Old hand steer­ing ship

Spring­borg ‘right de­ci­sion’ to lead LNP in rough seas, says lo­cal MP

Isis Town and Country - - News - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

THE RE-ELEC­TION of Lawrence Spring­borg as LNP leader has raised eye­brows but Bur­nett MP Stephen Bennett says he is happy with the de­ci­sion.

Mr Spring­borg was elected by his party col­leagues in Satur­day’s marathon party room meet­ing, with John-Paul Langbroek en­dorsed as his deputy. Many com­men­ta­tors have ques­tioned the de­ci­sion to re-en­dorse Mr Spring­borg, with the Health Min­is­ter hav­ing lost three elec­tions as leader in the past.

But Mr Bennett de­fended the move, and said it was that ex­pe­ri­ence that helped Mr Spring­borg’s case.

“We were talk­ing about a fresh, new start but we also need to be able to op­er­ate ef­fec­tively in op­po­si­tion,” Mr Bennett said.

“It’s go­ing to be very tough.

“Peo­ple should have no dis­il­lu­sions about how dif­fi­cult elec­toral re­form and sup­ply of gov­ern­ment will be in this hung par­lia­ment.”

Ma­roochy­dore MP Fiona Simp­son pub­licly an­nounced her de­ci­sion to run last week and public opin­ion polls placed her among the LNP’s top ech­e­lon in the eyes of vot­ers. She was ex­pected to be a front-run­ner for at least one of the roles, but while she missed out on top billing, Ms Simp­son may fea­ture in the LNP’s min­istry.

When asked for his opin­ion about the for­mer speaker’s de­ci­sion to pub­li­cise her plans to stand, Mr Bennett said it epit­o­mised the party’s cul­ture.

“You have to think of the courage of th­ese peo­ple to stand, es­pe­cially when you con­sider if you lead in op­po­si­tion you may not nec­es­sar­ily be there to lead in gov­ern­ment,” Mr Bennett said.

“I think it just showed the com­mit­ment of the party. We had very ex­pe­ri­enced peo­ple come out and stake their claim.

“We’ve made the right de­ci­sion in that they have the ex­pe­ri­ence to lead us in th­ese tough, un­cer­tain times.”

Mr Bennett did not ex­plic­itly state who he backed, nor did he dis­close how each prospec­tive leader polled, but he did say there was a “clear re­sult”.

The party room meet­ing was called af­ter for­mer pre­mier Camp­bell New­man was dumped by Ash­grove in Jan­uary 31’s his­toric elec­tion and for­mer deputy Jeff Seeney re­lin­quished his lead­er­ship role.

Mr Bennett said Queens­lan­ders should know who won each seat by (Wed­nes­day), with the ex­cep­tion of Ferny Grove af­ter rev­e­la­tions Palmer United Party can­di­date Mark Tav­erner was in­el­i­gi­ble to run.

At the time of go­ing to print, sev­eral seats were still in play, in­clud­ing Bund­aberg, where La­bor’s Leanne Don­ald­son was likely to un­seat Jack Dempsey.

Stephen Bennett, Bur­nett MP They have the ex­pe­ri­ence to lead us in th­ese tough, un­cer­tain times.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

MOV­ING AHEAD: Mem­ber for Bur­nett Stephen Bennett at Mil­len­nium Park, Childers.

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