A disgraced former Labor MP is being urged to resign from his position, creating a chain of events that could see Labor no longer having enough seats in Parliament to govern Queensland.
Over the weekend, Queensland’s first male Indigenous MP Billy Gordon was sacked from the Labor party. This is what you need to know about what’s going to happen next and how it will affect our government.
Cook MP Billy Gordon has resigned from the Labour party.
Cook released the following statement:
This morning I sent this to ALP State Secretary, Evan Moorhead.
I accept with deep regret that the Premier has determined that I should no longer be a member of the Australian Labor Party. I do not wish the Premier and the party to be put through the pain of expelling me.
On this basis I hereby resign as a member of the Australian Labor Party.
Member for Cook.
Why Billy Gordon was expelled from the Labour party
The Palaszczuk Government is in turmoil after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was forced to dismiss MP for Cook in north Queensland Billy Gordon for failing to disclose his criminal history to the party.
“I’m appalled, I’m shocked and I feel sick in the stomach,” Palaszczuk told reporters in Townsville during the weekend after the news broke. “This is one of the toughest calls I’ve had to make. In the best interests of Queensland he should resign.”
Billy Gordon’s charges and convictions
- Breaking and entering and stealing in 1987 in Innisfail
- Breaking and entering with intent, attempted breaking and entering and stealing in 1990 in Atherton
- Breach of probation in 1992 in Atherton
- Public nuisance in 1996 in Normanton and breach of bail conditions in 1999
- Driver’s licence suspended for unlicensed driving in 2004 and 2008
- Served with an Apprehended Violence Order in 2008 after a complaint by his mother
He had told the party only about a 1987 juvenile offence and two driving disqualifications during his pre-selection process. Mr Gordon also signed a form disclosing he had nothing else to declare to the party twice during his 2013 federal run and during his candidacy for Cook.
What this means for the Palaszczuk Government
This turn of events has thrown Palaszczuk’s two-month old minority administration into chaos, leaving Labor in danger of falling one seat short of a parliamentary majority – Labor won 44 seats, including Cook, while the LNP claimed victory in 42.
While Ms Palaszczuk has been applauded for actions, it could bring an end to her minority Labor government. Ms Palaszczuk and the parliamentary Speaker, independent MP Peter Wellington, want Gordon to resign from Parliament, which would pave the way for a by-election.
If Labor were to lose the by-election, it would not have enough support to remain in government and the Liberal National Party could seize power with the support of the Katter’s Australian Party. If Gordon does not resign from State Parliament and stays as an independent, Labor could opt not to accept his vote. This means the party would not have enough seats in State Parliament for the 45-seat majority required to form a government.
What Gordon has to say
Billy Gordon cannot be forced to resign as MP.
He has issued a statement saying that any attempt to remove him from Parliament and force him to resign is a denial of natural justice. Gordon says he is about to undergo a serious eye operation, and needs further time to consider his options and seek legal advice and counsel from his family and supporters.
“I want to firstly apologise to the people of Cook, the Premier and the ALP for failing to appropriately disclose parts of my criminal history,” Gordon said in a statement. “Over the last couple of days, details of my personal life have been made public. Issues ranging from failure to lodge tax returns, failure to pay appropriate child support and most significantly allegations of domestic violence. I have worked hard to rectify outstanding taxations and child-support issues.
“In relation to allegations of domestic violence, the Premier has referred this matter to the Queensland Police Commissioner for investigation. I welcome this investigation and will provide it with full co-operation.”
What the Opposition has to say
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg has called on the Premier to provide a full and frank explanation of her dealings with the Member for Cook.
Mr Springborg said despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk giving her personal assurance to the Parliament that the issue had been “dealt with”, further serious allegations had since come to light.
“The Premier is on the public record saying the issue had been ‘dealt with’ and that she spoke to the Member for Cook but just hours later, only when the media was made aware of further allegations, she referred the matter to police,” he said. “It’s only fair that the Premier explains to Queenslanders why these matters weren’t referred to the Police sooner.
“We put legitimate questions to the Premier in Parliament yesterday and she wouldn’t answer them. If she won’t explain to the Opposition in Parliament will she today explain to Queenslanders exactly what she knew about the matter?
“These are serious issues given the Government’s tenuous hold on power in Queensland. I call on Annastacia Palaszczuk to front the media and fully explain what she knew, when she knew it and exactly what she did to refer the matter to the police.”
Queensland Parliament does not sit again until May 5.
Do you think the Labor Government will hold onto power? Has Annastacia Palaszczuk’s integrity impressed you? Have your say in the comments below!