Powerful voices within the Queensland Liberal National Party have lost faith in Deb Frecklington’s ability to unseat Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the October state poll and are agitating for her to be replaced with the well-known face of a “proven political winner”.
And the identity of the person they are confident can return the LNP to government after two terms in the wilderness? None other than Campbell Newman, former Lord Mayor of Brisbane and Queensland Premier from March 2012 to January 2015.
The Bug understands the push for Frecklington to be sidelined is being spearheaded by the LNP’s Bowen Hills branch, by far the biggest and most influential in the Sunshine State.
The plan suggested by the branch mirrors the tactics used to successfully install Newman as Premier over eight years years ago.
At the appropriate time to prevent the Palaszczuk Government calling a by-election, long-time Clayfield MLA Tim Nicholls, 55, will announce his resignation from Parliament “to spend more time with my family”.
Newman will then be announced immediately as the LNP’s pick for the safe seat and will effectively become Opposition Leader despite not being in Parliament.
The Bug understands a bitter Ms Fleckington has reluctantly gone along with the plan on the promise that she will not be Treasurer should the LNP be elected on October 31.
Chris Jones, president of the LNP’s Bowen Hills Branch, told The Bug: “We all love Deb and she’s much prettier than the Premier and dresses much better too but we as a branch just feel she has not been cutting through despite those advantages.
“Campbell with his Can-Do image is the man we believe can put a stop to the Labor rot.”
A former president of the Bowen Hills branch and still an influential executive member, Des Houghton, backed up Jones’s comments.
“The Sunshine State is at the crossroads,” he warned. “Do you know that by the end of this year, Labor will have governed the state for 25 of the last 31 years.
“No wonder Queensland is now a smouldering, apocalyptic landscape of financial ruin with the shells of failed businesses everywhere you look and a jobless, Godless citizenship begging for scraps for survival on the streets.
“A Labor win in October would mean that by the end of 2024 [the next term is for four years], the ALP, dominated as they are by left-wing Communist trade union puppeteers and baby eaters, will have been wrecking this once-great state for 29 of the past 35 years.
“Sadly, we can’t bring back the Gerrymander that kept Queenslanders safe and sound, that’s for sure, thick and fast like a flock of, well for decades, but we must do everything in our power to achieve the change of government this paper … I’m sorry … this branch and Rupert … sorry, I meant to say ….state … desperately need.
“As we all know, only the LNP can manage economies well. The people of Queensland sadly have been conned into forgetting that fundamental truth of Australian politics and they’ve ended up in no-man’s land with their legs straddling a barbed-wire fence which I can tell you makes it very hard to walk, no problems, that’s the way, unions and the rest.”
Other LNP Bowen Hills branch members who helped formulate the plan to “parachute Campbell into the Premiership” included Peter Gleeson, Steve Wardill and before she moved to Canberra, branch vice president Renee Viellaris, whose amendment “and that Palaszczuk be taken out back and shot” was not accepted by the branch.
“The branch did not think that was acceptable,” Jones said, “Well, not at this stage anyway.”