Queensland’s premier is still publicly supporting an MP dumped as a candidate by the Liberal National Party executive last week.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s public backing of an MP dumped by the Liberal National Party executive is a sign of deep divisions within the party, Labor says.
The Liberal National Party executive last week barred Bruce Flegg from recontesting his Brisbane seat of Moggill, which he’s held for a decade.
A Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) investigation has since cleared Dr Flegg of accusations he gave false or misleading evidence to the watchdog about electoral bribery allegations.
Mr Newman says Dr Flegg’s dumping is a matter for the executive, but he supports MPs who fight for jobs, frontline services and to make the state safe.
“Dr Flegg has filled those criteria and my position hasn’t changed in the last days,” he told reporters at a COAG meeting in Canberra.
“I have made my position (on Dr Flegg’s dumping) pretty clear. I haven’t changed that position in the last seven days. That is a matter for the State executive. I support my parliamentary team.”
In a show of defiance to the executive, Dr Flegg arrived at a party room meeting earlier this week flanked by Mr Newman, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and tailed by most senior cabinet ministers.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk claimed the LNP was so unstable it had become “akin to a soap opera”.
“A daily soap opera where the LNP has been revealed to have deep divisions,” she told reporters.
Ms Palaszczuk questioned “hand-picked” CCC chair Dr Ken Levy’s independence for allegedly clearing Dr Flegg and telling Mr Newman about it before the news was made public.
“This chair was looking at the LNP’s dirty laundry and this chair has cleared the LNP,” she said.
“It is time for Dr Ken Levy to go as the chair of the CCC.
“It has now been nearly three months since the Stafford by-election, where the premier said there would be bipartisan person holding that position, that still has not happened.
Dr Flegg earlier described the lengthy CCC investigation as a “nightmare”, with his house raided, his son’s laptop seized and his phone stolen, and possibly tapped.
“This has really been a nightmare for three years,” Dr Flegg said.
“Information did come to me in relation to phone tapping, sufficient to say that it took place.”
Dr Flegg believes content on his phone was “altered or manipulated” by the person who stole it and he has demanded that the CCC return it so he can check.
“You have no right to be holding my property now this investigation has finished,” Dr Flegg said.
He also indicated he intends to legally pursue a person who may have falsified evidence against him.
The long-term MP is yet to announce whether he’ll recontest Moggill as an independent.