Gladstone mayor says he's not in for Flynn
GLADSTONE Region Mayor Matt Burnett has revealed he is still being approached to run for higher office.
The first-term mayor openly floated the possibility of a tilt at the federal seat of Flynn while deputy mayor before the last election.
But he eventually dropped out of consideration for Labor preselection, saying he didn't want to spend that time away from his children.
Despite that decision, Cr Burnett says he is still receiving overtures from Labor figures who want him to take a run at the seat.
"I've been asked many times, as recently as the Sunday of Bathurst, to run for Flynn," he said.
"I hear the rumours everywhere I go, but I'm more than happy to put that rumour to bed.
"I'm definitely not running for the seat of Flynn."
Cr Burnett said he was "quite happy" being the mayor of Gladstone - and there was still plenty of work to be done.
"We're not even halfway through our term (and) we've got a fantastic team of councillors delivering for Gladstone," he said.
"The other reason is the size of the electorate - I'm not sure exactly how large it is but it's got to be bigger than Tasmania.
"Hats off to Ken (O'Dowd) and Chris Trevor and anyone who can represent an electorate that large."
Anyone seeking ALP preselection for Flynn would set up a showdown with AWU organiser Zac Beers, who achieved a 5.5% swing and came within 2000 votes of unseating the LNP's sitting member Ken O'Dowd at the last election.
Mr Beers has publicly announced his intention to run again and is understood to have the backing of some key Labor figures.
As a prominent Central Queensland mayor and ALP member, parallels can be drawn between Cr Burnett's political position and that of former Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow, who stood for the state seat of Rockhampton at last weekend's election.
Ms Strelow sensationally quit as mayor to run for Labor preselection, but narrowly missed out despite being the preferred candidate of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
She then ran for the seat as an Independent and again fell just short of the mark, bowing out on Wednesday after admitting Labor's Barry O'Rourke would likely be elected on the back of her preferences.
Cr Burnett admitted he had been watching the race "more closely than anyone in Queensland other than Antony Green" - though as mayor he would have been able to work with either Ms Strelow or Mr O'Rourke.
But just as he dismissed rumours he would run for Flynn, he laughed off any suggestion he might run for state politics in the future.
Cr Burnett worked on Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher's election campaign and recently threw his support behind Mr Butcher for a spot in Cabinet.
"Glenn is one of my best friends," he said.
"I'm going to his place for a beer now."