Cook decides on October 31


Karlie Brady


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In just over seven weeks, Queensland will head to the polls on October 31 to decide the 2020 State Election.

Currently, there are six candidates who have put their hand up to run for the state electorate of Cook which stretches from Port Douglas to the Torres Strait. Nominations are open until October 12, so more candidates may yet throw their names in the race.

If the March Council elections are anything to go by there will be unprecedented numbers of postal and early votes due to COVID-19.

The ECQ is opening postal vote applications early, from September 14 to October16, to allow more time for electors to apply.

Early voting will run from Monday October 19 to Friday 30 October, with extended voting hours. Telephone voting is also available for eligible electors only.

Who are the candidates for Cook?

Cynthia Lui

Cynthia Lui is the current incumbent Labor Member for Cook and made history as the first Torres Strait Islander elected to office in 2017.

Since then Ms Lui said one of her key focus has been on building stronger communities in this diverse electorate.

Ms Lui has a long background working in the social sector, particularly in the areas of health, child protection, and family support services.

In the last two years, Ms Lui said she has worked closely with local councils, industries and businesses to help create job opportunities and economic development.

Edward “Nipper” Brown

Edward Brown, better known as Nipper is the LNP candidate for Cook.

Mr Brown was born in Mossman, grew up in Julatten, played for the Mossman Sharks, and went to school in Mareeba.

Mr Brown has spent the last seven years as a Councillor for the Mareeba Shire Council. Before that he spent many years working for Telstra across the region.

Mr Brown ran for Mareeba Mayor in the March election but was just pipped at the post.

On his agenda are areas such as youth crime, health services, including Mossman maternity services, raising employment levels, infrastructure, and water.

Yodie Batzke

Yodie Batzke will run for the seat of Cook as an independent candidate.

Ms Batzke is an active political advocate in Far North Queensland and is a Traditional Owner from Cape York Peninsula, identifying with the Wuthathi People of Shelbourne Bay in Cape York.

As the former Director of Wuthathi Aboriginal Corporation Prescribe Body Corporate and Bromely Aboriginal Corporation Prescribe Body Corporate, Ms Batzke has experience in Native Title & Land Tenure.

Ms Batzke said as an Independent she can stand up for Cook and not be controlled by party politics. She aims to advocate and upgrade areas such as health and aged care, agricultural and livestock, infrastructure, cleaner water ways, and support Local Government Associations achieve their planning aspirations and secure water supply and storage in LGA's across Cook.

Tanika Parker

FNQ Registered Trauma Nurse, Tanika Parker, will run as the Katter's Australia Party candidate for Cook.

Ms Parker was born in Townsville and raised in Cape York before completing her studies at James Cook University.

Ms Parker has her eye on fighting for better infrastructure in Cook, improving regional health services, including restoring maternity services at Mossman Hospital, as well as reducing regulations and lowering the cost of production for cane farmers.

She said there is also an urgent need to set up a COVID-19 response for tourism operators and small businesses, as the industry has been completely decimated and once vibrant tourist towns are now ghost towns.   

Desmond Tayley

Desmond Tayley will run as the North Queensland First candidate for Cook.

Mr Tayley was born and bred in Cook and is a respected Indigenous leader who has spent 19 years working in local government in the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire including three terms as Mayor and two terms as a Councillor.

During this time Mr Tayley has worked closely with the Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils, the Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance, and both state and federal government departments.

Mr Tayley has his eye on improving the regions health service, education, roads, regional telecommunications, and boosting meaningful employment in the region.

Brettlyn "Beaver'' Neal

Brettlyn Neal, AKA the “Beaver” will run as the Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party’s candidate for Cook.

Ms Neal, is a champion boxer, who received the nickname “Beaver” while touring in Fred Brophy's Boxing Tent around regional Queensland.

Ms Neal has worked in the fields of, martial arts, health and fitness, cattle stations, youth engagement, security, and tourism, and has studied a bachelor of primary education.

In recent years Ms Neal has been working to deliver programs to assist troubled youth and help them find genuine employment opportunities, leading numerous programs helping young Indigenous people out of the juvenile justice system.

Ms Neal will run with a focus on the issue of juvenile justice, as well as advocating for water security infrastructure, jobs, and farming.

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