LNP President David Hutchinson in full flight at the LNP conference at RNA Convention Centre in Brisbane last July. Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson has said he needed to choose between the party and a contract with Clive Palmer at his Coolum resort. Photo: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
LNP President David Hutchinson in full flight at the LNP conference at RNA Convention Centre in Brisbane last July. Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson has said he needed to choose between the party and a contract with Clive Palmer at his Coolum resort. Photo: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

Coast MP: LNP boss must choose between party and Palmer job

LNP President Dave Hutchinson's contract with Clive Palmer at his Coolum resort was not compatible with his political role, State MP for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson has declared.

Ms Simpson said Mr Hutchinson had to choose between his role as LNP head and the part-time contract work for the mining billionaire.

 

Fiona Simpson, the Member for Maroochydore, has called on her party president David Hutchinson to choose between his contract with Clive Palmer and the LNP, saying the two roles were not compatible. Photo: Patrick Woods
Fiona Simpson, the Member for Maroochydore, has called on her party president David Hutchinson to choose between his contract with Clive Palmer and the LNP, saying the two roles were not compatible. Photo: Patrick Woods

Her position puts her at odds with LNP opposition leader Deb Frecklington, who has defended Mr Hutchinson's decision to take the role.

"I'm the state member for this area and I know how many people Clive Palmer has hurt with what he's done with the resort," Ms Simpson said.

"They don't speak out because they fear they'll be sued."

 

Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer signed LNP state president Dave Hutchinson to a part-time contract to consult on his Coolum resort just months after his United Australia Party preferences helped the Coalition and Scott Morrison win the last federal election. Phone: AAP Image/Jono Searle
Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer signed LNP state president Dave Hutchinson to a part-time contract to consult on his Coolum resort just months after his United Australia Party preferences helped the Coalition and Scott Morrison win the last federal election. Phone: AAP Image/Jono Searle

 

Questioned about her views on the revelation her party's chief was working for Mr Palmer in her electorate, Ms Simpson said the first she'd known about it was when she read the paper.

She said she had since spoken directly with Mr Hutchinson and made her feelings clear.

"The two jobs are not compatible, a choice has to be made and I have advised the president of that," Ms Simpson said.

"He thinks he can manage the conflicts. I don't think they can be, and a decision needs to be made.

"He has a right to earn a living, but the two aren't compatible."

Ms Simpson, who in 2012 became the first woman appointed as Speaker of the Queensland Parliament, is the current Shadow Minister for Employment and Small Business.

Her stance may indicate serious internal divisions in the LNP 10 months out from the next state election.

LNP Opposition leader Deb Frecklington has defended Mr Hutchinson's contract with Mr Palmer.

But she told The Courier-Mail she had sought assurances from him.

"Everyone is entitled to earn a living and have a job," she said.

"I have asked the party president to ensure he separates his role as party president from his work on the Coolum Resort. He assures me he will separate any issues."

Mr Hutchinson told The Courier-Mail there was no conflict of interest in working for Mr Palmer whose United Australia Party contested the last federal election.

He said he would resign if the billionaire businessman fielded candidates at the Queensland poll in October.

The contract began months after the LNP secured a preference deal with United Australia Party at last year's federal election.

"I have always taken the role of party president seriously and would never do anything to damage the party's electoral chances," he said.

"Whilst I acknowledge that Clive Palmer helped the Coalition keep Bill Shorten out of the lodge, I am not aware of any plans to register UAP in Queensland."

Last November Mr Palmer registered a new business name - Clive Palmer's United Australia Party - then lodged an application with the Australian Electoral Commission to change his party's name to the same earlier this month.

Mr Palmer has yet to declare whether he will run candidates in October.



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