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ELECTION 2020: Candidates in the seat of Southern Downs

The four electorates which encompass the Darling Downs and South West Queensland are among the Liberal National Party’s strongest seats in the state. So strong is the LNP’s foothold to the north and the west of Toowoomba, that a 10 percent swing would be required to topple the party in it’s most at-risk electorate in the region, Warrego. But the year is 2020 and, as we’ve seen, stranger things have happened. Australia is in economic recession, Queensland has as an unemployment rate above 7 percent and the state’s debt has been the worst in the nation since before the pandemic. The fallout of the pandemic has polarised opinion of how Queensland’s economic and social challenges should be managed, and thus the election will inevitably produce some interesting results. Polling opens on Monday, October 19, ahead of election day on Saturday, October 31. To assist in deciding which candidates to vote for in the seats of Callide, Condamine, Southern Downs and Warrego, the Country Caller is published and election and candidate profile for each seat. Map images have been supplied by the Electoral Commission Queensland. Visit the ECQ website for more information about the election, including polling booth locations.

See the Caller’s election guide for the seat of Callide here.

See the Caller’s election guide for the seat of Condamine here.

Harry Clarke, Editor

SOUTHERN DOWNS

Map of the Southern Downs electorate

SITTING MP: James Lister

PARTY: Liberal National Party

MARGIN: 13.1%

BACKGROUND: Aside from the outback seat of Gregory, Deb Frecklington’s seat of Nanango and two other seats in the party heartland of the Gold Coast, Southern Downs is the LNP’s strongest electorate. Southern Downs covers rich farming country, encompassing larger rural towns such as Goondiwindi, Warwick and Stanthorpe, and running along a significant stretch of the NSW border. It’s a relatively new seat, established in 2001 to cover the former seats of Carnarvon and Warwick. Since then it’s been held by the Nationals or the LNP. Sitting members have included former Opposition Leader and current Goondiwindi mayor, Lawrence Springborg. At the 2017 election, some six election booths polled majorities for the LNP above 70 percent.

2017 ELECTION RESULTS:

SOUTHERN DOWNS 2020 CANDIDATES:

*Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by surname.

GNS – Tom Henderson

Despite repeated attempts by the Caller to contact The Greens media representatives to obtain profile information on Tom Henderson, no information has been provided. Mr Henderson’s profile on The Greens website is a generic paragraph that appears on several of the party’s candidates.

LNP – James Lister MP

James Lister had a 17 year career with in the Royal Australian Airforce before becoming the Member for Southern Downs at the 2017 election. He was deployed to the Middle East during the war on terror and earned the Australian Active Service Medal and the Afghanistan Medal. Mr Lister is a father of two and serves as member of the Legal Affairs Community Safety Committee. He lists “cutting red tape” and creating “less government interference in our every day lives” on his website among his aims as an MP.

ONP – Rosemary Moulden

Rosemary Moulden ran for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party in the seat of Maranoa in the 2019 federal election, and now turns her attention to Southern Downs. Ms Moulden has been a registered nurse and homoeopath and currently runs a beef production small business with her husband. On her Facebook page, Ms Moudlen lists “protecting voters lives and livelihood from overregulation” and “advocating for reliable and affordable energy” among her goals if elected.

SFF – Malcolm Richardson

Malcom Richardson is the State Leader and Secretary of the Shooters, Farmers and Fishers Party. A chef by trade, he was also the party’s candidate for the seat of Maranoa at the 2019 federal election. He lives at Wattle Ridge, near Millmerran. Mr Richardson campaigns on his belief that “at our most basic core, Australian’s deserve and demand the rights to defend themselves, their family and their property.”

ALP – Joel Richters

Joel Richters grew up near Childers and currently residents in Goondiwindi, where he has worked for Darling Downs Health, and served as chair of board for Care Goondiwindi and as a member of the Warwick Chamber of Commerce. Mr Richter also had an eight-year career with the Australian Defence Force. His profile on the ALP website says he would “fight for better local jobs, protecting frontline health service” and improved infrastructure in rural areas.

