Saturday 19 February 2011

Liberal National Party in crisis, hours before Cairns' candidates selected Sunday

Just one day before a crucial candidate selection meeting for the four State seats in the Cairns region, the LNP hierarchy is on the warpath, terminating memberships and removing candidates with no warning.

The selection of Liberal National Party candidates to contest the wall-to-wall Labor-held seats of Mulgrave, Cairns, Barron River and Cook, was to be held on November 20th last year, however just four days before the meeting, it
was cancelled. The party cited some final candidate checks had not been completed, but the delay now displays a wider picture of an orchestrated campaign between party president president Bruce McIver and State Director Michael O'Dwyer. O'Dwyer has wanted to systematically remove 15 members of the party who signed a September 2009 letter, critical of LNP's management in Far North Queensland.

The signatories alleged financial mis-management of LNP's Far North Queensland region, and directed much of their concerns at Dennis Quick, a long-time party supporter. Among the signatories was , who was secretary of the Barron River committee and a Federal Police fraud investigator, Murray Ferguson, who is seeking nomination tomorrow as the LNP candidate for Barron River.

CairnsBlog has learnt that O'Dwyer has attempted to ban Murray Ferguson from contesting this weekend's pre-selection, unless he makes certain statements in his speech to members.

Rob Messenger, who in 2005 lead the charge to expose Jayant Patel at Bundaberg Base Hospital, tabled the 10-page letter in State Parliament in May 2010, says that no investigation was undertaken by the LNP following the letter. He said Barry O’Sullivan, the LNP treasurer entered into "bullying, abusive phone calls and threats of legal action" against local Cairns-based members.
  • Those who signed the letter were: Vic Black (Leichhardt FDC chair), Hillary Newton (FNQ Regional and FDC treasurer), Anne Jackson (secretary Leichhardt FDC), Darren Delanely (immediate past chair, Leichhardt FDC), Wendy Richardson (FNQ Regional vice chair), Jen Sackley (chair regional woman's division), Murray Ferguson (secretary Barron River FEC), Craig Batchelor (chair Cook SEC and candidate), Clint Betts (treasurer Cairns SEC), Katrina Breen (chair Cairns branch and secretary regional woman), Louise Robertson (treasurer Cairns Branch and regional woman, secretary YLNP), Jake Roberstson (chair Cairns YLNP, vice chair, Cairns SEC), Vickie Farquhar (secretary Mulgrave SEC), Rob Farquhar (treasurer Mulgrave SEC), and John Vickery.

    Vikki Kippin-O'Connor (chair Innisfail branch), Dennis Dillon (chair Mulgrave SEC) and John Giaimo (chair Cairns SEC) all appeared on the letter, but didn't sign.
O'Dwyer has told party insiders that the letter which many would consider political history, will be the “downfall of the LNP in the state of Queensland." He says that the Labor party and the media will use the letter as a weapon against the stability of the party.

Of the 15 who signed the infamous letter, 10 have been removed from the party or have resigned. The latest to be targeted is Vic Black, who ran for the LNP in Mulgrave at the last State election, and was to contest this weekend's selection for the sought-after Cairns nomination. However late last night Black's membership was terminated for "gross misconduct"

"I was removed as a member from the LNP because I would not stand down [for pre-selection] as requested by the State Director, Michael O’Dwyer and his over-arching committee, and in not doing so they have deemed me as having committed a gross misconduct," Vic Black said in an email to members at 10:30pm last night.

"It shocks me that this behaviour can still go on in modern times and I regret that I cannot be allowed to lead Cairns to a better future and work for the people in a proper and democratic way. Some of my closest LNP friends were informed of this situation yesterday [Thursday] but the powers that be have made me wait until 9.05pm tonight for their decision," Vic Black said.

"I believed in the openness and transparency of the party," Vic Black told O’Dwyer. "If I was pre-selected it would show that the LNP can discuss matters of internal politics and that there are no skeletons in our closet."

As soon as Vic Black learn't that his membership was terminated, he put in a formal complaint to the party leader, Tony Abbott.

"I am forwarding this correspondence to you for your perusal as I would like to make a formal complaint about the heavy handed tactics that Michael O’Dwyer and the “Over arching committee” displayed yesterday when they requested that I attend a pre-selection meeting at the Cairns LNP office.

"I am involving you as who else do you make complaints to when the complaint is against the State Director?" Vic Black wrote. "The letter and the incident that is referred to was well and truly forgotten by Dennis Quick and myself and we were capable of working well as a team. Dennis even signed my application form for the Pre-selection contest late last year."

"The reason the State Secretary gave tonight was for gross misconduct however you can make your own conclusions from the following correspondence and I can assure you that any gross misconduct did not come from me. I cannot believe the level of unprofessional conduct Michael O’Dwyer and his cohorts have displayed and after losing the last two State elections. His strategies are flawed as can be seen by this episode. I cannot believe he is competent to be in a position of such power and not accountable to anyone," Vic Black said.

