IN what appeared to be a bizarre attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the LNP yesterday turned on its own.
With the state Labor Government on the electoral ropes and the LNP firming as a likely election winner, leader John-Paul Langbroek yesterday announced the demotion of Gympie MP David Gibson and a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle which will affect a significant proportion of his shadow ministers.
An outraged Mr Gibson yesterday said that, like all his Opposition colleagues, he had been kept in the dark and only learned of his fate through the media.
“We all woke up this morning to an article in the Brisbane Times alluding to a cabinet reshuffle,” Mr Gibson told The Gympie Times yesterday.
“In particular he indicated that I would be losing the Planning part of my Infrastructure and Planning portfolio. The first anyone knew of it was when we saw it in the media,” he said.
The news comes at a time when the Bligh Government is under significant attack from the labour movement, with the Nurses Union disaffiliating from the ALP and the Electrical Trades Union demanding Anna Bligh be sacked as Premier.
Mr Gibson said the LNP now risked losing the momentum, after ETU state secretary Peter Simpson called for Anna Bligh to “resign or be sacked.”
It was a time, Mr Gibson said, when the LNP should be focusing on the government.
“This type of navel gazing 18 months out from an election could impact on our electoral chances,” he said.
“At a time when we should be taking the fight up to Labor, we seem to be bringing the attention back onto us.
“I’ve got to say it’d odd.
“It’s another example of the unpredictable nature of John-Paul’s leadership.
“The leader always has the right to choose who is wanted in the Cabinet and has the right to allocate portfolios.
“It just would have been courteous to let me know of any change, rather than having to read about it in the media.
Asked if Mr Langbroek’s leadership was safe, Mr Gibson said the leadership of the party was a matter for the party room.
“We want to ensure we have the best leadership team going forward to the next election.
“Throughout my life I’ve had the privilege of serving under many leaders, in the military, in business and in politics.
“The common trait that all good leaders possess is the ability to communicate and to motivate people to follow them in whatever endeavour is chosen.
“This is a time we need to be talking about a vision for Queensland.
“Mine is the only portfolio (specifically) mentioned in the article.
“I’ve had many of my colleagues call me, concerned at what’s happening because they assumed if my portfolio is changed I would be aware of it.
“I’ve indicated to them I’m just as much in the dark as they are.”
On the announcement that Planning responsibility was likely to go to the deputy leader, Mr Gibson said Mr Langbroek had indicated greater responsibilities for his deputy.
He referred to the obvious past pre-election division between Liberal and National Party coalition partners, a serious negative in the past, leading to the formation of the LNP, Mr Gibson said: “We can’t have two leaders.”
In a lengthy interview, Mr Langbroek also told the Brisbane Times that long serving frontbenchers would be asked to step aside to “freshen up” the Opposition. He said he would reshuffle his front bench in “coming months.”
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