EDITORIAL: Labor’s Hervey Bay bungle must be called out
QUEENSLAND Labor's approach to the seat of Hervey Bay this election year was bizarre from the beginning.
Now, it's just plain insulting.
Surely Labor saw a real opportunity for change when the LNP's four-term Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen announced he would retire come October 21.
After all, the ALP's poster boy for country Queensland holds the seat of Maryborough just 25 minutes down the road. One expected to see bright red billboards on the Maryborough-Hervey Bay Rd with Bruce and a Bay bestie side-by-side plugging the great things they could do for the Fraser Coast if they ruled the region together.
Instead there was silence, almost certainly caused by a faction holding out hope that the popular Fraser Coast mayor and long time Labor member would step up.
When that didn't happen, it might have been salvageable with a quick alternative announcement.
After all, Adrian Tantari had announced his intention to seek preselection as far back as December last year and there was also a Scanes-shaped back-up option.
The premier was in town three months out from the election, announcing whale boat fee relief.
Insert Labor's local pick with Premier, operator and plush humpbacks here and they would have been off to a start.
Whenever this kind of commentary appears under this editorial banner it is routinely dismissed by the left as Murdoch media propaganda.
On this topic however, sensible people, no matter which side of politics they sit on, can see that what has happened in Hervey Bay this year is unacceptable.
It's in stark contrast to what's happening in the neighbouring electorate and the Maryborough Labor MPs achievements, particularly when it comes to industry, have always received more than fair coverage on this platform.
The party's failure to field a candidate in the Bay, which turned out to be Tantari after all, until the month before an election should be called out.
If it's not a result of his own doing and he was ready to go from the beginning and has simply been a pawn in a poorly run show, then the candidate for Hervey Bay should come out on stage and say so.
Somewhere along the line however, something has gone terribly wrong and someone should be held responsible.
The local Labor Party faithful have every right to be fuming that their best chance of reclaiming the seat of Hervey Bay in more than a decade has been so royally screwed up.
Anyone who isn't concerned and thinks "as long as it's a Labor shirt and seat for the Palaszczuk Government" without expecting to see real debate and interest much earlier in the piece cannot possibly have what's best for the Bay front of mind.
Voters have a right to expect better from the party that is currently in power and should seriously consider the likelihood of this city prospering under its leadership if this is the treatment it receives during one of the most important election campaigns in Queensland history.