Former Young Liberal Tyson Hayter has also viewed O'Dwyer's record as damaging to the party.

"If Michael O'Dwyer stays, the LNP will again lose the state election. He ran a useless campaign last time, and now he's trying to dictate the local pre-selection process. What a disgrace," Hayter said.

Another former member of the LNP who signed the letter, Vickie Farquhar, said the letter was going to come back and bite Vic Black.

"The remarks that about bringing about the downfall of the LNP bring me so much satisfaction," Vickie Farquhar said. "I’m a great believer in Karma. I’d love to see Michael O’Dwyer held responsible for all the crap that he and his cronies have sanctioned or instigated.
John-Paul [Langbroek] is just a puppet with tangled strings – totally bloody useless."

"I’ve remained friends with those of the signatories who considered principals more important than political gameplay," Vickie Farquhar told CairnsBlog.

Vic Black says the impromptu meeting yesterday to give him an ultimatum of either withdrawing from the contest or to be forced out by the State Executive from pre-selection, was extremely unprofessional. He has been accused as the main instigator behind the letter on September 2009 that sought answers about financial mis-management of the local party organisation.

"As I see it, I am damned if I do stand and I am damned if I don’t. I have now spent considerable time and money to ask the pre-selectors to vote for me and I will seek compensation and a full refund of my application fee from the LNP for this," Vic Black said.

Black, who is now seeking $1,700 of expenses, says Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch is behind the termination.

"Warren Entsch just can't let it go," Vic Black says. "Dennis Quick and I made up over that letter a long long time ago. Warren Entsch has been having morning tea and talking to Bob Norman at Villa Romana."


Michael P Moore said...

Bryan, did you mean "Oodinium" ?

Unknown said...

Paul Freebody who would elect him..I guess he needs to get a high paying job somehwhere as all the make belive fairy waterpark invester's have flown away.Maybe we needs to change his name to Mr. Nobody and dont forget the ever so fit and healty Mrs Nobody.. and what about the super smart Kid Nobodys.

Bryan Law said...

Oodinium, a microscopic parasite on fish: " The host is irritated and often swims in fuzziness while rubbing itself against rocks".

Cairns has been doing a lot of that lately. Perhaps if we mangle Tim Grau and Paul Freebody electorally, we can achieve at least a feeling of satisfaction.

Why doesn't the ALP give Richie Bates a go? Why aren't the Greens running a proper campaign? DJ Hunt and Wendy Richardson? Why not?

Where's a nonviolent revolution when you need one?

D.J.HUNT said...

Bryan I'm happy to show you all the media releases etc that we have put out put out day after day. Unfortunately the media machines know we do not have the money the major parties do to spend on election campaigns and they don't want to miss out on the advertising dollars by giving us any focus and putting off the two majors.
And given Labors performance parachute Tim won't be getting my preferences

Unknown said...

Hence, The Queensland Party...

Unknown said...

Freebody couldn't be any worse than the useless Desley Boyle that's supposedly been doing this job for the last 12 years, could he?
Answer - no way.
I mean, name one, just one, major achievement for the people of Cairns that Desley, the overpaid public money $ucker has done.
Long pause ...
There you are .... zilch.
Bring back KB - let's get this town moving again!
Just imagine ...
Freebody initiating and funding development projects, KB approving them, aka 2006/07.
Cairns will be rolling again.
Jobs for our children.
No need for them to head off to BrisVegas to find work.
Think carefully voters, think carefully.

Anonymous said...

KB??? Think carefully voters, think VERY carefully.
Actually, I think the entire political scene in this area alone is totally stuffed. There are the few 'voices in the wilderness' calling for accountability and reform but they might just as well be pissing in the wind. It's going to take a cataclysmic event before the majority of voters here stop being complacent. We came close with Yasi but were lucky enough to dodge the bullet.
The power brokers like MO'D get where they are by stealth and lack of interest by the rank and file. Believe me, no one actually wants to take office but some, once they are there, find the power and opportunities too hard to resist.
I hope the Queensland party can deliver the goods...but then voters have to give them the chance to do so. If nothing else, they should aim to be watchdogs with a ferocious bite!

The Expiditor said...

Chris of Manunda says,
I will be attending the pre- selection meeting tonight replete in my protective armour of richessness and protected my the sword and shield of God himself. After all who else can we small people rely on to protect us.
Chris of Manunda
PS Just got ordered out of Tully Heads by the Bligh government who don't want Volunteers there...they see and hear too much.

Paul Johnson said...

a very interesting read !

Alison Alloway said...

I don't know why it is, but it always seems that in every type of organisation, be it a community service club, a co-operative, a social group or whatever, invariably some despotic control freak moves in and takes over. It's a first hand reminder just how fragile our democracy really is.