Discussing a Katter's Australian Party announcement in Queens Park are (from left) Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter, KAP candidate for the seat of Condamine Ben Hopper, Candidate for the seat of Nanango Ray Hopper and Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth.
Discussing a Katter's Australian Party announcement in Queens Park are (from left) Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter, KAP candidate for the seat of Condamine Ben Hopper, Candidate for the seat of Nanango Ray Hopper and Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth. Stuart Cumming

Hopper off to Nanango, son takes over in Condamine

MEMBER for Condamine Ray Hopper has given his son Ben a shot at the political life.

Mr Hopper yesterday endorsed his 22-year-old son as a candidate for his current seat, Condamine, at the next state election.

He is confident he has enough support in the South Burnett region to defeat Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington, announcing he will run there instead of Condamine.

"My polling says I can win both seats so I'm not leaving Condamine because I wouldn't win it," Mr Hopper said.

He defected from the LNP and joined Katter's Australian Party after being elected to his fifth term in parliament in 2012.

His son will also stand for KAP.

"People thought I was retiring, I'm afraid, no I'm not retiring.

"Instead of one, they have got two now.

"Ben will be winning the seat of Condamine.

"I will be moving to the seat of Nanango and winning the seat of Nanango.

Ben was more reserved when addressing a group of local media in Queens Park yesterday.

"I'm nervous but I really want to do it," Ben said.

The expansion of coal mining and coal seam gas production were the issues on which he placed importance.

"There are farmers out there that they have lived on their place, they are the sixth generation on that farm, that's all that they know and they are being pushed aside by a big gas company."

"It is not right.

"It shouldn't happen."

He took inspiration from 24-year-old LNP MP Wyatt Roy as another young person in politics.

"It is something I have wanted to do for the last three years but I have never really mentioned it to anyone because nobody likes talking about politics and nobody likes politicians but I believe it has to be done and I'm excited."

He said he wanted to be a grassroots politician.

"I'm not going to go out there and say that we are going to be a big hero if we get into parliament, I'm just going to be a simple voice for my electorate."

LNP candidate for Condamine Pat Weir said Ray Hopper had deserted the people of his community.

"This is the second time Mr Hopper has sold out on the people of Condamine," Mr Weir said.

"He defected to the cross benches after the 2012 election denying the people the voice they voted for."

Mr Weir said he was ready to provide the people of Condamine faithful representation and a strong, local voice in parliament.

"Ray Hopper's move flies in the face of his claims to put the people of Condamine first."


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