LCQ – Deborah Waldron

As co-founder of the Legalise Cannabis Queensland party (formed in June 2020) Deborah Waldron is a retired country GP and career advocate for cannabis law reform. “Dr Deb”, as she’s known, lives in Goondiwindi with her husband and is grandmother to a “brood” of grandchildren. The LCP website says Ms Waldron’s experience in treating palliative care patients, and her personal experience as melanoma sufferer, has convinced her that “this unique and amazing plant (cannabis) is capable of safely relieving the pain and suffering of millions”.

Thumbs up, Button up: Jockey and trainer in double victory at Rocky TAB meeting

Nathan Thomas celebrates a win on Miss Lot Won
Miss Lot Won wins the 1200m Capricorn Yearling Sales QTIS 3YO Guineas at Rockhampton

In flashes of red silks, jockey Nathan Thomas and trainer Tom Button teamed up to claim victory in both feature races at the Rockhampton Jockey Club and St Peter’s School annual TAB race meeting.

The 4&5YO Handicap 1300m and the 3YO Guineas 1200m were exclusively for horses sold through the Capricorn Yearling Sales, and prize money for the two races totalled $225,000.

Flying Crackerjack led the whole way and held off a big finish by stablemate The Tax Accountant to win the 1300m Handicap.

In the 1200m Guineas it seemed winner Miss Lot Won was never in much doubt.

Even in the mounting yard the imposing chestnut filly looked ready fire. Jockey Nathan Thomas said the race went almost exactly to plan.

“We knew if we get a bit of cover early and follow the right horses, she’ll be hard to beat late,” he said.

“I followed the favourite (Natural Emperor) for most of the race. I got there (to the lead) probably a bit soon, a bit easy, but I couldn’t wait any longer.”

A large troupe of owners and connections from the Livanadream Racing syndicate were at Callaghan Park to celebrate the victory.

Trainer Tom Button, formerly of Rockhampton but now based on the Sunshine Coast, said it was pleasing to get results for the owners syndicate, with a stellar ride by Thomas.

“It’s been a great day for Nathan, I’m really really happy for him,” Button said.

“He’s been doing a heap of work for me at the stables, and to come up and ride both (Capricorn Yearling) Sales winners – hats off to him. He rode them both a treat.

“We’ve got some owners here from Bundaberg, some who are publicans – a bit of everything – and everyone’s very happy.”

Trainer, jockey, owners and connections celebrate Miss Lot Won’s victory at Rockhampton

ELECTION 2020: Candidates in the seat of Condamine

The four electorates which encompass the Darling Downs and South West Queensland are among the Liberal National Party’s strongest seats in the state. So strong is the LNP’s foothold to the north and the west of Toowoomba, that a 10 percent swing would be required to topple the party in it’s most at-risk electorate in the region, Warrego. But the year is 2020 and, as we’ve seen, stranger things have happened. Australia is in economic recession, Queensland has as an unemployment rate above 7 percent and the state’s debt has been the worst in the nation since before the pandemic. The fallout of the pandemic has polarised opinion of how Queensland’s economic and social challenges should be managed, and thus the election will inevitably produce some interesting results. Polling opens on Monday, October 19, ahead of election day on Saturday, October 31. To assist in deciding which candidates to vote for in the seats of Callide, Condamine, Southern Downs and Warrego, the Country Caller is published and election and candidate profile for each seat. Map images have been supplied by the Electoral Commission Queensland. Visit the ECQ website for more information about the election, including polling booth locations.

See the Caller’s election guide for the seat of Callide here.

See the Caller election guide for the seat of Southern Downs here.

Harry Clarke, Editor

CONDAMINE

SITTING MP: Pat Weir

PARTY: Liberal National Party

MARGIN: 9.9%

BACKGROUND: Named after Thomas de la Condamine, aide-de-camp to Governor Ralph Darling, this electorate captures western parts of the Lockyer Valley, the highlands around Crows Nest and the floodplains west towards Dalby. While it doesn’t include much of the city itself, the seat wraps around Toowoomba and most of it is governed at a local level by the Toowoomba Regional Council. In the 2017 election LNP recorded two-party preferred majorities at all 38 polling booths, four of which recorded majorities of higher than 70 percent.

