ALP veteran may run to end factional fight

Former Labor minister Robert Schwarten says he might return to politics, and would win his former seat, but admits he's not the best man for the job.

The ALP veteran believes teacher Dan Coxen should run in the seat of Rockhampton, which is being vacated by MP Bill Byrne who is battling a serious medical condition and will retire at the upcoming state election.

But Mr Schwarten's factional foe, local mayor Margaret Strelow, may vie for preselection for the seat, which could end Mr Coxen's tilt.

This is due to a party rule under which aspiring candidates must have been members of a local branch for at least six months.

Mr Coxen has belonged to a Rockhampton branch for three months and would preselected if he ran unopposed but if Ms Strelow enters the race, he could be excluded, despite being a party member for eight years.

If so, it would be a hypocritical application of a rule Mr Schwarten says he has seen ignored "more than a dozen times" in his 48-years in the party.

"They're clearly using the mayor as a stalking horse," he told AAP.

"They're hypocrites. It's just a bit of raw, stupid, factional bastardry."

The rule, he says, was not enforced when Dr Anthony Lynham was shaping up to run in the seat of Stafford.

If the factional biff erupts, Mr Schwarten, who says his return is "not the preferred option," rates his chances.

"I know I can win the seat," he said.

But he wasn't as sure about a potential return to a ministry.

The Labor Unity faction, to which Mr Schwarten belongs, has held the seat of Rockhampton since the 1970s.

Comment has been sought from Ms Strelow, who is yet to confirm her intentions.

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