Candidates ahead of the game
HOPEFUL candidates for federal government launched their campaigns in the Maranoa electorate this month, with both Labor and Katter’s Australian Party representatives throwing their hats in the ring for a 2019 election yet to be announced.
KATTER’S Australian Party candidate Anthony Wallis started off his pre-election run in Toowoomba.
Mr Wallis, who farms at Hannaford, west of Tara, has lived in the Maranoa for most of his life, and said his decision to run for office was not only for the region, but for his family.
“I’m a married man with four kids; watching my kids get older and watching the direction we are taking on a lot of issues, I thought ‘I want them to have the same opportunities I have had growing up’,” he said.
“I want them to have the same opportunities for jobs, and also the same pride that I have had in Australia.”
Looking to shake things up in a long-held seat, Mr Wallace said he thought there was “a bit of a disconnect”. “In the past, Maranoa has been a very strong LNP and former National seat, and I think the LNP is losing touch with this bush,” he said.
Labor-endorsed candidate Linda Little is from Blackbutt, in the northern reaches of the Maranoa electorate, where she lives and farms with her husband and two foster children.
Ms Little said community involvement and time spent in small businesses had helped her understand regional issues, namely employment and education.
“My years of experience on the land and within our community working on the front line, alongside locals in our area, has best prepared me to understand the real issues facing our community,” she said.
“I know how tough it can be for workers to find secure work in our region.
“We get plenty of lip service from the LNP but I’m 100 per cent committed to properly funding our region’s schools and healthcare services, and
creating more local jobs.”
The incumbent Member for Maranoa and current Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, has held office since 2016. Seeing other locals start their campaigns for the federal seat, Mr Littleproud said he was excited about the lead-up to a future election.
“That’s the beauty of democracy. I welcome the candidates and it’s a beautiful thing that we live in a country where people can put their names forward to want to represent the community,” he said.
Having been in the Maranoa seat for more than two years now, Mr Littleproud has ticked off a number of achievements.
“I’m proud to say that just last week I tipped over $4 billion worth of federal government support to the electorate of Maranoa over the two-and-a-half years I’ve been the federal member,” he said. “That’s around infrastructure, roads, telecommunications, education and health, but more importantly one of the issues that I’ve been championing and that worries me the most is around drug addiction.
“I’ve been at the fore trying to make sure we get the most appropriate amount of resources for people in Maranoa to tackle the scourge of addiction and particularly the scourge of ice.”
Looking forward, the minister is happy to maintain the course when it comes to representing the fifth-largest electorate in the country.
“I think the important thing is continuing on with making sure we get our fair share of infrastructure and federal government spending,” he said.
As for the date of an election, that’s the PM’s call.
“That’s at the discretion of the Prime Minister, but obviously we’ve talked about having a budget in early April and we also have to have a half-senate election by May 18,” he said. “Convention says that we would normally have a house of representatives election combined with that.
“So, somewhere between now and May 18 is when I would expect the Prime Minister to call an election.”