Schwarten bitten, sent to hospital

Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten.
Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten. File

IT was the first time Robert Schwarten didn’t bite back.

The blunt-talking Rockhampton MP spent last night in hospital with doctors diagnosing a spider bite, or some other strong allergic reaction.

The culprit struck at Mr Schwarten’s Yeppoon beach house and had succeeded where many had failed – rendering the politician lost for words and struggling to breathe and swallow.

Mr Schwarten passed out twice during the ordeal and was rushed to Rockhampton Hospital’s accident and emergency ward where he underwent “more tests than Queensland Education could deliver”.

The first sign of distress was a severe skin irritation which he noticed after picking lemons from a tree in the backyard about 7pm on Sunday.

“I had a shower but the itching didn’t go away,” he recalled today.

“I passed out twice but I remember the whole thing.”

The Member for Rockhampton was discharged from hospital today.

Upon hearing the news, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh offered him the week off.

But as the saying goes – it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, rather the fight in the dog.

“I’ll be back at Parliament (tomorrow),” Mr Schwarten said.

While the attacker could not be determined, the experience hadn’t left the pollie with a sour taste in his mouth.

“I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that all of God’s creatures live in peace but this time it appears I’ve encroached into their territory a bit too far.”

Mr Schwarten is never far from the headlines – last month admitting his language might have got a bit fruity during a confrontation with five fellow diners at a local restaurant.

It was a jibe about eating out at taxpayer’s expense that snapped the MP’s resolve.

Today he reassured his constituents the allergic reaction was not linked to his previous health matters.

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