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Cook MP Cynthia Lui finding it hard going in her disassociated electorate

by staff writers

Pork-barrelling on a grand scale is rolling out around Queensland during the final six weeks of the election campaign. Works projects, some unnecessary or asked for, are being financed by a bankrupt Labor Party Government like there is no tomorrow.

The Far Northern seat of Cook, held with a slim margin by the absent, indigenous member Cynthia Lui is no exception.

Mareeba residents have rejected Labor MP Cynthia Lui for moving her office to Cairns in spite of record pork barrelling in the north

Lui and her staff have lived in Cairns since she was elected in 2017 and with the blessing of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk moved her Mareeba office there earlier this year “to make it easier for Torres Strait Islanders to meet her” she told an incredulous constituency.

Now the pigeons have come home to roost and she is facing the expected recriminations from a detached electorate.

Recent door-knocking efforts of Mareeba residents have not gone down well for the hapless Lui with many hostile rejections and rebuffs from fed-up voters calling her out for shifting her electorate office to Cairns.

Labor sources claim their rank-and-file members have deserted her and she has been forced to call on southern members and unionists for polling booth and campaign assistance.

Lui invited Mareeba party members and local identities to her planned campaign launch on Saturday night but had to cancel due to a low number of acceptances.

The sources said there had been no financial assistance from some of the well-heeled local branches who have openly called her a “traitor.”

Following recent, record spending on Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait, today the State Government is strategically opening a new Mareeba ambulance station preceded by ABC news announcements of new X-ray equipment for the Mareeba Hospital.

In July the Main Roads Department started a $45 million upgrade of the Kennedy Highway between Mareeba and Kuranda. Investigations have revealed there were no requests or demands made for these works by councils or motoring organisations.

For decades motorists and politicians have demanded the dangerous Kuranda Range road be upgraded but the government chose to improve the highway instead leaving a tortuous bottle neck at Kuranda which will not improve the range congestion one bit.

Meanwhile at least five other candidates are contesting Cook making life even harder for the inconspicuous girl from Yam Island in the Torres Strait who naively thought the people of Cook would tolerate her chosen indifference.

Lui’s only saviour from a stunning defeat will be the usual voting fraud across the electorate. Complaints by booth workers to the Electoral Commission of Queensland resulting from the 2017 election were ignored. At the Bamaga booth the returning officer did not count the 500 ballot papers after voting finished, instead taking the ballot box home for the night.

Statutory declarations from scrutineers were given to the ECQ about the uncounted votes and potential fraud but the ballots were included in the final tally which saw Lui elected as the new member.

Pre-polling at remote Aboriginal communities conducted by the ECQ flying to each community in the run-up to an election is where much of the voting fraud occurs.

It is of note the offending returning officer currently is under police fraud squad investigation for alleged misappropriation of funds from the local council.