OPINION: Neglect of the regions no longer an option
THE LABOR Government may have handsomely and predictably won the seat of Gladstone, but the shockwaves are loud and clear in the surrounds.
The once safe-as-houses seat of Rockhampton saw the ALP scrape home after strong challenges from Independent, Margaret Strelow and One Nation showed Rockhampton can no longer be taken for granted by the ALP.
To the north and west, Jim Pearce was sole casualty to the One Nation vote in Mirani.
Gladstone MP, Glenn Butcher is a rare bird in politics and I look forward to a good old chin wag to find out where his thinking lies for the future of this electorate and his own political aspirations.
As an assistant minister in the former government and an MP with overwhelming support from his electorate, Mr Butcher's political future is assured.
But does he see himself as a career politician, a future minister, or even Premier?
Is he a leader or just a good local member?
Either way, his party is in hostile territory in what was traditional ALP heartland.
Gladstone and Rockhampton are both still Labor seats, but these two regions need to work together where necessary to let the new Labor Government know that neglect of the regions is no longer an option.
They have already had three years to determine a vision and direction for Queensland. That doesn't end with the south-east corner and in this second term, the excuses have already been used up.
The Premier needs to stop dismissing One Nation and realise there were many thousands more than just bigots and racists who voted for change.
People are sick and tired of being fobbed off by politicians.
Journalists are tired of being fobbed off by political and departmental media advisors.