November 15, 2017
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s “secret weapon” on the campaign trail – her father Henry – was the special guest at Labor candidate for Nanango Ben Rankin’s unofficial campaign launch in Kingaroy on Tuesday.
Party faithful from the South Burnett, Wondai and Somerset branches of the ALP gathered at Lions Park to enjoy a barbecue and chat with Henry, who was a Member of State Parliament from 1984 to 2006.
For much of that time he held the portfolios of Primary Industries Minister or Natural Resources Minister so he quickly became a familiar face in rural parts of Queensland, including the South Burnett.
Ms Palaszczuk warned the media at the start of her campaign that she would enlist her father to help.
“When we have the election, Henry will be an asset for us. I know the LNP had been planning to use Barnaby Joyce as their secret weapon. I’m going to ask Dad to be ours,” she told the Sunday Mail.
Henry doesn’t seem to mind being a “secret weapon”. He said on Tuesday that since the campaign had begun he had been travelling all around Queensland meeting people.
But he emphasised that his daughter hadn’t stopped either.
“She’s working seven days a week. She’s really trying her hardest,” he said.
“What has motivated her is the sackings by (former LNP Premier) Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls when they were in government, and the loss of jobs at the nickel refinery in Townsville.”
He said that when jobs were lost in small communities, people left town and sold their homes.
“And once the job is gone, it’s very hard to replace it,” he said.
Henry described Nanango candidate Ben Rankin as an “ideal local candidate”.
“He has a beautiful wife and three children and would make an ideal Member for the local community,” he said.