What it means for the North

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page -

QUEENS­LAND could be set for an early elec­tion af­ter the Op­po­si­tion re­vealed an ex­tra­or­di­nary plan to in­stall Br i s b a n e L o r d Mayor Ca mp­bel l New­man as its new leader.

Mr New­man ended days of spec­u­la­tion yes­ter­day when he an­nounced he’d seek Lib­eral Na­tional Party ( LNP) pre­s­e­lec­tion for the La­bor-held seat of Ash­grove and, if suc­cess­ful, would chal­lenge John-Paul Lang­broek for the lead­er­ship.

Mr Lang­broek saved him the trou­ble when he and his deputy, Lawrence Spring­borg, quit their posts.

Se­nior MP Jeff Seeney and mem­ber for Ma­roochy­dore Fiona Simp­son ran for the newly-va­cated lead­er­ship po­si­tion last night.

The vote for leader was won by Mr Seeney while shadow trea­surer Tim Ni­cholls was elected deputy un­chal­lenged. Mr Seeney said he would rep­re­sent the op­po­si­tion in par­lia­ment but it would be Mr New­man’s job to de­liver elec­tion mes­sages and chair par­ty­room meet­ings. Mr Seeney said ei­ther he or Mr New­man would front me­dia con­fer­ences and he did not be­lieve that would con­fuse vot­ers.

Asked what would hap­pen if the LNP won the next state elec­tion but Mr New­man failed to win Ash­grove, Mr Seeney said he had no in­ten­tion of be­ing premier. The new LNP leader would be de­cided in a party-room meet­ing af­ter the elec­tion, he said.

Premier Anna Bligh re­fused to rule out an early elec­tion, de­spite hav­ing made re­peated prom­ises not to bring for­ward the poll, sched­uled for 2012.

She said that pos­si­bil­ity came cour­tesy of the LNP, which had acted in a way that risked the par­lia­ment de­scend­ing into a ‘‘ dys­func­tional farce’’.

‘‘ I am not in a po­si­tion to rule any­thing in or any­thing out and I think Queens­lan­ders will un­der­stand that.’’

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