Sean Choat.
Sean Choat. Claudia Baxter

Madden a superb performer but maverick Choat will be missed

THE Labor Party played a strategic trump card when it selected Jim Madden to run in the seat of Ipswich West.

Consider this. Mr Madden was a Somerset councillor when endorsed and had run a Lowood law practice for years. His family connection in the region stretches back over a century. He is articulate and high profile in the country areas where it is essential for a Labor candidate to hold their own.

Mr Madden gave losing LNP candidate Sean Choat a thrashing in the working class Labor booths of One Mile, Leichhardt and North Ipswich in Saturday's election, but it was his wins in rural booths such as Rosewood, Lowood and Fernvale that showcased why he was such a force. Winning the key Brassall booths, containing 6500 voters, proved decisive.

Mr Madden ran a perfect campaign. His volunteers were numerous and effective. He kept on message about the perils of asset sales and focussed on jobs and how Labor would create them.

Mr Choat was a formidable opponent - likeable, hard working and maverick.

He had a colourful three years in office, with the odd gaffe along the way. He presented a human face to the machinery that is politics. He was happy to do stories in the QT, such as the one where he revealed in his youthful days he was a "swampie", a virtual good-natured goth with a love of skulls and a passion for the music of The Cure.

Only Mr Choat could get away with that.

He was big on getting infrastructure for his region. We won't go into a laundry list, but when it seemed the state might not cough up its share of funds for the Blacksoil Interchange he lobbied hard to get the $40 million. What says a lot about Mr Choat was his commitment to securing new audible alarms for visually impaired Grandchester teenager Brendan Young at a local railway crossing.

He was as proud of that achievement as any.

In the end, Mr Choat was undone by the LNP and Campbell Newman brand. He said he would cross the floor on asset sales, an unwise statement that the ETU hammered him for when he accepted long-term leases as a compromise.