Frecklington wins surprise support from unlikely source
GYMPIE’S western MP Deb Frecklington has survived a completely unpredictable week as Queensland Opposition leader.
Mrs Frecklington was attacked by her own Liberal National Party, found that its organisational wing is really controlled by LNP rival Clive Palmer and achieved the enthusiastic backing of the Labor Government, in a strange and unintended sort of way.
Queensland Government ministers attacked Mrs Frecklington and her party in state parliament on Wednesday, after The Australian newspaper revealed senior LNP officials who had attacked Mrs Frecklington were working for Mr Palmer or his companies.
Mrs Frecklington’s Nanango electorate includes western Gympie region areas from Bells Bridge to Goomeri.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk outed LNP “faceless men” Bruce McIver and Malcolm Cole.
State Development Minister Kate Jones said LNP president David Hutchinson and Mr McIver were on the payroll of Palmer companies.
Mr Hutchinson, whom Mrs Frecklington had said should resign from the LNP, has since announced he has resigned, but from Mr Palmer’s employ, not the LNP’s.
Mr Hutchinson was a “Palmer property consultant,” former LNP president and continuing “LNP heavyweight,” Mr McIver was a director of a Palmer development company and LNP state executive member Malcolm Cole was a Palmer communications consultant, she said.
State Treasurer Cameron Dick said Mrs Frecklington was “incapable” of moving Mr Hutchinson, whom Mr Palmer said had been denied his human rights by Mrs Frecklington.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey ridiculed the state of the LNP, calling it the “Liberal National Palmer Party.”
The controversy follows Mr Hutchinson’s role in an attempt to remove Mrs Frecklington as party leader.
Mrs Frecklington turned the tables and won unanimous support from elected LNP members, including Gympie MP Tony Perrett and all other state LNP MPs, as well as Wide Bay MP Llew O’Brien.
Meanwhile Mr Palmer has reportedly called for candidate nominations for his United Australia Party