MP BETRAYED FROM WITHIN
OUSTED: Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson. file
AN emotional Vaughan Johnson has summed up his reaction at being dumped from the LNP front bench in one word – “betrayed”.
The veteran Member for Gregory hinted at dealings within the party apparatchik that constituted “bad advice”, adding he had been bombarded with emails from angry, bewildered supporters over the weekend.
“Some of the emails I’ve had are not pretty over the last couple of days,” Mr Johnson told Central Queensland News from his Longreach office.
“Here’s the (Labor) government on its knees and this happens in my own party.
“I think there’s bad advice that has created this environment and that bad advice needs to be eliminated.
“I won’t name anyone at the moment.”
At 63, Mr Johnson was the oldest serving LNP member and was ousted from the shadow cabinet by LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek last Friday.
Mr Langbroek defended the reshuffle which elevated Jarrod Bleijie from the Sunshine Coast to shadow attorney-general, and justice and corrective services spokesperson, as well as newcomers Tracy Davis and Scott Emerson, as a move to “a fresh start, fresh ideas, fresh faces”.
Mr Johnson, who was the shadow Police and Corrective Services minister, said it was one of the biggest “kicks in the guts” in his 21 years representing Gregory.
“I’ve got feelings too… I just feel betrayed; I feel like I’ve been gutted and betrayed,” he said.
“I come from the country where a handshake’s a deal and my word is my bond and I expect everybody to act the same way. That’s how I’ve looked after this electorate for 21 years, and I thought I was doing a pretty fair job for my party in Brisbane.”
Mr Johnson vowed not to let his electorate fall victim to the same party machinations.
He said he would stand again in 2011 at the State Election, and look to voter support to guide the outcome for the resource-rich stretch of state on the precipice of a multi-billion dollar explosion of activity, particularly in the Galilee Basin.
He said his tendency to be outspoken and passionate about what he believed in politically – best practice health and medical outcomes, education, infrastructure, the standard of living in the bush – may have been counter-productive at times, but he’s not about to change.
“I’m going to be a constructive, positive member for Gregory and stand up for the needs of the people I represent and I will continue fighting like stinking hell to make certain I can convince not only the people I represent, but other people, that we need a conservative government to reverse the evil policies that are detrimental and degrading to the economy and communities of this state,” he said.
“The people of the Gregory electorate will determine whether they want Vaughan Johnson or not, and I will let them make that determination.
“This is not the end.”