QUEENSLAND Premier Campbell Newman has formally endorsed the sitting member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan for a second term in office, despite pre-selection nominations for the seat being open until tomorrow afternoon.
In a letter dated September 24, Mr Newman said he had no hesitation in supporting Mr Costigan as he sought the opportunity to represent his community for a second team.
However, a spokesman for the premier said yesterday that the final choice of candidate for the seat of Whitsunday rested entirely with those branch members eligible to vote in the pre-selection process.
“It is my pleasure to provide an endorsement for Jason Costigan, current state representative for Whitsunday and hardworking member of the LNP Parliamentary team,” Mr Newman’s letter said.
“Jason has demonstrated true grit and passion to become the first LNP Member elected to represent the seat of Whitsunday.
“He is an enthusiastic and dedicated local member and a strong advocate for his community.”
Mr Newman said he was proud of the gains Mr Costigan has made for the Whitsunday tourism industry, an important Queensland job creation industry.
Labor’s Bronwyn Taha has confirmed she will contest the seat.
“It’s fantastic that the premier has endorsed Mr Costigan, however the branch members are the ones who endorse their candidate,” Ms Taha said.
“I wish Mr Costigan all the best in the upcoming months.”
Ms Taha previously worked for Labor member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt who was defeated by Mr Costigan at the last state election.
Mr Costigan won the seat of Whitsunday in 2012 in an electoral landslide after 26 years of failed attempts by Liberals, Nationals, and then the LNP in 2009.
The premier’s endorsement comes after months of speculation that a challenge for the seat of Whitsunday was likely.
The LNP’s pre-selection nominations for the seat of Whitsunday close at 3pm tomorrow.
Mr Costigan said he was humbled and encouraged by the premier’s kind words and his steadfast support.
“Hopefully, any white ants out there will smell the roses and let us get on with that very important work and, in my case, continuing to work hard for the good people of Whitsunday,” he said.