Boundary decision could spell big changes for Calliope
CALLIOPE residents facing the prospect of being shifted from the state electorate of Gladstone into neighbouring Callide before the next election could be in for a bigger shock than they think.
Both Pauline Hanson's One Nation and Katter's Australian Party have chosen candidates for Callide, and both parties stand a chance of snagging the Liberal National Party stronghold.
At the last election, Palmer United Party candidate John Bjelke-Petersen scored 25.2% of the vote in Callide, and that party's state de-registration in September means that share of the vote is up for grabs.
With incumbent member and former deputy premier Jeff Seeney choosing not to contest the election, the LNP will face a tough battle to retain the seat.
Sharon Lohse was set to stand for One Nation in the western seat of Warrego, but changed her nomination to Callide when the regional towns of Chinchilla and Miles were also included in the redrawn electorate.
With One Nation resurgent in central Queensland, Mrs Lohse is likely to be the strongest challenger to the LNP's eventual nominee.
North Burnett Regional councillor Robbie Radel is also standing for Katter's Australian Party, which scored 26.6% of the vote in Callide in 2012 with candidate Steve Ensby.
Both minor party candidates live in Biggenden, meaning Calliope residents could be facing not just a shift to a member based in Biloela, but one living much further south - and with very different politics to Gladstone Labor MP Glenn Butcher.
48.89% of Calliope voters chose Mr Butcher at the 2015 election, with just 12.27% choosing LNP candidate Michael Duggan (Liz Cunningham's preferred candidate, independent Craig Butler, won 36.3%).
Gladstone Regional councillor and Calliope resident Peter Masters said he had "no doubt" the vast majority of Calliope residents wanted to remain within the Gladstone electorate.
"The Boyne Valley residents I spoke to also share the same sentiments," he said.
"The reasons they gave me, and I share this view, is that Gladstone is our point of business.
"Our roads lead to the port, we work in Gladstone, our sporting teams play in Gladstone competitions.
"There's a lot of similarities and synergies between our communities."
Cr Masters said Calliope residents were not so much concerned as to who their potential representative in Callide might be as they were concerned by the fact their new local member would not understand the town's issues as well as a Gladstone MP would.
"The recent MPs we've had in Gladstone have known the issues here," he said.
"That's not to say (a Callide MP) won't take the ball and run with it. But (Gladstone MPs) live and breathe it," he said.
Cr Masters said people hadn't given up hope the final redistribution decision would leave Calliope in Gladstone.
"I think people are realists, but they're still holding out hope," he said.
"We understand it's about population but we're hoping with the level of opposition to the changes (the Queensland Redistribution Commission) will exempt us."
One Nation candidate Sharon Lohse and state party leader Steve Dickson were contacted for comment.
Two weeks left until final decision
THE QUEENSLAND Redistribution Commission will make its final decision as to which electorate Calliope ends up in on Friday, May 26.
The decision follows four separate periods of public input on changes to the electoral boundaries, which are made necessary by shifts in the population.
The QRC received 35 objections to its proposal to move Calliope out of Gladstone and into Callide, with zero submissions supporting the move.
178 objections were also lodged against the transfer of Chinchilla and Miles into Callide.
There will be a 21-day appeals period following the final decision, but any appeal must be based on a point of law and lodged with the Court of Appeal.
Following that period, the electoral boundaries will be fixed and unable to be changed.
No court appeals were lodged during the 1999 and 2008 redistributions.
A spokesperson for the QRC said the commission had considered each and every submission lodged during the four public consultation periods that were held during the redistribution process.