Candidate’s baby due on election

THE newly-announced Labor candidate for our local federal seat of Maranoa has an upcoming date with destiny but it’s more likely to involve a trip to hospital than a trip to Canberra.

Gatton-based schoolteacher Geoff Keating and his wife Melinda are expecting their first child and the due date is August 19 – a mere two days before the federal election.

Mr Keating, who is no direct relation to the former PM of the same moniker, joked yesterday it would be preferable for the bub, a boy, to make an earlier rather than a later appearance, with the worst-case scenario being a polling day arrival.

“I don’t think Melinda will be too impressed if I’m out on the polling booths while she’s giving birth, so I’m hoping he’ll come along a little earlier than the 21st,” Mr Keating said.

He said they were “still negotiating” over names but Paul had been ruled out.

On the serious business of the election Mr Keating - who last stood against Lawrence Springborg in our local state seat of Southern Downs - is under no illusions about his chances in the safest LNP seat in Queensland.

He also brushed aside suggestions of a backlash against the ALP in Queensland after the ousting of Kevin Rudd, saying there were “a thousand things that can change the way people vote”.

Serving Maranoa LNP member Bruce Scott – who holds the seat by a comfortable margin of 14.2 per cent – yesterday urged voters to be wary of a national “backroom preference deal” between Labor and The Greens announced yesterday.

“The details of the deal are not yet known, but one can assume The Greens have extracted a commitment from Labor about an Emissions Trading Scheme which could mean higher electricity and transport costs in rural Australia,” he said.

“If their preferred model gets through it’s been estimated it will cost the typical dairy farmer alone another $8000 a year.”

For the record, neither candidate watched the Hawke telemovie on Sunday night, with Mr Keating conceding he let his wife watch Bones as she would be “well and truly getting her fill of politics for the next five weeks”, while proud monarchist Mr Scott tuned into a pay TV documentary about the life of Princess Margaret.

Maranoa Greens candidate Bob East was unavailable for comment yesterday, with final candidate nominations closing on July 29.

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