The $200k job no one seems to want
SENIOR LNP members are pushing for the state's next senator to be based on the Gold Coast in a bid to shore up the Glitter Strip's conservative vote.
But four prominent identities named by sources as desirable candidates, including leading state MPs, an NRL chief executive and a city councillor, say they don't want the highly prized job, which pays more than $195,000 a year.
Gold Coast MPs John-Paul Langbroek and Rob Molhoek, Cr Cameron Caldwell and Gold Coast Titans chief executive Graham Annesley all say they have no interest in pursuing the casual vacancy in the Senate to replace the outgoing former attorney-general, George Brandis, who has been appointed as the next high commissioner to the UK.
Mr Langbroek, who holds the LNP's safest state seat of Surfers Paradise, has previously been mentioned as a potential future senator but said he had "no desire" to relinquish his position in State Parliament just months after an election.
"There is a lot of interest in this casual vacancy but I am happy to stay in Surfers Paradise," he said yesterday.
"We already have strong representation in the Lower House and they certainly do not take the Gold Coast for granted."
Cr Caldwell said it was important for the Gold Coast to remain a stronghold for the LNP.
"I have no current plans to nominate for such a role and I am committed to serving on the council," he said.
"As for the Gold Coast, it is important that the LNP continue to maintain the Gold Coast as a stronghold and have representation which reflects the support from the city's residents."
A Melbourne Cup-field of candidates is expected to contest a party ballot for the role, with at least five nominations already received.
Now, senior party figures say it's time for the Coast to have its own conservative senator. The move comes in response to the party's disappointment with the results of last year's state election, in which the LNP fell short of winning government and lost the Gold Coast seat of Gaven.
Mr Annesley, who was previously a NSW state MP, said he had not been approached by the LNP.
Southport MP Mr Molhoek said he was "flattered" but had "absolutely no intention" of pursuing the position.
Labor senator Murray Watt last year relocated to the Gold Coast while previous local senators included Kathy Sullivan and the late Mal Colston.
Griffith University political scientist Paul Williams said there was "sound" political logic in the LNP appointing a senator from the Gold Coast.
"It appears sound that they would want to buttress a slight decline in their fortunes on the Gold Coast with a new senator," he said.
"However, the LNP members across the state may also weigh up the concern of being vulnerable in the north and want a senator based there to stymie the protest vote for One Nation or Katter."
Nominations for the Senate vacancy close on January 29.