Saturday 14 November 2009

Entsch to run against Turnour, 2010 Federal election

This afternoon, after a marathon two-hour, 15 minute closed meeting at the Cairns Shangri-La hotel, the Liberal National Party faithful selected Warren Entsch by a generous majority to run as their Leichhardt candidate in the Federal election next year.
As CairnsBlog first revealed on Monday, Warren Entsch put his hat in the ring for pre-selection a week ago, after sending out a letter to members.
Former Prime Minister John Howard, who was rumoured to attend today's pre-selection, sent a letter of support for Entsch.
A Party insider said there was rigourous debate.
"There were a few questions from the floor, but it was pretty clear cut. All three candidates spoke well, and Warren was rather impressive as you'd expect," she said
59-year-old Warren Entsch will contest the seat of Leichhardt against first-term Labor member, Jim Turnour, who holds one of the strongest majorities in the country. In 2007 Turnour enjoyed the largest swing in the country at 14.3%, and now commands a comfortable 10.3% lead over his nearest rival.
At the last Federal election, the Liberals, who had not joined forces with the Nationals at that time, ran Charlie McKillop as their candidate as former member Warren Entsch retired. He had held the seat from 1996, when he beat Peter Dodd, who only had one term as the ALP member.
However, throughout the 2007 campaign, Warren wasn't far away. The day before the late November election, his voice was used to make hundreds of telephone calls to swinging voters, in an effort to show he was still involved. They sensed the departure of Warren was going to lose them the election, so in a political first, the Liberals printed road-side billboards with both Entsch and McKillop on them.
"I'm taking the unprecedented step of phoning you personally, to ask you to vote for Charlie McKillop...," Entsch said in the recorded message, that seemed to annoy more than it pleased.
However, Entsch's departure seemed to weigh in Labor's favour as they were enjoying a nationwide backlash against the incumbent Howard government and their Work Choices legislation.
McKillop picked up 38.8% against Turnour's 43.1%, a stunning victory that tipped Labor power in Far North Queensland closer to their trifecta, which was achieved after Schier's win as Mayor of Cairns in March the following year.
Entsch's political career saw his as parliamentary secretary for Industry, Science and Resources and also Tourism. In the last three years of his tenure, he campaigned for gay rights, often a sole voice in the Liberals.
Entsch says that since since stepping down in 2007, he has become increasingly alarmed and frustrated by the current Labor government and its local elected representatives agendas which are "only to the detriment of the Leichhardt community."
"The Cape York communities’ economic future is being traded off through Wild Rivers legislation and the proposed blanket World Heritage listing proposal and our recreational and commercial fishing industries are under serious threat through a proposed closure of the entire Coral Sea region," Entsch says. "This is so Labor can continue their ongoing placation of radical Greens to the detriment of our local community and residents."
This week Entsch strongly criticised the Federal Government as it continues to commit Australians to an ever-increasing and unsustainable debt level through its stimulus package. He says that community initiatives that are extremely cost-effective and have provided tremendous benefits to our Far Northern community are being dismantled and de-funded.
"There is no worse example of inept policy making and handling than the recent loss of the FNQ Area Consultative Committee, acknowledged as the best in Australia, which in the last five years has generated some $75 million into our local economy," Entsch says.
"Funding for the Cairns Youth Mentoring Scheme was also scrapped without a word of protest from any of the elected Labor representatives and no viable alternative offered," he said.
"The recent de-funding of the Aboriginal and Islander Alcohol Relief Service at Douglas House and Rose Colless Haven will see displaced indigenous people with alcohol related issues back on our streets in larger numbers," Entsch said.
Eight State LNP party executives flew up from Brisbane for the Leichhardt pre-selection in Cairns this afternoon, displaying their importance of gaining the seat back.
In 1998 Entsch kept the anti-Coalition swing down to 0.5%, the smallest in Queensland. He achieved a 2.3% swing to him in 2001 and added another 3.6% in 2004. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make up 14.3% of the electorate, the third highest in Australia.
Other candidates contesting today's ballot were Jen Sackley and Richard Gibbons, director of a fire protection company. Sackley was a member of the Democrats and also stood as an independent against Warren Entsch in 2004, when she gained 4.9%. Now the former nurse has a career in real estate, with strong connections in Cape York aboriginal communities.
Former LNP candidates at the last State election, Barron River's Wendy Richardson, and Mulgrave's Vic Black, led the campaign for Jen Sackley to win the party nomination today.


