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Gladstone MP confirms she won't run in 2015 election

Independent Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham will not run in the state election on January 31.
Independent Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham will not run in the state election on January 31. Paul Braven GLA060115MEBR

UPDATE 1.15PM: Independent Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham has confirmed she won't run in the state election on January 31.

Mrs Cunningham will hold a press conference at 1pm on Wednesday to announce the candidate she will be supporting to replace her.

She said the person was already heavily involved in the community.

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Mrs Cunningham told The Observer the former government and current government had not made decisions that had helped the Gladstone community.

"They haven't been particularly supportive of our community in spite of the heavy industrialisation," she said.

Mrs Cunningham encouraged Gladstone residents to continue their support for the independents.

"Consider who can best represent you, who can speak for you and who won't be bound by party solidarity.

"Pick someone who has a proven community involvement and someone who can speak freely for you," she said.

Posting the news on her Facebook page, Mrs Cunningham said the decision had been difficult.

"So many wonderful, hardworking, strong and visionary people here," she wrote.

"The Premier has called a snap election - it is time to make that decision which was and would always be difficult.

"It is with gratitude I thank so many who have been supportive over the past 20 years.

"I will not be contesting this election but will be supporting a well known, hard working and community-minded independent.

"This is an amazing electorate and needs a representative who is not bound by party politics and silenced by party hacks."

At a press conference on Tuesday, Premier Campbell Newman said Gladstone was a seat the LNP would like to pick up.

"We would like to pick up the seat but at the end of the day that's another one for the political commentators to reflect on," Mr Newman said.

Asked if the LNP would run candidates in every seat, the Premier said: "That's a matter you should put to the state director or party president.

"At the end of the day, I lead the team but I would like to run candidates in every seat.

"That is not always possible but it is a matter for the party the selection of our candidates."

The LNP has confirmed to The Observer that it will run a candidate in Gladstone.

ALP candidate Glenn Butcher at the Calliope Market speaking with the Cope family, Lauren, Tate, 7 months, and Josh.
ALP candidate Glenn Butcher at the Calliope Market speaking with the Cope family, Lauren, Tate, 7 months, and Josh. Christopher Chan

UPDATE 11.40AM: Gladstone still only has one confirmed candidate for January 31's state election, the ALP's Glenn Butcher.

Premier Campbell Newman confirmed the election date just after 11.30am on Tuesday.

The Liberal National Party has confirmed it will have a candidate in Gladstone, but details of an announcement are still to come.

Gladstone is one of three seats in which the LNP is yet to announce a candidate.

The Palmer United Party gave no indication on whether or not it would have a Gladstone candidate, in response to questions from The Observer.

"The candidates will be announced by tomorrow on our website," a Palmer United Party spokesperson said.

Current local independent member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham has not been available this morning to comment on her position.

She is yet to announce if she will be running again.

The Australian Greens Party says it is highly likely it will have a candidate for Gladstone, but there are no details yet on who that might be.

The Katter Party has candidates running in regional areas of Queensland, with the closest candidate to Gladstone so far being Shane Paulger in Mackay. 

Nominations for candidates close on Tuesday.

9.40AM: Queensland is expected to go to the polls on January 31, and the lease of Gladstone port and other assets is sure to be a big election topic.

Glenn Butcher will run for the Australian Labor Party, but incumbent MP Liz Cunningham is yet to announce her candidacy.

Mr Butcher last month stepped down from his role as long-term Gladstone Rugby League chairman to concentrate on campaigning.

He also has an army of backers, with more than 80 people turning out to a fundraising dinner in November.

While the State Government last year announced it would lease the Port of Gladstone, little has been provided in the way of detail, with some parts of the community concerned about what would happen to key community facilities if the lease proceeded.

Gladstone Port Corporation currently invests about $200,000 into community projects in the Gladstone, Rockhampton and Bundaberg regions.

Mrs Cunningham last year said she had had a "huge number" of conversations with constituents about the port's privatisation, with only one person telling her he thought sale of the port would be a good option.

Other issues expected to be raised locally include the Gladstone Hospital, sale of land previously set aside for a high school at Calliope, Royalties for Regions, and cost of living issues.

What do you see as the main election issues for Gladstone? Have your say in the comments section.

Topics:  gladstone ports corporation, glenn butcher, liz cunningham, queensland election 2015



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