Queensland premier Campbell Newman says he won’t switch seats to an electorate that will be vacated by a dumped long-serving government MP.
Politics is a tough game, Queensland premier Campbell Newman admitted, before denying he aspires to inherit the safe Brisbane seat of a dumped MP.
“I had been warned months ago that the LNP wanted the seat of Moggill,” MP Dr Bruce Flegg said on Friday after he was blocked from recontesting the 2015 state election.
“This is the day that the LNP walked away from their principles.”
Party executives had rejected Dr Flegg’s application for endorsement.
Hours early, fellow MPs Peter Dowling, infamous for dipping his penis into a glass of red wine, and Ros Bates, the embattled former Arts Minister, were given the green light.
“It’s a democracy,” Mr Newman told reporters on Saturday.
“Ultimately, the party are the ones who get to say who the candidates are. That should be no surprise.”
Where the premier sees democratic process, the state opposition sees the LNP’s “faceless men” at work.
“It’s quite clear to me that there is a very nervous LNP backbench,” Labor’s Jo-Ann Miller said.
“They are trying to do the numbers to get rid of Campbell Newman.”
Ms Miller latched on to comments made by Dr Flegg that the party is dogged by “significant internal factional battles”.
The perception of internal turmoil was damaging in the short term for the LNP, Griffith University political analyst Dr Paul Williams said.
“It gives this sense that parties put themselves first before the voters,” he told AAP.
But the long-term damage may not be as easily overcome, he said.
Dr Flegg could decide to run as an independent “just to teach the LNP a lesson” and if he retained Moggill, an additional maverick would be born into Queensland parliament, Dr Williams said.
“That obviously would be a long-term thorn in their side.”
Dr Flegg has given no indication of his intentions at this stage.
While the former housing minister alluded to a leadership succession plan for “before or after the election”, Dr Williams said it was unlikely the party would dump Mr Newman before the 2015 poll.
He predicted a backlash against the LNP in Moggill.
“If Flegg doesn’t stand, you’ll still see a sizeable swing against the LNP, that’s part of the natural correction, but also a bit of a pro-Flegg vote.”
Dr Flegg’s situation had fuelled speculation Mr Newman may switch from his inner-Brisbane electorate to Moggill.
But he insisted he would not desert Ashgrove constituents.
“I am the endorsed candidate. I am standing for Ashgrove. So let’s put that to bed today.”
Mr Newman won Ashgrove from former Labor MP Kate Jones at the 2012 state election, holding it with a margin of 5.7 per cent.
Ms Jones intends to recontest the seat in 2015.
Dr Flegg held the seat of Moggill by a margin of more than 20 per cent.