Dicky Nee said...

Old politicians should just bloody piss off and fade away. They've had their day. This old fart is looking for an easy ride and effortless term in office. He's already "blaming" the economic downturn on Kevin Rudd. Then of course after that he will be able to blame everything else on Val Schier.

nocturnal congress said...

Once Entschie gets all excited, you need to hold out a huge umbrella to stop all the spittle and asputim from spraying all over you. Fair dinkum!

Janie, Swinging voter said...

Old politicians never die,, they just come back again for more fat off the bone

Sammy J, Freshwater said...

Yay Warren is back... .. he'll kick Turnour's butt

Can't wait to see these two on the debating stage together. It will be a hoot.

In one corner it will be the mumbling Jimmy.. and the ear-ring motorbike narm vet, Wazza.

What a show.

Miss Chief said...

Hooray for the old boys club...another victory for the brain washed - or should that be brain dead? The mere fact that Wuzza had to import his support should tell us something!

Smithfield Sam said...

I agree Entsch will completely steamroll Jim "What Me Worry?" Turnour. Then again, I've got a chihuahua that can out-debate Turnour. But he's not have the lapdog than Jim. . .

nocturnal congress said...

Jim has been out there in the electorate meeting people. I've got heaps of rellies in the bush some mates in Karumba and Weipa and they tell me they've met Jim on his traipses. Some murris I spoke with down at Cazaly's one night all knew who Jim is. It would confirm Jim is working hard, so Entschie won't find him a pushover I don't think.

Richard D, Ravenshoe said...

I agree. Turnour may have his flaws, but we're all human. He's an approachable and kind person, and enjoys connecting with people.

I recently meet him at a function on the Tablelands and he was very supportive and had time to engage.

Bryan Law said...

Urk, urk, urk! The one positive thing I can say about this is that it makes the election in Leichhardt more interesting (sort of).

Jim Turnour is another Peter Dodd. He hasn’t actually done anything for my interests in Leichhardt, or in the Commonwealth government. Jim’s proven himself to be an unimaginative plodder whose only “positive” quality is unquestioning obedience to his factional masters in the ALP. He deserves to lose.

On the other hand Wazza is a bullying, blustering blowhard has-been whom I’d really (REALLY) like to see handed an electoral defeat.

I’m told by my informants within the Greens they have no candidates available except for time-worn and dull stalwarts like Denis Walls. Denis doesn’t have the energy or time to be an effective candidate. Personally, Greens support for Wild Rivers legislation, along with their failure to connect with the wider community, makes them an unacceptable first preference.

Now that Tania Major has announced she won’t be running in Leichhardt I guess I’m reduced to seeing who runs for the minor parties (Fishing and Far North) or nominates as an independent. What a shame.

At a time when meaningful change is possible, and where old-style political formations are shifting, the voters of Leichhardt are confronted with such a poor range of candidates. Maybe it’s time for a huge increase in informal voting, by way of a handwritten “None of the Above!”.

Amanda James said...

A poor decision by the Look No Policys mob.

wat a boring election it will be with no real choice.

Tom said...

Oh come on, it's not unreasonable for Wazza to want another feed from the trough. Greed is a human condition, and Wazza is nothing if not human in this regard. Good luck Wazza, you can now start planning your next tax-payer funded World trip.

nocturnal congress said...

Entschie must be receiving a lucrative Parliamentary Pension - I wonder how much that is? (I have heard around $200,000 a year.) So, let's see, he would be receiving this pension AS WELL AS his parliamentary salary if elected. Jesus Christ, and there are people around who can barely survive on their miserable wages from under employment.

Constance Lloyd said...


A perfectly reasonable question to ask and one that I think Leichhardt electors are entitled to a comprehensive answer sooner rather than later.

nocturnal congress said...

Yeah Constance Lloyd. A fat Parliamentary Pension, fees from being a Director of CEC (I'll bet he got himself bloody heaps $$$ there) and now he wants another gorge at the public trough. Mr Greed himself.