CANDIDATE REVEALED: Russell Robertson has been named to contest the seat of Capricornia in the federal election.
CANDIDATE REVEALED: Russell Robertson has been named to contest the seat of Capricornia in the federal election. Contributed

New ALP candidate revealed to contest Capricornia

AFTER being revealed yesterday as the ALP candidate to challenge Michelle Landry in Capricornia, Russell Robertson has been a hard man to get on the phone.

Based in Moranbah, Mr Robertson has strong union ties as the president of the CFMEU Goonyella Riverside Lodge and was understood to have had active role on the picket line supporting the Oaky North miners in their ongoing dispute with mining giant Glencore.

This paper understands Labor's expressions of interest opened last December and closed in late January.

Mr Robertson, who is a member of the left faction of the Queensland Labor party, had the numbers to subdue a challenge from fellow left member and previous Capricornia candidate Leisa Neaton.

This was disappointing for Ms Neaton's supporters who were hoping she would have another tilt at Ms Landry after she lost the 2016 election - possibly due to the ALP's lack of support for funding the construction of the Rockhampton Hospital car park.

This isn't the first time a union member from Moranbah has stood for the seat of Capricornia after Peter Freeleagus was nominated following the retirement of long-serving Labor MP Kirsten Livermore in 2013.

The Isaac Regional councillor and Moranbah miner's pre-selection was not without controversy as Yeppoon solicitor Paul Hoolihan secured the support of 64% of local ALP members, but Mr Freeleagus got across the line thanks to Labor's Electoral College system and factional deals.

Mr Freeleagus indicated he would move to Rockhampton from Moranbah if he prevailed - he didn't with Ms Landry winning the seat for the LNP.

It's yet to be seen whether repeating this strategy again will yield a different outcome in the next federal election.



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