Steve Axe has put his hand up for Labor preselection in the seat of Bundamba.
Steve Axe has put his hand up for Labor preselection in the seat of Bundamba.

Jo-Ann’s right hand man throws hat into the ring

A LONGSTANDING electorate officer has already put his hand up for Labor preselection in the seat of Bundamba, only hours after Jo-Ann Miller quit parliament.

Steve Axe has worked alongside Jo-Ann Miller since her political career began in 2000 right up until her resignation on Thursday.

“I’ve been standing beside Jo-Ann through asset sales, through the 2011 floods and some very tough periods of time,” he said.

“Obviously it was a very sad and emotional day for Jo-Ann and myself. I’ve worked with her for a long time and you build a strong rapport working with an MP one-on-one for many years.

“Trust, solidarity and loyalty are big issues in politics and if you don’t do that, you don’t last and we’ve had a great working relationship that whole time.

“So, it’s a sad chapter in that way in my life, but I’m looking forward to hopefully building a new era and starting afresh.”

Mr Axe said the best thing for the community would be to have some continuity after Mrs Miller’s good work.

“There’s a whole range of issues that I think are really important for our community to move forward and I think I’ve got the experience, the knowledge and the local know-how and the contacts to make sure these things happen,” Mr Axe said.

While the seat of Bundamba has often been referred to as a safe Labor seat, Mr Axe believed that was a “dangerous” mindset to have.

“It’s a sought-after seat within the party and I’m sure there will be other people putting their hand up,” he said.

“I think there’s some contentious local issues, as well as some general electoral fortunes at the moment which means it will be a great challenge.”

Mr Axe said he was a “born and bred” Ipswich local who has lived in the region for most of his life and attended local state schools.

“I’m president of the local ambulance committee at Redbank and Springfield. I’ve been executive positions in youth organisations for the past 17 years,” he said.

“I’m keen to make sure young people have access to the jobs that are coming to Ipswich through good targeted training, through TAFE and other providers.”

A Bundamba by-election is anticipated to be held on the same day as the local government elections on March 28, before the state heads to the polls again in October.