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14 January 2015

Keith Wright, former Queensland Labor leader jailed for paedophilia, dies aged 72

Politician who came within 3,000 votes of defeating Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1983 was convicted a decade later for raping and indecently dealing with two girls.

Keith Wright - former labor politician and sex offender 2003

Convicted paedophile and former Queensland Labor leader Keith Wright has died in Vietnam.

Wright became head of the party in the early 1980s and came within 3,000 votes of toppling Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1983. He transferred to federal politics in 1984 as the Labor MP for Capricornia.

However, the former Rockhampton teacher and Baptist preacher’s career came to a halt when he was jailed in 1993 for nine years, for raping and indecently dealing with two young girls. Wright was released on home detention in early 1999 and later granted parole.

He moved with his new wife to Asia, where he has worked in literacy programs. In 2009, he publicly apologised to his two young victims, telling the Courier-Mail: “I profoundly regret it all. I am so sorry.”

He was 72 when he died.

The Queensland Labor leader, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has expressed her condolences to Wright’s family. Former Labor minister Robert Schwarten described Keith Wright as a “flawed but a tireless worker”.