2017 ELECTION RESULTS:

CONDAMINE 2020 CANDIDATES:

*Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by surname.

UAP – Nui Harris

As managing director of Waratah Coal, Nui Harris is an employee of the United Australia Party founder, mining magnate Clive Palmer. Mr Harris was educated at North Mackay State High School and obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science from the Queensland University of Technology. His LinkedIn page says he has bee employed by Waratah Coal, a subsidiary of Mineralogy and Queensland Nickle, since 2011.

ALP – Brendan Huybregts

Mr Huybregts’s Facebook page indicates he lives in Toowoomba. He also ran as Labor’s candidate for Condamine in the 2017 election and gained the third highest primary vote with 18%. He lists education as one of the political issues he’s most passionate about, and points out that that the Palaszczuck Government has promised to spend $62 million on improving school facilities in the Darling Downs and South West, if the party is re-elected.

ONP – Greg Priebe

Advocating for the approval of Stage 3 of New Hope’s Acland Coal Mine would be one of Greg Priebe’s main aims if he’s elected. The controversial mine sits right on the Oakey resident’s doorstep. Mr Priebe’s background is in agribusiness and education, and he says what he perceives as a lack of support for agriculture was his main motivation for running on the One Nation ticket. A father of three, Mr Priebe says his roots in the Condamine electorate date back to 1864 when his great-great-grandfather settled in the area.

LNP – Pat Weir MP

Now vying for a third term as Member for Condamine, Pat Weir was previously the LNP’s South West Regional Chair. He has lived his whole life on the Darling Downs, growing up on the family property ‘Donegal’ near Cecil Plains, a grain and cotton farm. During his time as a Member of Parliament, Mr Weir has been a member of the Parliamentary Finance and Administration Committee and is also deputy chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee.

GNS – Sean Womersley

Despite repeated attempts by the Caller to contact The Greens media representatives to obtain profile information on Mr Womersely, no response was received. Mr Womersley ran for the division of Macgregor in 2020 Brisbane City Council elections, which led to a 0.3% swing against the party.

New data reveals gas jobs, investment and Qld’s contribution to total export income

Senex's Roma North facility. IMAGE SUPPLIED

THE peak body representing Australia’s oil and gas industry is calling on the next Queensland Government to implement 20 reforms it claims would help promote more “responsible” development of the state’s resources.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association’s (APPEA) Queensland Election Policy Statement comes as the latest government figures reveal Queensland’s oil and gas industry accounted for almost $50 billion in direct spending through business purchases, and community and government payments.

At the top of the APPEA’s list of proposed reforms is a “more consistent” national approach to interstate movement of critical workers amid Covid border restrictions.

The association also calls for a new process for the government to certify and accept liability for rehabilitation of land prior to the surrender of the environment authority.

It says current land rehabilitation processes “lack(ed) an efficient and effective” means of certifying liability for rehabilitated land, preventing proper coexistence between the petroleum industry and landholders and government.

See the full election statement with the list of 20 reform proposals here.

APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville

“There’s real potential for regulatory reform in Queensland to reduce costs, increase productivity and support and attract further investment in energy supply,” APPEA chief executive Andrew McConville said.

“Given the unscientific bans and restrictions put in place by other states, there will continue to be increasing reliance on Queensland to do more of the heavy lifting when it comes to supplying the broader east coast market into the future.

“So, it’s imperative that stable and efficient regulatory regimes remain in place to support ongoing, long-term investment to increase investment and secure energy supplies.”

The most recent Queensland Government Trade data revealed that of the $50 billion spent by the industry in the state between 2011 and 2018, nearly half ($23.6b) was spent in regional areas.

The data says 4,600 workers are employed directly by the industry, while $505 million has been paid directly to landholders.

The data showed liquified natural gas (LNG) exports accounted for almost 20 per cent of the State’s total exports, while nearly 30 percent of Australia’s LNG production occurred in Queensland.

Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise chief executive Ali Davenport said the region’s gas industry – particularly where it was centered around the Western Downs – had cushioned the economic blow from the Covid recesssion.

“Now more than ever we’re seeing (the gas industry’s) importance for economic stability,” Ms Davenport said. 

“Whilst COVID has certainly impacted the region, the effects in the Western Downs have been less severe because of the jobs and investment provided by the gas sector.

“Other regions in Australia could only dream of such positive economic indications which have come about in the Western Downs in no small part thanks to the gas sector.”

ELECTION 2020: Candidates in the seat of Callide

The four electorates which encompass the Darling Downs and South West Queensland are among the Liberal National Party’s strongest seats in the state. So strong is the LNP’s foothold to the north and the west of Toowoomba, that a 10 percent swing would be required to topple the party in its most at-risk electorate in the region, Warrego. But the year is 2020 and, as we’ve seen, stranger things have happened. Australia is in economic recession, Queensland has as an unemployment rate above 7 percent and the state’s debt has been the worst in the nation since before the pandemic. The fallout from the pandemic has polarised opinion of how Queensland’s economic and social challenges should be managed, and thus the election will inevitably produce some interesting results. Polling opens on Monday, October 19, ahead of election day on Saturday, October 31. To assist in deciding which candidates to vote for in the seats of Callide, Condamine, Southern Downs and Warrego, the Country Caller is publishing a profile on every candidate contesting the seats. Map images have been supplied by the Electoral Commission Queensland. Visit the ECQ website for more information about the election, including polling booth locations.

See the Caller’s election guide for the seat of Condamine here.

See the Caller election guide for the seat of Southern Downs here.

Harry Clarke, Editor

CALLIDE

Map of the Callide electorate

SITTING MP: Colin Boyce

PARTY: Liberal National Party

MARGIN: 11.6%

BACKGROUND: Held by one time deputy premier Jeff Seeney for nearly two decades, Callide has been Country/National party heartland since its 1950 inception and has been represented by only five members since then. Sitting LNP member Colin Boyce is vying for a second term and at this election, he won’t be opposed by One Nation Party or United Australia Party candidates which posed a threat previously. An electoral redistribution ahead of the 2017 vote saw Callide encompass the Western Downs towns of Chinchilla, Miles and Taroom, bolstering the division’s resource sector. To the north, the electorate boundary hits the Capricorn Highway west of Rockhampton. Callide now covers the length of the coal seam gas pipelines which run from the Surat Basin to Gladstone, and covers the rich farming country in between.

2017 ELECTION RESULTS

CALLIDE 2020 CANDIDATES:

*Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by surname.

LNP – Colin Boyce MP

The hats worn by Taroom local and sitting Callide MP Colin Boyce include farmer, father, boilermaker and politician. These professions are steeped in his immediate family – Mr Boyce’s wife is a councillor with the Banana Shire and his sons run the Boyce cattle farm and boilermaking small business. Mr Boyce was also a councillor for the former Taroom Shire before 2008 amalgamations, and before entering state politics.

IND – Adam Burling

Growing up in Longreach and now living in Biloela, Adam Burling is running as an independent in his local electorate. He lists the needs to change vegetation laws and to retain jobs in the mining sector among the issues he’s most passionate about. As a father of four, Mr Boyce also says he’d like to see focus on schools – particularly the provision more non-traditional education opportunities for students struggling with academia.

IND – Loris Doessel

A Munduberra local for 42 years, Loris Doessil made the “snap decision” to run as an independent in Callide at the beginning of October. As well as detailing her background in administration and as a lucerne farmer, Ms Doessell’s website explains how voluntary assisted dying legislation was her main motivation for running for office. She says “Australian states are finally bowing to the pressure of public opinion to give sufferers a choice at the end of life. Queensland has not yet stepped up”.

ALP – Gordon Earnshaw

Gordon Earnshaw has lived in the Gladstone area since the 1980s and ran for office in the Gladstone Regional Council earlier this year on the Labor ticket. He worked in procurement for 15 years and also had a career working at the Boyne Smelter south of Gladstone, a Rio Tinto operation and the second largest aluminum smelter in Australia.

