LNP treasurer Barry O’Sullivan has been caught on tape intimidating and swearing at a candidate.
The interview between Mr O’Sullivan and Cairns businessman Paul Freebody was secretly recorded in March.
Amity Neumann reports.
Throughout the brutal two hour interview, Mr O’Sullivan can be heard verbally harassing and humiliating Mr Freebody, who was the Cairns LNP candidate at the time.
LNP President, Bruce McIver admits the grilling was over the top, but insists there’s no culture of intimidation within the party.
The following audio is an extract from the interview, which Mr Freebody says he recorded after over-hearing the ‘savage’ treatment of another candidate.
Barry O’Sullivan, LNP Treasurer: “You wouldn’t be the first ****ing dead body on the floor of this party, where the problem has got too big. You need to work with us here and stop frightening the children.”
Paul Freebody, Then LNP Candidate: “I’m not frightening the children.”
Barry O’Sullivan, LNP Treasurer: “You are ****ing frightening me, Paul.”
Paul Freebody, Then LNP Candidate: “I don’t think you are easily frightened.”
Barry O’Sullivan, LNP Treasurer: “I am petrified. If you think this party is going to go out and defend you on your word alone you are even more ****ing naive than you are pretending.”
This incident comes only weeks after the LNP were rocking by another scandal, in which dirt files on 49 Labor MPs were leaked.
Independent MP Bob Katter says his Australian party will not have their reputation ‘massacred’ like the LNP, and with the an election looming he wants his party on their best behaviour.
Bob Katter, Member for Kennedy: “If I hear that one of you is talking about your opponent or worrying about your opponent perosnally, then I will come after you.”
Doctor Paul Williams from Griffith University says the behaviour in the interview is more common in Australian politics than people realise, and with an election looking to happen early next year, this is the last thing the LNP want.
Dr Paul Williams, Griffith University: “It seems very much that this is a parent-child relationship where the authority and communication is all one way, it’s all top down. And that can’t be healthy for any political party. Communication should be both ways.”
Mr Freebody was ultimately expelled from the LNP in August after penning an email said he hoped Prime Minister Julia Gillard ‘follows the history’ of assassinated US president John F Kennedy.
Mr Freebody claims the email had been tampered with.
Amity Neumann, QUT News.