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Newman denies big donation, dodges Ashgrove question

Premier Campbell Newman in Ashgrove on Australia Day
Premier Campbell Newman in Ashgrove on Australia Day Amy Remeikis, Brisbane Times

PREMIER Campbell Newman has defended his government's relationship with the coal industry on radio this morning.

Mr Newman told 612 ABC the coal industry was vital to a modern society citing the amount of coking coal needed to build a car.

"Modern industrial countries cannot go forward without coal," he said.

"So that's why I've said we're in the coal industry and proudly so."

Mr Newman denied the LNP had received donations of "hundreds of thousands of dollars" from coal miner New Hope - and denied there was any link between New Hope donations and the approval of its New Acland coal mine near Toowoomba.

"The LNP has not received hundreds of thousands of dollars from that company, we have not," he said.

Newman refuses to answer question on Ashgrove loss

Mr Newman again refused to answer the question of the campaign - what was the LNP's succession plan should he not win Ashgrove tomorrow.

Mr Newman said as far as he was concerned Ashgrove and Queensland went hand-in-hand and that voters chased a clear choice between the LNP and Labor.

He admitted he and his wife Lisa would look forward to spending more time together if they were out of politics, but insisted their focus for now was leading Queensland to create jobs for the future.

Polling is showing that Mr Newman is likely to lose Ashgrove to Labor's Kate Jones.

Mr Newman's hopes of remaining Premier appear doomed, according to the amount of money punters have placed on Labor's Kate Jones to win the seat of Ashgrove.

Online bookmaker sportsbet.com.au has seen a dramatic swing in betting over the last 48 hours and now has Jones the $1.35 favourite to do the unthinkable and oust the Premier, who's the $3.00 outsider in the crucial Brisbane seat.

The LNP is sticking to the line that if Mr Newman loses Ashgrove, the LNP will also lose government.

Mr Newman has repeatedly refused to say who would lead the party and Queensland if the LNP won the state election but he lost his seat.

However, there is speculation he could be put in another seat.

Professor of Constitutional Law Anne Twomey told the ABC if Mr Newman were to lose his seat, but the LNP won, he would have two options.

"One is he can resign as Premier and let somebody else take over and just drop out of politics," she said.

"The second choice is the more controversial one, and that is to stay on as Premier and seek a new seat, perhaps by persuading one of his loyal members to resign and make way for him so that there's a by-election in a new seat.

"If Campbell Newman took a period of time, say under 90 days, in order to become a Member of Parliament by way of a by-election, then that would probably be okay. But if he pushed his luck too far and wanted to just be Premier without a seat full stop, then I think you'd probably see legal action in the courts."

Professor Twomey said there was no express provision in the Queensland Constitution requiring the premier to be a member of parliament, so if Mr Newman lost his seat it would not automatically vacate his office as premier.

Newman defends Tim Carmody appointment

Mr Newman also defended the government's controversial appointment of Tim Carmody as Queensland's Chief Justice, saying it was about bringing 'justice' to the state, rather than putting the smartest legal brain in the top job.

Mr Newman acknowledged the savagery of cuts after he took office.

"The books were worse than they (the ALP government) said. We found that out on day one.''

- APN NEWSDESK

Topics:  acland campbell newman editors picks ipswich queensland election 2015


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