Finch heads list of LNP hopefuls

FORMER Mt Morgan mayor Gavin Finch heads a list of three want-to-be LNP candidates to take on Bill Byrne in the battle for Rockhampton at the next state election.

Mr Finch, Shayne Melkis and Shawn Mills are all seeking LNP pre-selection when local party members vote on Sunday, September 11.

Yesterday Mr Finch, who contested the last state election as an independent, said the party’s new direction under leader Campbell Newman had attracted him to get involved.

While not in a position to discuss the preselection he did confirm he would not run as an independent if he was unsuccessful.

Both Ms Melkis and Mr Mills, the son of former Nationals candidate Robert Mills, have been involved in supporting other candidates in previous campaigns.

Mr Mills yesterday confirmed his intention to run, while Ms Melkis declined an opportunity to comment.

A spokeswoman for the LNP confirmed September 11 was the big day for the party in Rockhampton.

“All financial members of the Rockhampton State Electorate Council will be eligible to vote as will members of the LNP State Executive,” the spokeswoman said.

She said the LNP was also close to finalising arrangements for preselections in the other seats, Gladstone, Beaudesert and Cairns, where a candidate was yet to be finalised.

Meanwhile on the weekend ex-military man Mr Byrne said he was ready to fight to hold onto Rockhampton for Labor following the departure of Robert Schwarten.

He said while Labor was behind in the state polls, he thought there was a large percentage of swing voters out there he would target.

“I realise that I am probably coming into this as the underdog, but times have changed and we have more swinging voters than we ever had, and those are the people I will need to prove myself to,” Mr Byrne said.

Shane Guley will represent Bob Katter’s newly-formed Australian Party and Bruce Diamond will run as an independent in the election.

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