Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten gives his final press conference at the Private John Leak Memorial – his last construction project.
Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten gives his final press conference at the Private John Leak Memorial – his last construction project. Allan Reinikka

MP waves goodbye to public life

RETIRING Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten held his final press conference yesterday at the site of his last construction project, the Private John Leak Memorial.

The memorial, situated on Huish Dr, honours first World War veteran John Leak, who enlisted in Rockhampton and was the first recipient of the Victoria Cross award in Queensland.

Mr Schwarten said the war memorial was expected to be completed by Anzac Day this year and with local school students crafting the mosaic design, it would be "stunning".

"He's Rocky's forgotten hero and I think it's about time we honoured him," he said.

The location was fitting for Mr Schwarten's media farewell, as he also reflected on his own past and future.

"The river bank has been an ongoing passion of mine," he said.

"I am very proud of the link we have created between the showgrounds and Quay St."

But after nearly 30 years in the public eye, Mr Schwarten said it felt good to move on.

"I'm looking forward to being a private citizen again," he said.

"I don't intend to be one of those ex-politicians that comment on public affairs once I'm out.

"I'm leaving this job with my head held high."

Mr Schwarten said he had no regrets and his main focus would now be getting his health back on track.

"There's a lot of things I want to do, but I'm excited to have a bit of a break first."



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