Queensland parliament has officially endorsed LNP heavyweight Barry O’Sullivan to take up Barnaby Joyce’s vacant seat in the Senate.
Liberal National Party (LNP) heavyweight Barry O’Sullivan has been named by the Queensland parliament to replace Barnaby Joyce in the Senate.
The party had selected Mr O’Sullivan, its former treasurer, in May after Mr Joyce announced his retirement to contest the lower-house federal seat of New England, which he won in the September election.
But Mr O’Sullivan’s endorsement by the Queensland parliament, in accordance with constitutional protocol, was deferred to allow the state’s corruption watchdog to investigate him before he took his seat in Canberra.
The Crime and Misconduct Commission was investigating whether LNP officials, including Mr O’Sullivan, offered an inducement to Queensland MP Bruce Flegg to resign from his seat of Moggill to make way for Premier Campbell Newman in 2011.
It found no evidence for the allegations.
Mr Newman said Mr O’Sullivan would be a passionate and vocal representative for Queensland.
“He’s an accomplished businessman, farmer and police detective,” he said.
“He’s well known for his passion for rural and regional issues and people.”
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk was not as kind, saying she was disappointed the LNP did not select a woman to replace Mr Joyce.
“But if the LNP can honestly tell us, the people of Queensland, that the best person to represent us in the Senate is Barry O’Sullivan, we will not stand in their way,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk was also scathing of the time it took for parliament to endorse Mr O’Sullivan.
“For 27 sitting days, the Queensland parliament has allowed Queenslanders to have inadequate representation in the Senate,” she said.
The LNP selected Mr O’Sullivan as a senator during a worrying time for his family – grandson Patrick was thrown from a ride at a school fete in Toowoomba and suffered serious injuries.
A fully recovered Patrick was in the public gallery on Tuesday watching his grandfather’s endorsement.
During Labor MPs’ speeches before the endorsement, Bill Byrne said Mr O’Sullivan was possibly the worst LNP choice ever made, and labelled him a potty-mouthed enforcer.
Jo-Ann Miller also slammed the new senator for how much he swore.
But the slanging didn’t get to Mr O’Sullivan.
“I thought it was an embarrassment to a number of the Labor members,” he said.
“I think they should probably spend a bit more time taking an interest in what I might be doing for Queensland in the future, instead of looking backwards.
“You wouldn’t be worried about what I think about them if you knew how much I didn’t.”
He says he will push for greater assistance for those who were hit by the drought and the Gillard government’s live-cattle ban.