One Nation reveals challenger for the seat of Rockhampton

THE One Nation Party has named the candidate they hope will carry them to the victory in Rockhampton after a strong performance to finish second in the 2017 State Election.

This week Party leader Senator Pauline Hanson will visit Central Queensland to personally endorse her new Rockhampton candidate, 33-year-old Rockhampton businessman Torin O'Brien.

Politics runs in Mr O'Brien's blood who is following in the footsteps of his grandmother Sandra O'Brien who represented Rockhampton in Council's Division 4 after being elected in 2008.

"It's not the first time I've considered running for parliament, especially after helping my grandma all those years ago in her campaign, but now that my family is that little bit older, it will give me a lot more flexibility to take on the job," Mr O'Brien said.

"My wife has thrown her support behind the idea, so it's systems all go."

A family man and professional Muay Thai Fighter, Mr O'Brien divides his time between training fighters in his Snake Pit Muay Thai gym and running the popular Dizzy Steer club which hosts a variety of functions include heavy metal and psy-trance/ techno gigs.

His experience in the ring will prove invaluable given that he'll be in for the fight of his life to dislodge incumbent MP Barry O'Rourke from his Rockhampton seat in what is traditionally a Labor stronghold.

In the lead up to the October 31 election, the One Nation candidate flagged three key areas he intended to focus on: water security, youth crime, and a shake-up to the region's unemployment.

One Nation candidate Torin O'Brien will bring a youthful perspective to the coming state election campaign.
One Nation candidate Torin O'Brien will bring a youthful perspective to the coming state election campaign.

"You can't be Australia's beef capital without water and although parts of Queensland have had a few showers since February, we can't lose sight of the desperate need to build water infrastructure like the Hybrid Bradfield Scheme." Mr O'Brien said.

"When you've got water security, you can expand our export markets through higher volumes of beef production and start-up new agricultural industries in neighbouring regions of Central Queensland that feed back into Rocky."

Mr O'Brien said he wanted to improve employment opportunities for our youth and over 50s.

"I find it appalling that Rockhampton has an unemployment rate above 8 per cent, well above the state average," he said.

"Labor has killed off Aussie jobs in our local meatworks, they've all but eliminated most of the railway jobs, and they continue to try and shut down coal mining throughout our region.

"I'm horrified as a parent to think that our kids come out of school across Rockhampton and Keppel with a lesser chance of getting a job than their counterparts in the southeast corner of the state."

He said he saw too many people over the age of 50 thrown on the scrapheap, forced to sit on unemployment benefits for prolonged periods because the jobs and upskilling opportunity weren't here.

"Trade apprenticeships for young people must be a priority at this election, and let's start giving these kids hope and a future," he said.

In his martial arts gym, Mr O'Brien works closely with young teens and supported "tough love" to reduce youth crime across the region.

"The last thing Rockhampton needs is to build a youth crime reputation like Townsville. We need to nip this issue in the bud while it's still possible and I want to work with Police, the courts and our young people to offer better outcomes in this space."

One Nation hoped the announcement of Mr O'Brien's candidacy would build on their previous Rockhampton candidate Wade Rothery's strong showing in the last election when he received almost 45 per cent of the two-party preferred votes at the last election, overshadowing ONP's 1998 result when they received 40 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

One Nation candidates for Keppel, Wade Rothery and Rockhampton, Torin O'Brien.
One Nation candidates for Keppel, Wade Rothery and Rockhampton, Torin O'Brien.

Mr Rothery has relocated to the seat of Keppel where he hopes to dislodge incumbent MP Brittany Lauga.