No ‘ golden path­way’ for New­man

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

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.

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