O’Sullivan will take on Joyce’s Senate position
WHEN Barry O'Sullivan entered the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre, he was just one of 12 candidates.
However, when the former Liberal National Party Queensland treasurer left the building, he had the party's full endorsement after having been preselected to fill Barnaby Joyce's Senate seat.
"I've been humbled by the endorsement of my party this afternoon to replace Barnaby Joyce," Mr O'Sullivan said at a media conference on Saturday.
It's been a tough week for the Senator-in-waiting.
A week ago his five-year-old grandson, Patrick O'Sullivan, was critically injured after being flung 10 metres from a Frisbee ride at his school fete in Toowoomba. He has since been released from the Mater Children's Hospital ICU ward and is recovering.
Patrick was "four inches into a one mile run", Mr O'Sullivan said.
"He's awake, he's breathing on his own. Our family are very privately going to knuckle down with the struggle we have there to bring the little fella back to good health," he said.
Mr O'Sullivan's appointment will take effect the moment Barnaby Joyce decides to stand down, but he wouldn't comment on when that should be.
"It's a time of his (Barnaby Joyce's) choosing," he said.
"Nobody can follow in Barnaby Joyce's footsteps and anyone who attempts to, won't make a fist of it. He is a very special politician. He's made an enormous contribution both to our state and our nation."
Mr O'Sullivan said his "single focus", when the time came, would be to change the government so things could get back on track for rural and regional Queensland, which was "hurting ... hurting from the economy, hurting from some of the policy decisions taken with live cattle exports," he said.
FORMER Mackay mayor Julie Boyd raised concerns after Barry O'Sullivan was preselected to replace Barnaby Joyce in the Senate.
"My biggest disappointment with all this is there will be, from June next year, no woman representing the LNP in the Senate," Ms Boyd said.
"And there will only be one person who will be based outside the south-east Queensland corner."
Ms Boyd said the Senate position was meant to be for a regional person.
"But in reality that has not transpired," she said.
"It has gone to someone from Brisbane."
Regional Queenslanders face many issues, which are hard to address if you don't actually live there, Ms Boyd said.
"I don't think people in the south-east ... understand what's really happening with the mining sector," she said.
"And if you're making policy decisions, you need to have an understanding of how that might affect the whole of the electorate."