No ‘ golden pathway’ for Newman
CAMPBELL Newman’s run for the leadership of the Liberal National Party has been sullied by claims the party b u l l i e d a me mb e r w h o wanted to run against him.
Norman Wicks, who runs an accountancy firm in the inner west Brisbane suburb of Toowong, tried to chall enge Mr Newman i n a preselection contest but was told nominations had closed.
MP Jeff Seeney is now the opposition’s leader in the parliament, but Mr Newman, Brisbane’s lord mayor, will t a ke o v e r a s p a r t y r o o m leader once he’s endorsed for the seat of Ashgrove, expected to be on April 3.
Mr Wicks was told yesterd a y h e c o u l d n ’ t s e e k preselection for Ashgrove as nominations had closed 36 hours after Mr Newman’s entry.
After he publicly criticised what he called a rushed process, Mr Wicks says a senior party official tried to gag him, threatening him with expulsion.
‘‘ The Liberal Party has always criticised the Labor Party for backroom deals, but they seem to be doing the same thing,’’ he said.
‘‘ We expect a certain standard of behaviour rather than plain expediency. president or state director could speak on party matters.
‘‘ Obviously, by going and talking to the media, whoever it is, those individuals are in breach of our constitution,’’ he said. ‘‘ But no, there was no threat or anything else like that.’’
He said the party would look at how Mr Wicks should be dealt with.
Mr Newman y e s t e r d a y vowed to win over critics, saying he’d already met with f ormer l eader John-Paul Langbroek over lunch to smooth things over.
‘‘ I shared my sushi with him,’’ he said. ‘‘ We’ve had a good chat, a frank conversation about all of the things that have happened in the past few weeks and we’re g o i n g t o g o f o r w a r d together.’’
He said he had a ‘‘ highly unified’’ senior team and would win over anyone still unsure about it.
Another person he hopes to win over is the mastermind of his successful mayoral campaigns, Ben Myers.
Mr Myers, who now works for the Queensland Gas Company, has confirmed Mr Newman has approached him but won’t say whether he’ll take the job.