Minister throws marginal seat into doubt

 

 

A Queensland Labor minister who holds one of the state's most marginal seats is reconsidering whether to run at the looming election.

With just 42 days until writs are issued, The Courier-Mail understands Townsville-based Member for Mundingburra Coralee O'Rourke is considering whether she will recontest her seat.

Labor holds the north Queensland electorate with a paper-thin margin of 1.1 per cent, and it is one of a raft of key seats the Government needs to hold to retain power.

A spokesperson for Ms O'Rourke, who is the Communities, Disability Services and Seniors Minister, said she had nominated, been preselected and endorsed as Labor's candidate.

But they would not specifically say whether the Minister would run.

Coralee O'Rourke, Aaron Harper and Scott Stewart at the Townsville AWU Hall during the counting of votes in 2017.
Coralee O'Rourke, Aaron Harper and Scott Stewart at the Townsville AWU Hall during the counting of votes in 2017.

"Minister Coralee O'Rourke continues to proudly serve her community of Mundingburra, and is focused on delivering the Palaszczuk Government's plan for Queensland's economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic," the spokesperson said.

Ms O'Rourke was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2018 and opened up about her experience to Qweekend magazine in June last year, saying facing something like that had given her a new perspective on life.

A decision by Ms O'Rourke not to run would spark a last-minute scramble for a replacement candidate to go up against the LNP's Glenn Doyle, a veteran police officer who has been the party's candidate since February.

He is running with a strong message on fighting crime in the seat where concerns around an escalating crime rate and youth crime have dominated.

Mundingburra MP Coralee O'Rourke.
Mundingburra MP Coralee O'Rourke.

Mundingburra is one of three Townsville electorates at risk at the upcoming poll and the north Queensland city will be a key battleground between both major parties as well as minor ones.

Ms O'Rourke scooped 31.4 per cent of the primary vote, trailed by the LNP's Matt Derlagen who recorded 26.1 per cent at the 2017 election.

One Nation recorded a 15.5 per cent swing in that poll, with candidate Mal Charlwood receiving 16.7 per cent of the primary vote.

Ms O'Rourke, a member of the Left Faction, was appointed Disability Services and Seniors Minister and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland shortly after being elected in 2015.

Following the 2017 election, the Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland position was scrapped.

Originally published as Minister throws marginal seat into doubt


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