The Nationals may no longer exist in Queensland, but the iconic Bjelke-Petersen name may make a return to the ballot papers next year.
John Bjelke-Petersen, the 52-year-old son of Queensland’s longest-serving premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, is making a bid for Liberal National Party preselection in the seat of Nanango.
Bjelke-Petersen was the unsuccessful Nationals candidate in Nanango in the 2006 election, losing to incumbent Independent Dorothy Pratt.
But he said he believed he had a better chance at the poll due next year because of the merger between the two conservative parties and unrest with the Bligh Labor government.
“People really want to get rid of the Labor government and change the direction of this state,” Bjelke-Petersen said.
“I could run a campaign on the same issues as I did three years earlier – nothing has happened in any dramatic way in that time.”
Bjelke-Petersen, a southern Queensland farmer and tourist operator, said few major projects had been built in regional areas of the state since his late father left office in 1987.
“The infrastructure they built (in the 1970s and 80s) is a testament to the fact they had vision,” he said.
The LNP’s chances of taking Nanango are expected to be bolstered by the inclusion of a large section of the neighbouring seat of Darling Downs after the state redistribution.
The LNP’s Nanango candidate is expected to be decided next week.
Party officials declined to comment on the preselection.