LNP’s new be­gin­ning

All poli­cies up for re­view as CMC starts bribery probe

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

THE Queens­land op­po­si­tion’s leader in wait­ing Camp­bell New­man has an­nounced a ‘‘ new be­gin­ning’’ for the Lib­eral Na­tional Party ( LNP) on the same day a mis­con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the party’s pres­i­dent be­gan.

Mr New­man yes­ter­day an­nounced he’ll wipe his party’s pol­icy slate clean and start again once he’s en­dorsed as Ash­grove’s can­di­date on Sun­day. ‘‘ What I will be say­ing to the party room . . . is that all poli­cies that have been pre­vi­ously an­nounced are es­sen­tially null and void,’’ Mr New­man told re­porters yes­ter­day.

‘‘ And the new team will be mak­ing an­nounce­ments about pol­icy.

‘‘ It’s a new start and a new be­gin­ning.’’

He said he was as­sem­bling a new team, re­veal­ing he has asked Scenic Rim Mayor John Brent to run for par­lia­ment.

The Bris­bane lord mayor l ast week an­nounced he would quit coun­cil if he won pre­s­e­lec­tion and lead the LNP’s elec­tion team with Jeff Seeney as the op­po­si­tion par­lia­men­tary leader.

But an el­e­ment of the origi nal plan to in­stall Mr New­man as leader is un­der scrutiny by the Crime and Mis­con­duct I nves­ti­ga­tion ( CMC).

The CMC said it had be­gun a mis­con­duct in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims pres­i­dent Bruce McIver of­fered Mog­gill MP Bruce Flegg the po­si­tion of Queens­land’s Agent Gen­eral in Lon­don un­der a fu­ture LNP gov­ern­ment if he re­tired at the next poll.

The seat would have then been va­cant for Mr New­man to con­test but Dr Flegg chose to stay on.

‘‘ The CMC’s de­ci­sion to in­ves­ti­gate has been made in the pub­lic in­ter­est on the ba­sis of main­tain­ing pub­lic con­fi­dence in the state elec­toral sys­tem,’’ the CMC said.

It said the al­le­ga­tion, if proven, would amount to bribery. Dr Flegg has de­nied the claim.

‘‘ I was not of­fered any in­duce­ments and I am happy to co-op­er­ate fully with any CMC in­ves­ti­ga­tion,’’ he said.

Mr McIver was ex­pected to re­lease his own state­ment late yes­ter­day.

Deputy Premier Paul Lu­cas told re­porters the in­ves­ti­ga­tion casts a fur­ther shadow on the whole ‘‘ sor­did saga’’.

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