CQ’s ‘gutter politics’ blasted by Rocky MP
USING the protection and prominence afforded by parliament, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke has called out the Rockhampton region's "gutter politics" being conducted by his critics and opponents.
As someone who prides himself on being above political muckraking, Mr O'Rourke called out unseemly behaviour from local businessman Dominic Doblo and signage used by the One Nation Party, before urging his fellow election candidates to focus on the issues rather than personal attacks.
With so much going on around us, Mr O'Rourke suggested in his speech to State parliament that this might have been the year where we could put gutter politics behind us.
"Sadly, that has not been the case in Central Queensland where we have seen some disgraceful behaviour," Mr O'Rourke said.
"The worst example would be Dominic Doblo, a prominent local businessman and close ally of the mayor, who has been going around spreading disgusting slurs.
"I have been told by three well-known members of the community that Mr Doblo has said to them words to the effect of, 'The only reason someone would put their signs on schools like Barry has is if they're a paedophile'."
Mr O'Rourke said school signs like the ones he had on State School fences had been put up by other MPs of all stripes across the state.
"(Mr Doblo) is free to criticise that if he likes, but his behaviour is cheap, nasty and pathetic," he said.
"I talk about gutter politics. This descends to the level of the sewer.
"I tried to take it up with him in person but, as is typical of people who behave the way he has, he took the cowardly route and did everything he could to avoid me."
On top of this, Mr O'Rourke said One Nation candidates had lowered themselves to putting up personal attacks against the member for Keppel and himself on corflutes.
"To be honest, I find these more amusing than offensive," he said.
"They are just childish antics of campaigns that have little to offer beyond attacks on our strong COVID response, but I can assure the local candidates that it is turning people off."
It wasn't all doom and gloom with Mr O'Rourke reflecting on a positive conversation he had with the LNP's Rockhampton candidate Tony Hopkins.
"We both agreed to focus on issues, not personal attacks," he said.
"He is a genuinely decent man and though we disagree on a lot of things we can debate these respectfully, and that is how it should be."
Responding to the criticism, Dominic Doblo said the only problem he had with Mr O'Rourke's signs was that he "put a couple of his signs beside Barry's and they were ripped down".
"Barry rang me and the only topics I was interested in discussing was Rookwood Weir, cheap affordable electricity and long term job creation. I am happy to debate Barry on their subject, anytime, anywhere," Mr Doblo said.
"As for gutter politics, the worst case in my lifetime was what Barry's predecessors did to Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen."
One Nation's candidate for Rockhampton Torin O'Brien said he couldn't see the problem with the sitting member having his signs on state school fences, despite having the issue brought up to him by several residents.
"In regards to One Nation's signs they're very self-explanatory," Mr O'Brien said.
"Not a single promise from Barry's maiden parliamentary speech has been achieved.
"In the last two months I have had so many locals reach out to me deeply concerned with the lack of action around our local sports and skyrocketing crime."
He said it certainly seems as if Mr O'Rourke was simply towing the party line in holding the seat, hence the sign "you're just a puppet to the Labor machine" - signs he said were slowly been stolen from private property.
"This week the Labor government attempted to gag media on report CCC referrals which they have been plagued with, just today they have back flipped in the best interest of fair democracy," he said.
"So for that reason unfortunately for Barry I will keep speaking about the concerns locals bring to be, he can call it gutter politics, I call speaking the truth as it happens."