Bill Byrne lodged his candidacy with the Queensland Electoral Commission.
Bill Byrne lodged his candidacy with the Queensland Electoral Commission. Chris Ison

Eight nominate for Rocky

THE fight for the seat of Rockhampton has heated up after eight people lodged their candidacy with the Queensland Electoral Commission by close of nominations on Monday.

The seat has the highest number of candidates for any electorate in Queensland for the 2012 state poll.

Robert Schwarten's departure from the political scene after two decades as Rockhampton MP has seemingly left people feeling there's a chance to take the seat from the Labor Party.

First on the ballot slot is Labor candidate Bill Byrne, followed by the Liberal National Party candidate Gavin Finch, then Katter's Australian Party candidate Shane Guley.

Next on the ballot list is new candidate Diane Hamilton as an independent, followed by fellow independent candidate Bruce Diamond.

Mr Diamond yesterday said the new candidates - which also includes Chris Hooper as an independent, Family First Party candidate Genevieve Ellis and Greens Party candidate Bronwen Lloyd - should publicly announce who they would be giving their preferences to on March 24.

"I've already said I won't be preferencing," he said.

The Katter Australian Party has also announced none of their candidates would be preferencing.

The Rockhampton seat has been considered a very safe Labor seat, particularly after Mr Schwarten won the 2009 election with 61.6% of the first preference vote.

However, the departure of Mr Schwarten and the backlash from voters upset with the sale of Queensland Rail could result in a strong swing against Labor.



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