EMBATTLED MP Peter Slipper has suffered a humiliating backlash from within his own party, with an overwhelming majority voting against his preferred choice for chairman of the Fisher electorate council.

The party faithful called Mr Slipper's bluff, electing former federal minister Mal Brough to head the party's Fisher electorate council.

It was a move Mr Slipper had warned would make his position “untenable”, but last night the embattled MP denied the statement was intended as a threat to quit the party.

In a missive to members, leaked to the Daily on Friday, the controversial MP did not name Mr Brough but said if members elected the person seeking to replace current chairman Greg Robinson, “my position as a parliamentary member of the LNP becomes untenable. This would not be helpful to the Coalition in a hung parliament where every vote counts”.

But at the annual general meeting of the LNP's Fisher branch at Maleny Showgrounds, members ignored the warning and voted 201 votes to 69 for Mr Brough to fill the top position.

Mr Slipper later failed to unequivocally declare an ongoing commitment to the party and rather than resign, he went on the attack and denied that by saying his position was untenable he was indicating he would be resigning.

“What I said was that my position would become untenable,” he said.

“I think the situation is extraordinarily difficult.

“The reality is that a hung parliament is a hung parliament.

“I never suggested that I would leave the party.”

After warning LNP members that the opponent to his anointed chairman was on the record as calling the LNP an “abomination ... founded on lies and deceit”, Mr Slipper said he was happy to try to work with Mr Brough.

“Obviously the result of the election today is not in the best interest of the party,” he said.

“I'm happy to endeavour to work with Mal Brough and work with the rest of the FDC and the party.

“This matter has to be looked at in perspective. We're talking about electing him to an organisational position.

“I'm prepared to accept that party members made that decision.

“I'm prepared to endeavour to work with the FDC and the party.”

But he did concede it might not be a smooth ride.

“Put it this way. It's no secret that Mal Brough and I have a robust relationship,” he said.

“Working with the new FDC executive including Mal Brough will be a challenge.”

Mr Brough later promised he would “engage a lot more to bring members' experience, expertise and networking to improving the LNP. That will not be at the exclusion of anyone, but at the inclusion of everyone”.

LNP members described the atmosphere inside yesterday's closed meeting as toxic.

The day began badly for Mr Slipper when State LNP secretary James Martin ordered the removal of pamphlets which the MP's supporters had placed on every seat, attacking Mr Brough's party loyalty and motivation.

It was a theme continued in Mr Slipper's address to party members, in which he is also said to have heaped derision on LNP state shadow attorney general Jarrod Bleije.

Mr Bleije represents the state seat of Kawana, the LNP branch of which Mr Brough is a member, and which is the party's fastest-growing branch in Queensland.

Long-serving executive secretary Helen Sava, who is head of the Sunshine Coast Independent Retirees Association and highly respected within the party, was re-elected as part of Mr Brough's team with vice-chair Jenny Sinclair and treasurer Angela Miles at the expense of Slipper candidates.

Members said the results were greeted by applause and cheers

“I saw all the people there and thought all the old Nats had turned out in support of Slipper,” one said.

“That wasn't the case.”

Mr Slipper was asked by outgoing chairman Dr Greg Robinson, whose ticket he had supported, if he would promise he would not quit the party.

His response that his “preferred option was to remain a member of the LNP” was not well received.

The loss of Mr Slipper's support would weaken the Coalition's ability to pressure the Gillard Government on the floor of a hung federal parliament she controls with the support of independent and Green Party representatives.



The Macquarie Dictionary Fourth Edition (2005) defines “untenable” as:

  • Incapable of being held against attack
  • Incapable of being maintained against argument, if an opinion.
  • Not fit to be occupied.

Mr Slipper’s definition:

“I said that my position would be untenable – that is, very difficult.”

Mr Slipper then wrote, “This would not be helpful to a Coalition in a hung parliament where every vote counts”.

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