Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke. Allan Reinikka ROK071118aorourke

O'Rourke urges colleagues to vote against their own member

BARRY O'Rourke has bravely urged his federal colleagues not to vote for a member of their own party.

Victorian MP Richard Marles is tipped to be elected as Labor deputy leader on Thursday.

The Rockhampton MP, along with Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert, wrote to their Labor colleagues over the weekend claiming a vote for Mr Marles would be "a slap in the face".

"Our first duty as the members for Mackay and Rockhampton is to represent our constituents," part of the letter said.

"As Queensland Labor members, we will always stand up for Mackay, for Rockhampton and for local jobs.


Labor Victorian MP Richard Marles.
Labor Victorian MP Richard Marles. Herald Sun


"We write with concern regarding Richard Marles' candidacy to be deputy leader of the Federal Labor Party and urge you not to vote for him," part of the letter said.

The Morning Bulletin spoke with Mr O'Rourke after the letter went live and was circulated through media. He was still strongly confident he did the right thing and something needed to be said.

"I will proudly stand up to anyone when it comes to defending the interest of Rockhampton and Central Queensland," he said.

Part of the gripe against Mr Marles is that he is openly against the coal industry; a linchpin of CQ's economy.

Mr Marles told Sky in February it would be a "good thing" if the thermal coal sector collapsed, despite it being the nation's top export industry, pumping billions into the Australian economy last year.

READ HERE: Three weeks to finish Adani approvals

"When someone like that makes comments that the collapse of the coal industry would be a good thing ... that certainly would not be a good thing for Rockhampton," Mr O'Rourke said.


ROCKHAMPTON VISIT: Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese, Queensland Senator Murray Watt, Labor Candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke.
Anthony Albanese in Rockhampton. Leighton Smith

Inner South Sydney MP and spokesman on infrastructure, transport, cities and regional development and tourism, Anthony Albanese, has been tipped to be the party leader.

Mr O'Rourke supports this vote and said Mr Albanese spends "a lot of time in Rockhampton and understands the challenges we face".

He didn't have a preference for who should be the deputy Labor leader - just anyone but Mr Marles.

"I want someone who will fit for the whole of Australia, not just Canberra or Sydney and Melbourne.

READ HERE: Mixed response from stakeholders on Adani timeline plan

READ HERE: Big questions Albanese must answer

READ HERE: Albanese shrugs off LNP attacks on Labor's CQ coal approach

Leader of the LNP Deb Frecklington has called on Labor not to choose Anthony Albanese and Richard Marles to lead the party.

"Anthony Albanese has refused to back the Adani Carmichael mine and Richard Marles hates coal," Ms Frecklington said.

"Queenslanders just want a fair go and a decent job but Labor still isn't listening. We know Jackie Trad voted for Anthony Albanese when he ran against Bill Shorten for the leadership."