclone Debbie.
“She has been fighting for jobs in that region and she is a strong voice for Rockhampton.”
Ms Palaszczuk refused to
say she was publicly backing Cr Strelow, saying she would “have my blessing”.
She said she was “not at all” concerned Rockhampton’s preselection battle was an outbreak of factional discontent within the party.
One journalist posed the question, “if you guys can’t pull together a couple of months out from the election, what hope have you got?”.
“This is just normal, it happens in all parties,” Ms Palaszczuk replied.
“People indicate their
preferences one way or another.”
Ms Palaszczuk said it was “not really” unusual for a former minister to threaten to nominate if their preferred candidate was not endorsed.
SUPPORT: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow.
PREMIER’S PICK: Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow looks over the Fitzroy River with Queensland Premier Annastacia PalaszczuK during April’s flood.