Thursday 13 May 2010

Queensland has two options: Incompetence or complacency

LNP-EED-OFF: Lining up on the Cairns Esplanade - Former Liberal National Party faithful, newly independent members of parliament, Aidan McLindon (Beaudesert) and Rob Messenger (Burnett), with Cairns über-political celebrity, Wendy Richardson.

They swept into Cairns with the intent and vigor of Cyclone Larry. First there was Aidan. Then jumped Rob. And then there was Wendy. Richardson that is.

Over a late latte Villa Romana lunch, CairnsBlog was granted exclusive backstage access to the most sought-after independents in Queensland. There was a warning out that Kevin Byrne or John Mackenzie might appear at their cuisine de place of choice, but that didn't put these hungry politicians off their linguine with smoked salmon, washed down with Perrier mineral water.

There was a serious side to their mission north. McLindon and Messenger have simply got fed up with party politics.

"Queensland is now unfortunately faced with two options: one of incompetence and one of complacency," MP for Beaudesert, Aidan McLindon told CairnsBlog. "Until a third dynamic of co-operative independents form, we'll still keep getting what we've always got.

McLindon says it's time that people like Wendy Richardson to really put their communities first."

Aidan McLindon and Rob Messenger want Federal Labor to put the planned Queensland asset sales to be put on hold, pending the upcoming election.

"[We want to] put asset sales on the Federal agenda and ensure that royalties to regions and a percentage of all those royalties, go back to those regions were they come from," McLindon says.

"We're going to light a fire under local Labor members," Rob Messenger says. "And make sure that they ask Kevin Rudd that the asset sales are postponed till after the next Federal election, and we can have a State ALP conference to provide their members the right to discuss this."

Rob Messenger says that the trio want to put their communities first before any political party, a sediment that three-time political hopeful Wendy Richardson echos.

"I guess for me I want to be able to work without being constrained and filtered in what I say and do and the way I represent people," Wendy Richardson said.

Aidan McLindon didn't make his decision to leave the LNP last week lightly. He was a member of the Liberals for seven years, and then the Nationals for another three, before realising things weren't quite right.

"When the parties [Liberals and National] came together for the merger, it was a party based on principals and ideals that I agreed with," Aidan McLindon said. "So very early in, two or three months after being elected, I started to get very cynical at the processes that were beginning to occur."

"I was championing numerous issues in the electorate, often to no avail. I was certainly being quieted down to say 'give up on this particular issue'. It got to a point where I thought to myself over the Christmas holidays, I'd try to wake the troops up a bit," McLindon says.

On January 26th Aidan McLindon sent out a two-page email to his colleagues and Parliamentary staff on Level 6, stating where he thought the party should be heading.

"It said, 'let's get it together, let's beat 2010, this is what we should be doing'. I stated a number of things. Individually it got a great reaction. However collectively, no one was championing this, besides Rob [Messenger]," Aidan said.

As deputy whip, Messenger warned McLindon that, although he wholeheartedly agreed with his email comments, it would be leaked and someone would use it to cite leadership ambitions against him.

At the time McLindon felt the culture and atmosphere in the LNP was corroding incrementally.

"If anything, it was stagnant. there was no serious position or alternative policy. If you take the example of the asset sales, the LNP's position is that 'Queensland's not for sale'. That's it. That's a statement. It's not an alternative policy. Which means it gives no hope. It certainly doesn’t make a viable opposition. When things are going so bad, opposition is equally responsible as well as government, if they're not providing alternative ideas to be debated in the parliament," Aidan McLindon says.

Like Wendy Richardson, both MPs feel they've exhausted all avenues before they felt they had to break from the party machine, because it was doing a disservice to their local electorates.

"You know you can ask so many questions in parliament, and they make a political point, or to get a five-second grab [for the news]," Rod Messenger says. "A strong body of independents in the Queensland legislative assembly that hold the balance of power, is what is needed. [They would] curb the excesses of the parties."

Aidan McLindon says that the more entrenched we get in a political party, the message, the desire for change, gets so filtered down.

"The reality is now, that people like you Michael, [CairnsBlog] are the referees now. Because we don't have an upper house, it's blogs like yours that have more power," McLindon says. "You are the upper house," Messenger adds.

"They [media] have their own agenda, and over time a lot of the media get overtaken by the system," McLindon says.


stupid is as stupid does said...

You did a launch of something supposedly alternative at Villa Romana? Just like Macca does for his news? How alternative is that?

Per se said...

I wonder if the management was keeping a watchful eye on in case they did a runner on the bill. Been done before I believe.

nocturnal congress said...

It was Rob Messenger's perseverance which ultimately exposed the "Dr Death" scandal and chronic mismanagement at Bundaberg Hospital. That matter alone illustrates that Queensland would do well to vote for a few independents.

Next please said...

they all look like skinny D Grade news readers to me ... no brains and desperate to hold on to their ever fading D Grade looks.