THE WAR WITHIN POWER, TREACHERY AND THE LNP
A Peter Gleeson investigation
THREE-PART SERIES ON A PARTY IN CRISIS
THE LNP hierarchy tried to push out its own deputy premier during the Newman era after receiving an anonymous poison letter which included unsubstantiated claims about personal and professional indiscretions by senior Cabinet figures.
The Saturday Courier-Mail has uncovered the bombshell as part of a special in-depth investigation which has exposed extraordinary dysfunction and turmoil within the party over the past decade.
At the same time, then deputy premier Jeff Seeney was facing separate internal party pressure after he refused to approve a rail line and offer up for sale a Sunshine Coast parcel of land to billionaire Clive Palmer.
Outraged at the allegations said to be in the letter – which was never shown to Seeney – the former deputy premier wrote to the LNP’s state executive and demanded that then party president Bruce McIver resign.
Seeney is one of several senior figures now pushing for a major clean-out of the party’s organisational wing in the wake of the 2020 state election loss.
“Unless there’s change, the LNP is in for a very bleak future,’’ he said.
The special joint investigation between The Saturday Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail and Sky News reveals a party in crisis, beset by internal squabbles and deep division, fuelled by anger at the powerful hierarchy.
Today we can reveal:
■ A furious clash with party powerbroker Barry O’Sullivan set in train the political assassination of John-Paul Langbroek when he refused to politicise the 2011 floods;
■ Then premier Anna Bligh rang Labor state secretary Anthony Chisholm and said she was going to call a snap election when Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman was parachuted in to replace Langbroek as LNP leader. She was talked out of it.
■ Seeney described dealing with the party organisational wing during the Newman government era as “more stressful’’ than dealing with the Labor Opposition;
■ Party sources say a grassroots-led revolt is happening among branch members who are “baying for blood’’ after the election loss.
Several party elders say extensive reform is vital if the party is to reclaim electoral success, particularly in the state’s capital.
Even now, they are trying to blame anyone but themselves LNP party figure
But figures within the hierarchy claim MPs are really to blame for the electoral disasters and should be taking responsibility for the failings.
“The state team are the issue and even now, they are trying to blame anyone but themselves,’’ one figure said.
Responding to the revelations, new LNP Leader David Crisafulli said there must be compromise on both sides.
He has told his shadow Cabinet to get out and talk to members to reflect contemporary policy.
He has also hit the ground running, travelling extensively to talk to regional party members about his aspirations in the top job.
“Everything I do in the weeks, months and years ahead is about getting the LNP fit for government,” he said. “I want to give Queensland what it needs. I am determined to do that.
“I believe we can win (in 2024). We must win. We need to be ready to fix the fiscal malaise of this government.
“Getting the parliamentary and organisational wings of the party rowing in the same direction is paramount.
“That’s my mantra. That’s what I intend to do.”
Sources close to Crisafulli say he has encountered “genuine anger” among members about what happened during 2020.
“He knows change is coming – he knows that,” a colleague said.
It is understood that McIver – who many claim is still heavily influential – regards Crisafulli as the party’s great hope and the answer to its political failings.