Tuesday 1 March 2011

LNP to investigate Paul Freebody's suitability

The Liberal National Party are now reviewing the suitability of Paul Freebody, who was selected just over a week ago as their candidate for the seat of Cairns.

A special meeting between senior committee members will be held in Brisbane this morning after formal complaints lodged with state director, Michael O'Dwyer, will be considered. It seems after recent disquiet with the local LNP, when they terminated local memberships, including Vic Black who was a candidate for the Cairns seat, they are now taking a serious interest in allegations from people who have had dealings with Mr Freebody, including former business partners and associates. It is believed that some of the concerns relate to how Freebody has run his business and managed legal employee obligations.

Paul Freebody also engaged in a threatening telephone call with myself in early November, that incited physical harm and worse, and this is also subject to a separate investigation. Paul has publicly denied he made any such threat.

The former Cairns city councillor, who lost to 21-year-old Kirsten Lesina at the 2008 local elections in a narrow defeat, has never been far from sparking angry outbursts. Mr Freebody's proposed waterpark, planned for Smithfield on the Baron River flood delta, and has never commenced construction, despite claims at various times in the last 12 months. Following the South East Queensland floods, it's extremely unlikely any investor or bank would back a development on the flood-prone Captain Cook highway site. During council deliberations Mr Freebody called the female councillors "witches and bitches" after a majority called for a deferral to consider objections by the development assessment manager, a reasonable course of action considering the implications and obligations the Council was being asked to commit to.

The selection of Paul Freebody as the Liberal candidate for Cairns caused a volatile reaction on talkback radio and the Cairns Post website last Monday, however all comments were subsequently removed after intervention from Mr Freebody to the Post's online editor who was told there were allegations of false names being used in the comments.

Federal MP Warren Entsch, who did not support Freebody's selection as the Cairns candidate, has insisted that those with complaints and concerns about Paul Freebody, be heard by the party's ruling committee.

Gavin King in his weekend column also discussed the poor choice of Mr Freebody as the LNP candidate, comparing it to Labor's intention to railroad Tim Grau into the seat following Desley Boyle's retirement. King suggested that under Dennis Quick's tenure as a senior party official, was somehow responsible for such candidates, however the selection of candidates rests entirely with the local members.

"Why are they so out of touch with the reality of average voters? Party membership is declining. So too is the calibre of candidates," Gavin King wrote. "People are sick and tired of big parties and all their spin and bulldust. What planet are the people who run the parties on, seriously?"

"The LNP executive need to take a hard look at the local hierarchy and the decisions they’re making. It’s almost like they don’t actually want to win government because it’s much, much harder than being the Opposition. The party’s Far Northern stalwart Dennis Quick has the best interests of the region at heart and he’s got some good ideas for diversifying the local economy. But the quality of recent candidates touted under his watch has been so bad the pre-selection process was delayed by months until they could find some better options." Gavin King wrote.

The party's State Council normally officially ratifies all selections after local pre-selections and therefore has the authority to override a local electorate committee, however this process is normally not invoked.


Anonymous said...

Does the word 'Implode' ring any bells here?

Unknown said...

Comments can be seen here. I seriously doubt anyone removed them deliberately.

Bryan Law said...

I wish I could say the Greens were in a position to sieze this opportunity, and go for a historic win in Cairns. Alas. In reality the Queensland Party may now be our best option for shattering the duopoly of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Then maybe the Greens will get their act together, become a little more democratic and active - and then the real work of social transformation will be significantly advanced.

Until then, we're stuck with revenge as a primary motivation. Revenge against Paul Freebody. Revenge against Desley Grau. I guess it's a start.

Al said...

It would only be non-Labor voters who would want Freebody un-endorsed as LNP candidate for Cairns. Having him as the their candidate is a gift to Labor. Even changing him as their endorsed candidate now shows how out of touch (and dumb) they are. Hopefully for the LNP, it will be forgotten by election time.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of one's political party loyalties or voting intentions, it is vital in a healthy democracy to have quality candidates standing.