Queensland’s Liberal National opposition remains in turmoil tonight, after two of the Party’s MPs quit to sit as independents.
Rob Messenger and Aidan McLindon say their electorates are being robbed of a voice because of the flawed limits of party politics.
Ellie Sibson reports.
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The members for Burnett and Beaudesert had angered their colleagues as recently as Monday by marching with unions in Brisbane’s Labour Day parade.
Their former leader compared the pair’s departure to “lancing a boil”.
John Paul Langbroek, Opposition Leader: “What these two gentlemen have done, I’m disappointed they haven’t fronted their colleagues.”
Parliamentary colleagues presented a united front at a party strategy meeting this morning wiping their hands of the pair.
Glen Elmes, LNP MP: “Both of them have wanted to follow their own way for a long time now, there was only one shot left in the gun, they’ve done that. Where they go now is entirely up to them.”
Lawrence Springborg, LNP Deputy Leader: “We’ve got thirty-four members of parliament, two of them have not been playing as part of a team and I think there’s a sense of relief.”
But there’s no doubt the defections will cause ongoing problems for the LNP.
The resignation of the two MPs now means at the 2012 election the LNP not only has to win back those two seats but also another eleven from Labor or other Independents.
And while protesters were giving the thumbs down to Federal leader, Tony Abbott, he was doing a “Pontius Pilate” act of his own about the Queensland defections.
Tony Abbott, Federal Opposition Leader: “That is entirely a matter for the Liberal National Party in Queensland.”
Mr Langbroek was clearly frustrated his members chose to quit, the day former prime minister John Howard arrived to give a pep-talk on party unity.
John Paul Langbroek, Opposition Leader: “Of course it’s an unwanted distraction.”
Mr Howard says he’s not embarrassed by the resignations.
John Howard, Former Prime Minister: “I’m here to share my experiences both in government and more particularly in opposition.”
Ellie Sibson, QUT News