Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

No Regrets on Leaving Labor Fear, Party Loyalty Holds Pollies Back; Margaret Strelow Explains Why She Would Do It All Again

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

No Regrets on Leaving Labor Fear, Party Loyalty Holds Pollies Back; Margaret Strelow Explains Why She Would Do It All Again

Article excerpt

Byline: Michelle Gately michelle.gately@capnews.com.au

SHE may not have been born here, but there are few locals who could match Margaret Strelow's love for Rockhampton.

The four-term mayor proved that when she severed ties with the political party she had been loyal to for 26 years when she believed it was giving her beloved city the raw end of the deal.

Would she do it again?

The answer is a resounding "absolutely".

Although now knocked out of the running for the state seat, Ms Strelow will soon return to City Hall where her priorities are the same as those she so vigorously promoted during her independent campaign.

"I'm quite pleased I am no longer a member of the Labor Party and I have no intention of softening some of the things I need to say," Ms Strelow said.

"I think there was that recognition that I would put people before the party and I did that in my decision to run."

While Ms Strelow did not win, her campaign was by no means a failure with a commanding chunk of the primary vote swinging her way and putting Labor and the LNP on notice: Rockhampton is not a seat to be taken for granted.

She cited two major decisions - funding for Rookwood Weir and the NAIF loan for Adani's rail line as examples where the impacts on our community were not considered.

"To have that put at risk by a decision that seems ill- thought out and one that did not take the impact on this community into account, I could not see it any other way," she said.

"Once again it shows we are not taken seriously, that our loyalty to Labor has cost us on many fronts."

Ms Strelow said it was vital the community used this opportunity as a marginal seat to be heard, so as to avoid being relegated to the backwaters of everyone's minds once again.

However, she was quick to note criticism directed at the Labor Party was not reflective of the "mighty" effort of former Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne, whose retirement sparked the bitter preselection battle that saw Ms Strelow split from the party. …

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