What it means for the North
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.’’