CAMPAIGN OVER: Former One Nation candidate and political aspirant Torin O'Brien has made the difficult decision to end his campaign to become Rockhampton’s next mayor.
CAMPAIGN OVER: Former One Nation candidate and political aspirant Torin O'Brien has made the difficult decision to end his campaign to become Rockhampton’s next mayor.

Torin O’Brien’s shock withdrawal from campaign for mayor

A LITTLE bit of colour has been lost from the field of candidates contesting Rockhampton’s mayoral race after Torin O’Brien’s unexpected decision to pull the plug on his election campaign on Tuesday.

As the former One Nation candidate for the seat of Rockhampton, the local businessman was looking forward to harnessing his growing political profile in an election battle to replace former mayor Margaret Strelow.

Unfortunately Mr O’Brien has been a victim of his own success, with other priorities emerging that he would prefer to dedicate his time towards.

A professional muay thai fighter, Mr O’Brien, 33, said there was still more he wanted to achieve in the sport before his retirement.

81kg fighters Shane Allan (PCYC) and Torin O'Brien (Rhino) trade blows. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
81kg fighters Shane Allan (PCYC) and Torin O'Brien (Rhino) trade blows. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

His 2021 calendar is packed with fights and the opportunity to go out a winner.

Mr O’Brien has also experienced success on the other side of the ropes in his muay thai coaching career, particularly in mentoring juniors.

The team has come along in leaps and bounds, with its packed schedule expected to take him out of town frequently over the next year.

“We’re really in demand right now and we’ve been in a different city almost every weekend,” he said.

“It’s usually a Thursday through to a Sunday/Monday trip.

“At this point we’ve got all the way until May booked out, almost each weekend and every month at a different capital city.”

Given the amount of time he expected to be away, he regarded it as “inconsiderate” to push ahead with campaigning for mayor.

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Jeff Horn and Torin O'Brien at Rocky Sports Club during the anti-bullying forum.
Jeff Horn and Torin O'Brien at Rocky Sports Club during the anti-bullying forum.

During the State Election campaign, Mr O’Brien seized upon the issue of addressing school bullying.

He helped organise an anti-bullying forum at the Rocky Sports Club featuring former-world boxing champion Jeff Horn and pushed for an anti-bullying program to be rolled out in the region’s schools.

With a significant announcement regarding Rockhampton’s schools expected “soon”, Mr O’Brien expected his anti-bullying efforts to consume a lot of his spare time.

“I’ve done all the ground work and I’m going to continue to do all the ground work for it – it’s more important for me at the moment,” he said.

The other factor that influenced his decision was the role of mayor itself, which required someone who could put politics aside to be unbiased.

One Nation's candidate for Rockhampton Torin O'Brien shows off a trailer sign calling for Gracemere to get a high school during the election campaign.
One Nation's candidate for Rockhampton Torin O'Brien shows off a trailer sign calling for Gracemere to get a high school during the election campaign.

“I don’t think I could be independent enough to run for local council,” he confessed.

“I don’t like a lot of the (political) announcements that I’ve seen lately.

“If I run for mayor, I’ve got to be a bit more non-political.

“I am who I am as a One Nation member and if I want to speak about something Labor or the LNP have done, I’d like to do that freely without the restraints of council.”

Following his retirement from the ring, Rockhampton locals should anticipate seeing Mr O’Brien throwing his hat in the ring for the One Nation Party to contest the seat of Rockhampton in the 2024 Queensland Election.