Damocles’ sword moment: Queensland Premier Anna Palaszczuk now leads a minority government with the support of the independent Speaker Peter Wellington. Photo: Chris HydeQueensland’s accidental Premier
Queensland Premier Anna Palaszczuk is wrestling to overcome Labor’s penchant for self-inflicted wounds just seven weeks after unexpectedly winning government.
Her one-seat majority government vanished after a Labor MP admitted to a secret criminal history and resigned from the party amid allegations of domestic violence. Billy Gordon, the member for Cook, a seat based on Cape York, resigned from the ALP. But he has rejected calls to quit Parliament.
Ms Palaszczuk referred domestic violence allegations to police.
She now leads a minority government courtesy of the support of the independent Speaker Peter Wellington. These sorts of imbroglios haunt Queensland Labor.
In early 1996 Premier Wayne Goss faced his Damocles’ sword moment when a Court of Disputed Returns declared Labor’s 16-vote victory in the Townsville suburban seat of Mundingburra void.
Mundingburra is an army town. The Liberals had challenged the result on the grounds that military personnel serving in Rwanda had missed voting, and easily won the byelection.
Faced with a hung Parliament and an independent MP supporting the Coalition, Mr Goss fell on his sword and the Nationals occupied the government benches.
The crisis caused by Mr Gordon’s economy with the truth to ALP preselection panels – previously he unsuccessfully stood for the federal seat of Leichhardt – has exposed Labor’s risible recruitment processes.
The Liberal-National Party Coalition has also been caught using Mr Gordon’s former partner and the mother of two of his children to discredit him politically.
The void created by Mr Gordon’s resignation has been filled with hot air from all sides as the politicians pressed the business-as-usual button.
Ms Palaszczuk demanded Mr Gordon’s expulsion from the ALP after his resignation, rejected accepting his vote in Parliament, rushed to Cairns to clear the ground for a possible byelection and accused Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg of “gutter” politics on the issue.
Mr Springborg said the Premier had attempted to cover up allegations of domestic violence.
“The Premier would probably like to keep talking about herself as the victim, to not want to confront what she knew, when she knew, and why she didn’t act properly, but the real issue here is that Billy Gordon …his former wife and family are the victims, not Annastacia,” Mr Springborg said.
In late February after watching a Four Corners interview, Mr Gordon’s former partner left a question about his attitude to domestic violence on the Facebook site of the man he defeated in Cook, the former LNP MP David Kempton, and the allegations trickled out until Ms Palaszczuk was forced to act.
Meanwhile, the crisis has inflated the hopes of the two Katter’s Australian Party MPs who have positioned themselves to be kingmakers should Mr Gordon stay or the seat of Cook fall to the Coalition.
But a Coalition win is sort of dreamtime.
Cook has a large Aborigine and Torres Strait Islander population and apart from being captured by the conservatives in the 2012 swing to Campbell Newman it has been Labor since 1977. Mr Gordon took it in February with a 6.77 per cent two-party preferred margin.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.