She’s from one of the most respected beef families in Australia and runs a successful butchery business and she is a local, but now Susan McDonald is aiming to add a new string to her bow – taking on the rough and tumble of Canberra politics.
The LNP has preselected Ms McDonald to be a Senate candidate for Queensland in the next federal election and at number two on the ticket with six seats on offer, is almost certain to be elected to parliament.
Ms McDonald knows a lot about North West Queensland as a native of Cloncurry and who went to Mount Isa School of the Air.
She grew up on Devoncourt Station, 70km south of Cloncurry, as the daughter of Christine and Don McDonald and politics was in the blood – her father is a LNP heavyweight who was both the Queensland and federal National Party president during the 1990s while her late uncle Bob was a Cloncurry councillor for 40 years.
The two McDonald families also run the beef empire MDH Ltd and for the last five years Ms McDonald has been the managing director of MDH’s Super Butcher, a five store and online meat retailing business.
She also is a director of Beef Australia and the treasurer of the RNA so Ms McDonald will bring plenty of rural expertise to the purple chamber as she explain to the North West Star on a recent visit to Mount Isa.
“Our family has always seen politics as the ultimate community service,” Ms McDonald said.
“If you have the capacity to make a difference to your community, that’s your responsibility to do it.”
Ms McDonald said she put up her hand as a response to “some of the craziness”.
“Good government is about delivering on taxes for the best outcomes for the community and it used to be that bureaucrats and politicians had a background in the real world,” she said.
“Now bureaucrats are appointed to a job, it’s more about procedures and processes rather than practical outcomes and the same is true for politicians who’ve never had a job where they had to worry about paying wages and doing the right thing for their customers.”
Ms McDonald said those changes have led to impractical legislation and outcomes.
“As an example (Agriculture Minister) David Littleproud has announced an inquiry into the bush fires in Queensland and I think he’s right,” she said.
“The practices in the last few years have led to a high fuel load – this is not about climate change, this is about practical land management.”
Ms McDonald said if elected she will set up an electoral office in Townsville but maintains a strong interest in North West Queensland.
“The issue here is always water,” she said.
“I will be working hard to make sure we are capturing the fantastic rainfall we get in the North and the West so we can build value-added industry and we’ve already seen Hughenden has just had a great announcement with its irrigation project.”
Ms McDonald said other priorities included road and rail, energy costs, internet and phone access and liveability in the community.
“The Gillard government commitment to go renewables in 2012 was premature and we failed to bring on more affordable electricity.”
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