Queensland LNP leader David Crisafulli says the party will be consigned to “a generation in opposition” if it does not address turmoil within the party.
- Mr Crisafaulli says his challenge is to get the LNP “fit for government”
- He says he intends to stop internal conflict between the LNP executive team and Parliamentary members
- A photo of Gary Spence and Bruce McIver on Clive Palmer’s superyacht on election night “hurt members”, he says
His comments come ahead of the release of an internal probe into the party’s 2020 state election loss.
Mr Crisafulli said he wanted the review, due to be completed by May, to be a warts-and-all look at the party, and revealed he felt the LNP’s organisational wing undermined predecessor Deb Frecklington’s leadership.
“I want to make sure that we can never have a situation where, in the shadows of an election, we’re talking about ourselves,” he said.
“I’m standing up on this because I think it’s damn important and I’m putting a flag in the ground.
“I’m saying we’re going to repair and heal otherwise we’re consigned to a generation in opposition. We need to do better.”
In June 2020, less than five months out from the 2020 state election, someone within the LNP leaked unflattering internal polling about then-opposition leader Ms Frecklington.
At the time, Ms Frecklington came out swinging against the unnamed leakers and suggested they were a reactionary force that wanted to undo her work pushing for greater opportunities for women in winnable LNP seats.
“I’ve got one message here today I will not be bullied by the backroom boys of the LNP,” Ms Frecklington said at the time.
More infighting within the party emerged during the election campaign when Ms Frecklington was referred by her own party to the state electoral watchdog over fundraising efforts for her campaign.
Ms Frecklington stood down as opposition leader after the LNP’s election loss in October.
When asked if that destabilisation had an impact on the election result, she said: “Those internal distractions were certainly not helpful.”
Deb Frecklington stood down as leader of the LNP in November 2020.(ABC News: Rachel Riga)
‘Get ourselves fit for office’
When asked if the organisation needed to be cleaned out, Mr Crisafulli said his challenge was to get the party “fit for government”.
He also issued a stern warning to LNP powerbrokers.
“We all need to know our roles and responsibilities,” he said.
“We have to understand that our political movement is one that’s been entrusted by the members to do what is right, and I respect and value them.”
Mr Crisafulli said he intended to end internal conflict and rebuild trust between the organisation’s executive team and parliamentary members, and an important part of the process would be the internal review.
“I want it to be warts and all because if we don’t have a long, hard look at what we did well and what we did poorly we will continue to lose elections,” he said.
“I’m in this because I want to see good generational reform in order to do that we need to get ourselves fit for office and that review’s an important part of it.”
Election-night photo on Palmer’s yacht ‘hurt members’
Mr Crisafulli also addressed a photo that emerged showing former LNP presidents Gary Spence and Bruce McIver on businessman and United Australia Party chairman Clive Palmer’s superyacht cruising the Brisbane River on election night.
Other senior LNP members, and former president Dave Hutchinson, were also on the yacht.
“[It was] not good and it hurt the members and I understand why,” Mr Crisafulli said.
“On election night I know full well there were people who were standing there in soaking clothes having counted ballots in an election that we didn’t win it was not good, and it’s been a message that I’ve repeatedly got.”
“I’m going to have a focus about making sure people who are members of the party feel valued and respected.
Gary Spence, Bruce McIver and Clive Palmer on Mr Palmer’s superyacht on election night.(Tabled in Queensland Parliament)
Mr Palmer was a former life member of the LNP, but quit the party eight years ago after a bitter fallout with then-premier Campbell Newman.
During the 2020 election, Mr Palmer said he had met with, or had telephone calls with, members of the LNP executive but dismissed a question about whether he discussed campaign tactics with the LNP.