GNS – Anthony Walsh

Anthony Walsh has been based in the northern Brisbane suburb of Deagon since 1989. Earlier this year he ran on the Greens ticket for the Deagon ward of Brisbane City Council in the local government elections. His Facebook page says he is “passionate about inclusive communities, participatory democracy, active and public transport, and protecting green spaces and wildlife”.

WATCH: Condamine Bell Campdraft 2020

Reigning champion Shari Knudsen won the Ladies Draft, while 2014 winner Peter O’Neill took out the Open Draft at the 2020 Condamine Bell. For a full list of winners visit the committee’s Facebook page.

WATCH: The Conquest of the Prickly Pear – a 1933 documentary

IRONY: Prickly pear tree over the road from the Memorial Hall
A comparison of land ravaged by the Prickly Pear, before and after the introduction of the cactoblastis. IMAGES: Biosecurity Queensland

AN historic documentary has re-emerged telling the story of how a group of determined Australian scientists executed what is still hailed today as the world’s greatest triumph of biological pest control.

The Conquest of the Prickly Pear details the eradication of the Opuntia, a type of cactus that was brought to Australia on the First Fleet.

Colonisers who arrived with Captain Arthur Phillip introduced the feral species with the intention of using the fruit to make clothing die, but as the documentary explains, the prickly pear spread wildly out of control.

Following WWI, a team of scientists lead by entomologists from the University of Queensland embarked on the ambitious task of travelling to South America to bring back eggs from the cactoblastis moth, which it was hoped would attack the prickly pear on a large scale.

The project was a rousing success, but what The Conquest of the Prickly Pear video does not detail is how the cactoblastis operation was centered around the town of Chinchilla.

The Cactoblastis Memorial Hall at Boonarga and “The Shanti” Bug Farm outside Chinchilla stand today as monuments to the achievement of eradicating Australia’s most notorious biological pest.

YOUTUBE: Joel Floyd
IMAGE: The Shanti Bug Farm monument

WATCH: Cultural burning to help farmland prosper

Cultural burning expert Victor Steffensen is carrying out workshops throughout south west Queensland in an initiative by Southern Queensland Landscapes. In this story he’s at a property near the town of Miles, teaching farmers to rejuvenate land with burning techniques used by Aboriginals for thousands of years.

Victor Steffensen

LISTEN: Has the Premier stuck to her word from 2013 about rural service delivery?

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuck. SUPPLIED IMAGE

COMMENT: By Harry Clarke, Editor

It was early in 2013 and Annastacia Palaszczuck had just been thrust unexpectedly into the position of State Opposition Leader.

Months earlier, then-Premier Campbell Newman had swept to power in an election landslide that left Labor with a mere seven seats in the Queensland Parliament.
 
Ms Palaszczuck would be named Labor leader. She’d show great resolve as Opposition Leader and would defy the odds to win back government from Newman in 2015.
 
Now, of course, she’s been in office for two terms and polls suggest she will remain for a third.
 
But back in 2013, Ms Palaszczuck was in charge of a drastically depleted Labor opposition and was setting about rebuilding the party.
 
One of the first things she did as Opposition Leader was visit south west Queensland on what she described as a “listening tour”.
 
At the time I was working in my first job as a journalist with Chinchilla’s local newspaper. I recorded the following interview with Ms Palaszczcuk and the recording has been online ever since.
 
With the state election looming, I thought it was timely to republish the old interview for the Country Caller audience.

FOR MOBILE USERS, CLICK “LISTEN IN BROWSER”

WATCH: Toowoomba Bears end decade long Risdon Cup drought

In a nail-biting upset, the Toowoomba Bears beat crosstown rivals the Toowoomba Rangers to claim the 2020 Risdon Cup. Warwick won in reserve grade, overcoming reigning premiers the St George Frillnecks. The Frillnecks also went down in the Women’s 7s final to USQ, while in the girls juniors, Toowoomba Bears beat the Chinchilla River Rats in both Under 17s and under 15s.

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