Gladstone's deputy mayor Matt Burnett.
Gladstone's deputy mayor Matt Burnett. Contributed

Deputy mayor set to take tilt at federal seat

DEPUTY mayor Matt Burnett has ruled out running for the top job in Gladstone next year, instead turning his attention to the federal arena with a tilt at Ken O'Dowd's job.

Cr Burnett today said he had no intention of running for mayor at this stage, but had spent the past 12 months contemplating throwing his hat in the ring for the federal seat of Flynn.

"I haven't nominated for pre-selection for Flynn at this point, but I would love to represent the Gladstone region and the Flynn electorate," Cr Burnett said.

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"It's a decision I will make with my family because it's a tough job - Flynn is a big electorate and my children are my first priority."

But a senior source in the federal Labor Party told The Observer that Chris Trevor, who held the seat before the 2010 election, was the preferred Labor candidate for Flynn.

The source said that endorsement came from the highest level of the party in Canberra.

"It's a seat we need to win, to win government, and we believe he's the best candidate," the source said.

"We are looking to encourage him to run again."

Mr Trevor was contacted for comment has not yet responded.

At the last federal election in 2013, Mr Trevor ran against LNP member Ken O'Dowd and gained 46.42% of the vote between the two major parties.

However, when he was defeated at the polls, Mr Trevor said he would not run again.

"I have formed the view… it is impossible for me in the future to win the seat of Flynn again in the broader community," Mr Trevor said after the last election and his fifth campaign.

He said then the opportunity should be given to someone who had a chance of winning the seat back off the LNP.

Sitting member Ken O'Dowd, who has held the seat since 2010, has already submitted his nomination, but admitted the next election would be tough.

"I expect every candidate will have supporters and detractors, but I would ask the people of Flynn to consider my experience and track record when they go to the ballot box next year," Mr O'Dowd said in a statement.

Katter's Australian Party, Palmer United Party, The Greens and the Rise up Australia Party have all confirmed they intend to run a candidate, although no names have been released.

At the last election voters had a choice of nine candidates, including two independents.

Mr Burnett has confirmed he still has every intention of running in next year's council elections.


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