By Jeremy Sollars
Former mayor Tracy Dobie has declined to comment on suggestions she intends to nominate as an independent candidate for the seat of Southern Downs at the State election due in late October.
Queenslanders will go to the polls on Saturday 31 October with our local electorate of Southern Downs currently represented by the LNP’s James Lister.
Southern Downs is considered a ‘safe’ LNP seat with Mr Lister sitting on a margin of just over 13 per cent, the fifth safest LNP electorate in Queensland.
The Australian Labor Party has named its candidate to go up against Mr Lister in October, announcing it has nominated Joel Richters, who contested the seat for Labor at the last Queensland election in 2017.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has today nominated Rosemary Moulden – of Murray’s Bridge near Warwick – who stood as that party’s candidate at the 2019 federal election in Maranoa.
Several local sources have suggested to the Free Times Tracy Dobie intends to run as an independent for Southern Downs in 2020. Ms Dobie did not respond to an email from us posing the question other than to enquire as to where the information came from, which we did not disclose.
The Free Times asked James Lister for comment and he responded saying, “Yes, I’ve heard those rumours too”.
“It’s a great thing that we live in a democracy and anyone can put themselves forward for election,” Mr Lister said this week.
“If Tracy Dobie runs against me, I will wish her well.”
Ms Dobie was herself a financial member of the Queensland LNP for a time during her term as mayor but she is understood to not be a current member.
Several current councillors – along with Mayor Vic Pennisi – are current LNP members, including Andrew Gale, Cynthia McDonald, Cameron Gow and Jo McNally.
Crs Gow and McNally stood unsuccessfully for LNP pre-selection for the state seat of Southern Downs ahead of the 2017 election.
Current Goondiwindi Deputy Mayor Rob Mackenzie stood as an independent for Southern Downs in 2017 after being likewise unsuccessful in gaining LNP pre-selection, quitting the party as a result.
Tension between Ms Dobie during her term as mayor and Mr Lister was no secret with the two at times openly trading criticism.
Ms Dobie was recently announced as the new president of the Warwick Chamber of Commerce.
As well as the Southern Downs Regional Council area the state seat of Southern Downs also covers the Goondiwindi and Inglewood areas and as far as Talwood and Weengallon to the west, along with Yandilla and Pampas and nearby districts to the north.
The October state election could be held by full postal ballot but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has not yet made an announcement on the voting method. She has also delayed the 2020-2021 state budget indefinitely citing COVID-19.
ONE NATION SEES QUEENSLAND OPPORTUNITY…
The announcement by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation of Rosemary Moulden as its 2020 Southern Downs state candidate follows a string of endorsements for Queensland seats by the party.
Josh Coyne stood for One Nation in Southern Downs at the 2017 state election and finished second to James Lister in the first-preference vote.
The party has so far named 15 candidates for the 2020 Queensland election including its one sitting State MP, Mirani’s Steve Andrew.
It has announced candidates in some of Queensland’s key ‘marginal’ seats including Keppel, Rockhampton and Maryborough, where it polled strongly in 2017.
In 2017 One Nation also polled strongly in the ‘safe’ ALP seats of Waterford, Ipswich and Gladstone.
THE ‘TRAD’ FACTOR…
State political observers have suggested the recent resignation of now-former Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad could work both for and against the opposition LNP.
Ms Trad quit her cabinet posts earlier this month after the announcement of a Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) enquiry into allegations she attempted to interfere in the selection of a high school principal in her inner-Brisbane electorate of South Brisbane.
She infuriated voters in key regional Queensland seats earlier this year when she suggested that workers in the coal industry should “re-train” in the face of the growth of the renewable energy industry.
While the LNP has been jubilant at the fall from power of Ms Trad – who is a member of the hard-line ‘Left’ faction of the Queensland ALP – her resignation ironically could improve the ALP’s chances in key regional seats at the 2020 election where she was seen by her own party as a political liability.