Election battle kicks off early

THE gloves are already coming off ahead of next year's state election, with Member for Burnett Rob Messenger already starting an advertising campaign.

A billboard urging Burnett residents to "Vote 1" for the independent member was erected on Childers Rd just over a week ago.

The sign also urges voters to fill out all the boxes when completing their ballot.

The advertising comes earlier than expected, with most predictions putting the next election in February or March next year.

LNP candidate Stephen Bennett criticised Mr Messenger for interrupting people's family time at Christmas with political messages.

But Mr Messenger said he was not concerned that unofficial campaigning for the election had started so soon.

The Burnett MP said his billboard made it clear he would not be preferencing either party on how to vote cards.

"That way, I am not telling them how they should vote," he said.

"But I do think it's important for them to fill in every box because that way they get the maximum out of their vote."

Mr Messenger said he would be announcing a number of private member's bills he planned to table as he felt campaigning should be about ideas.

But Mr Bennett was less than impressed with Mr Messenger's billboard.

"The political stuff can be a little in your face at Christmas time," he said.

"It was a bit of a shock to see something go up so close to the festive season."

Mr Bennett said he would be spending Christmas with his family before beginning a full-time campaign schedule.

Labor candidate for Burnett Stuart Tomlinson, who was visiting from his home in Hervey Bay yesterday, said he was also not surprised that unofficial campaigning had started.

Mr Tomlinson said he had been speaking with a number of people in the area since gaining pre-selection.

"The Childers bypass seems to be a big issue," he said.

"I am worried that it may take the tourism away from Childers.

"I would support it if it was just a truck bypass."

The Labor State Government announced the bypass would be a part of the Bruce Highway 20-year-plan in July this year.

In the seat of Bundaberg, the election seems far away, with an ALP challenger for Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey yet to come forward.

"There is an old saying, you don't feed the pig on market day," Mr Dempsey said.

"It's what you do consistently through your time as member and you gather up the respect and credibility."

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