Female candidate set to follow after Miller

GLOW JO: Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller’s future is up in the air but her successor could be a female.
GLOW JO: Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller’s future is up in the air but her successor could be a female. SUPPLIED

THE next Labor Party candidate for Bundamba looks set to be a female due to new ALP affirmative action rules that came into force last year.

That is the word from ALP state president Dick Williams in the wake of speculation Jo-Ann Miller is set to quit politics and vacate the seat.

The QT reported on Thursday the CFMEU was backing mining and energy division aligned Nick Thompson to be the next Bundamba MP.

Mr Thompson, a social worker, has taken up a position in Ipswich this week.

Mr Williams said Bundamba was classified as a winnable seat and would definitely fall under the affirmative action rules.

He said on that basis the next Bundamba MP would very likely be a female candidate.

"In my view it is far too early for people to be contemplating what may or may not happen with respect to the incumbent Jo-Ann Miller," he said.

"However, if Jo-Ann did decide to retire either before or at the next election then the rules of the party will come into play.

"The rules of the party, as amended at the state conference in August last year, put a greater emphasis on ensuring that 50% of winnable seats should have women candidates."

Mr Williams said the rank and file would have a say and party pre-selection rules would apply.

"All that means is people who are in the party who have an interest in being the candidate will be given a chance to nominate . . . and subject to any decision by the admin committee one would think that sort of pre-selection would be handled in the normal way."

Those who know Mr Thompson have told the QT he would make a strong MP.

Senior Labour sources insist the left faction is unlikely to be able to parachute any candidate into Bundamba without a local ballot, which is one suggestion that has been put forward.

One source said the CFMEU is not in a position to dictate anything right now and there would have to be a massive trade-off with the right to have any candidate installed without a local ballot.

Cr Victor Attwood said it would be arrogant of the CFMEU to think they could impose their choice of candidate on the people of Bundamba.

"If the reports are true that Jo-Ann Miller is contemplating retirement it should be up to the local branch members to decide who represents them in Bundamba," he said.

"There are plenty of good Labor members in Bundamba who would be capable of representing the party in State Parliament."

Sections of the right faction have put forward Toni Gibbs, daughter of former Bundamba MP Bob Gibbs, as a strong chance.

But leading figures in the left have told the QT that won't happen.

"I am sure she would be a good choice, but the right do not have the numbers in Bundamba. The left have the numbers," one source said.

Federal Blair MP Shayne Neumann was not prepared to speculate on what might happen in Bundamba.

He said Labor Party members, no matter where they live, would strongly support local people and have historically done so.

"They have done that with Jo-Ann Miller, Jim Madden, Jennifer Howard and with myself," he said.

"They don't take it lightly when outsiders are imposed on local branch members and local electorates."

The internecine battles between the left and right factions have been in full swing in Ipswich in recent months.

Mr Williams said he had a message for the factional warlords in the local area, in particular the Federal Blair MP.

"He should keep his nose out of things," he said.

Topics:  bundamba candidate candidiate ipswich jo-ann miller

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