‘Faceless men’ and ‘bullies’ - LNP implosion continues

IN HAPPIER TIMES: Campbell Newman and departing Gympie MP David Gibson take a stroll down Mary St.
IN HAPPIER TIMES: Campbell Newman and departing Gympie MP David Gibson take a stroll down Mary St.

THE Gympie LNP implosion continued, even as party stalwarts denied it yesterday.

Former LNP Gympie chairman Ian Gordon, who resigned last weekend, told The Gympie Times on Tuesday of his "disgust" at "bullying of grassroots members".

It was not the first time an LNP member had complained about the influence of "faceless men" from headquarters.

Mr Gordon's claims come at a critical time, as the LNP contests a State Election in which Gympie should be one of its safest seats.

He accused the party machine of a campaign to destroy the political career of MP David Gibson.

Mr Gibson took leave from Parliament last year, explaining that he was experiencing a "nervous breakdown", and announced he would not be contesting the January 31 election.

Two LNP members close to the subsequent preselection issue, John Cochrane and Graham Engeman, both denied yesterday that there was an issue connected to Mr Cochrane's decision to step away from the competition to be the LNP's Gympie candidate.

Mr Cochrane publicly said at the time of his withdrawal he realised he was too busy with business commitments - a position echoed yesterday by Mr Engeman.

But Mr Gordon says differently.

He says Brisbane officials had used the same strategy to drive Bruce Flegg out of his Moggill electorate, and official interference had been a major factor in the preselection of the party's candidate for Gympie, Tony Perrett.

"I know that locally they made it nearly impossible for popular local dairy farmer and LNP member John Cochrane to run for preselection, which resulted in him withdrawing so they could make the going easier for their preferred candidate," Mr Gordon said.

"On the day of preselection, state executive votes (were) slightly over 11%, enough to sway the vote.

"This is wrong, especially as LNP president Bruce McIver states local members select the candidate.

"I believe that Campbell Newman and his MPs are doing a great job for Queensland, but are being let down by the LNP HQ in their quest for power and control."

On Tuesday, Mr Perrett declined to comment on "internal party matters" and the LNP denied claims of undemocratic procedures.

'Police face a choice'

HOW much should serving police officers have to do with the political process?

"Nothing at all," says Nigel Powell, the former English bobby and Queensland licensing branch constable whose revelations sparked the Fitzgerald police corruption inquiry.

"You can vote and you can say your piece at barbecues, although that isn't always wise, but police already occupy a position of authority in society and they shouldn't seek to have another one as well.

"Police have the best job in the world and are far above and beyond politics.

"If police can't be seen to be independent of politics, we are lost."

Mr Powell was commenting on the LNP involvement of Kilkivan police officer Llew O'Brien, who was found to have accessed police files to investigate LNP pre-selection candidates in the Nanango state electorate.

"If you want to be in politics, don't join the police," he said.

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Topics:  david gibson editors picks gympie lnp politics

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