KINGMAKER: Former Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten is busy behind the scenes.
KINGMAKER: Former Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten is busy behind the scenes. Sharyn O'Neill ROK230312soffice2

Inside Rockhampton Labor's Game of Thrones

MORE information has come to light in Labor's Game of Thrones to decide who will be pre-selected to stand for the seat of Rockhampton in the upcoming state election.

According to Labor stalwart Robert Schwarten, the cut off for nominations for pre-selection to contest the seat vacated by incumbent Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne was Monday afternoon.

Mr Schwarten said we would have greater clarity about prospective candidates after an administration committee met in Brisbane on Tuesday to deliberate on the submissions.

The man who was set to challenge the Queensland premier endorsed candidate for Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow for pre-selection, Dan Coxen, has eligibility concerns hanging over the head which could rule him out and was set to drag Mr Schwarten into a pre-selection battle against the mayor.

BATTLE READY: Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow has formally nominated for pre-selection and has Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's backing.
BATTLE READY: Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow has formally nominated for pre-selection and has Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's backing. Allan Reinikka ROK160617astrelow

Mr Schwarten then revealed he wouldn't have to run against Cr Strelow as there were two Labor contenders, a man in his late 20s and another in his 50s, who were prepared to run in Mr Coxen's place.

Although Mr Schwarten was unable to provide identifying details regarding the "quality candidates”, he was able to reveal that he had sat down with both prospective candidates and the younger man had indicated a willingness to step back from his nomination acknowledging the superior credentials and experience of the older man.

The younger candidate told Mr Schwarten he thought the older man was the better candidate and that "he's got more runs on the board than I have in the community”.

"My advice to the (younger) candidate was to put an application in anyway and he said he'd think about it,” Mr Schwarten said.

"I don't know that (younger) candidate will put an application in but certainly one of them has (the older) - it was to go in this morning.”

Mr Schwarten said it was like a "first reserve type system” with both men happy to support Dan Coxen with the older man stepping up if Mr Coxen was "knocked out of the game because of a technicality”.

ELLIGIBILITY CONCERNS: Dan Coxen may be rubbed out in his push for pre-selection for the Labor Party for the seat of Rockhampton.
ELLIGIBILITY CONCERNS: Dan Coxen may be rubbed out in his push for pre-selection for the Labor Party for the seat of Rockhampton. Ian Wilkinson Australia

Mr Schwarten said the older candidate needed to discuss the matter of his running for pre-selection with his employer, work colleagues and sort out various other things.

"He rightly doesn't want the first they know about it, reading it in the paper,” he said.

"There's no big secrecy about it, it's good manners that's all.”

Mr Schwarten said there would be a process where either the prospective candidate or the party would let us know who that was in due time.

He attempted to describe why he was so invested in finding an opponent to run against Cr Strelow for the Rockhampton seat.

"It's a quest to have the best candidate chosen by the local branch membership, not by Brisbane.”



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