Qld Labor chooses Stretton candidate

·2-min read

Labor have put forward James Martin to succeed Duncan Pegg in the south Brisbane seat of Stretton after the terminally ill MP announced he would retire.

The popular MP announced he would retire from parliament in late April, after deciding he was unable to keep fighting for his local community while being treated for terminal cancer.

A by-election hasn't been called yet but Labor have put forward Mr Martin, a staffer in Mr Pegg's office, to follow the MP in the seat he holds with a 14.8 per cent margin.

The Stretton MP says Mr Martin has worked closely with him for years serving his community.

"James has been a great friend to me over the years," Mr Pegg said in a statement.

"He has committed to me that he will work hard each and every day.

"I have every trust in James to do the job and stand up for the community."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Martin had been fighting for quality schools, health care, roads and public transport with Mr Pegg.

She said he had also been there every step of the way with his mentor.

"With the challenges we now face as a result of COVID-19, James knows that it's more important than ever to keep safeguarding the health of Queenslanders and keep delivering Queensland's plan for economic recovery," Ms Palaszczuk said in a statement.

The Liberal National Party has put forward former community liaison police officer and Queenslander of the Year Jim Bellos to take on Mr Martin in the multicultural electorate of Stretton.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said as a son of migrants, Mr Bellos valued hard work and engaging with the community.

"We've selected a community champion in a bid to show all Queenslanders regardless of how they've voted before that they matter," he said in a statement.

"In doing so we want multicultural communities to know we are with them."

It's expected the by-election will go ahead after the state budget on June 15.

Mr Pegg was farewelled by his community and Labor figures, including Ms Palaszczuk, former prime minister Kevin Rudd and shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers, at a special event last month.

The 40-year-old said retiring was a hard decision after serving in state parliament for six years.

"It was tough to make that call because this is the best job I have ever had in my life, and I have met some exceptional people and made some exceptional friends among the people of Stretton, where you won't find a better community anywhere in the world," he told News Corp earlier this week.

Mr Pegg was awarded the Queensland Public Service Award from the Queensland Intercultural Society for his community work in 2017.

Prior to being elected to parliament, he worked as a lawyer with a focus on employment and insurance law.

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