Who will replace Warren Truss in Wide Bay?
Who will replace Warren Truss in Wide Bay? Kevin Farmer

The awkward silence - who will be Wide Bay's next MP?

THE powerful influence of Gympie voters over national politics could not be more awkward right now for Kilkivan police officer and acting LNP boss Llew O'Brien.

The acting president of the LNP is widely seen as Mr Truss's most likely successor as Member for Wide Bay.

But Mr O'Brien had two good reasons not to confirm or deny that earlier today.

Firstly, if he is a candidate, he would destroy his chances if he broke party rules by commenting.

And that would be made even worse if he used his role as acting president to promote himself.

A Catch-22 for Mr O'Brien is that as acting party president, he is the only person in the organisation allowed to comment. As a candidate he cannot, and he didn't.

Read into that what you will.

At the LNP's Brisbane headquarters yesterday, state director Lincoln Folo was similarly non-committal.

"Yesterday, Warren announced his retirement," Mr Folo said.

"In due course the party will be calling for nominations to pre-select a new candidate."

No such doubt exists about the contenders to replace Mr Truss as National Party leader in Canberra and Deputy Prime Minister.

Barnaby Joyce, a former Queensland senator who shifted to the House of Representatives and became Mr Truss's deputy, has been the favourite for that job for a long time.

The compliments flowed for Mr Truss this week, even from old sparring partners like former Labor Minister Anthony Albanese.

Mr Albanese was even polite enough to not mention the Cooroy-to-Curra Bruce Hwy upgrade, for which Mr Truss has claimed and been given considerable credit.

That was nice of him, because it was Mr Albanese, as a Labor Minister who got it started after many years of Gympie Times' campaigning and Howard Government inaction.

But it is also fair to say that under less tight fisted conservative governments, Mr Truss continued the work with vigour.

After 40 years in elected office, Mr Truss said he may be the last poor boy from the bush to become Deputy Prime Minister, "the last with a limited education from one of the poorest electorates in the country".

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