The Queensland LNP leadership of Deb Frecklington & her Deputy Tim Mander has come under a cloud in the continuing fallout over three MPs crossing the floor to vote in support of liberalising abortion in Queensland last week.
Many LNP members are discernibly upset that Tim Nicholls, Jann Stuckey and Steve Minnikin used the freedom of their conscience vote to ignore the views of the members who they relied on for preselection and election. These views were evidenced by a not insignificant number of successful LNP branch & conference resolutions opposing any change to the previous laws.
Like those on the left of the House, they also rejected the will of the large majority of Queenslanders who had tried to make their voices heard through large petitions and protests against the proposed changes. Research conducted by Galaxy also revealed that the view of the majority of Queenslanders was opposed to the extreme provisions of the legislation. 78% of the submissions to the Parliamentary enquiry opposed the bill.
LNP members are now rightly asking why Nicholls, Stuckey & Minnikin failed to represent them and the rest of Queensland when given the freedom to do so, and why Frecklington & Mander are rejecting members’ calls for the opportunity for better representatives at the next election.
It’s not like they weren’t warned. A month prior to the debate & vote, LNP Party President Gary Spence had foreshadowed the difficulty MPs could face if they supported liberalising abortion against the members’ wishes.
The LNP State Council, consisting of elected branch and party office holders, must also endorse candidates initially selected by their local branches. Although the political elite can sometimes act as though anointed for their position, preselection is not a given for anyone and can and should be withheld or withdrawn if the aspirant doesn’t adequately serve party values & policies. It’s the whole point of having a party instead of standing as independents, and it’s the party’s right to demand consistency with its values.
On the morning of the vote Deputy Premier Jackie Trad drew public attention to a warning from within the LNP to anyone daring to defy the party’s grassroots values by crossing the floor. She tweeted a Courier Mail article revealing the LNP’s Pine Rivers branch had emailed MPs prior to debate that they would be asking the State Council to withhold its necessary endorsement at the next election from such.
Ms Trad referred to the branch as ‘thugs’, conveniently omitting the conditional support she receives from EMILY’s List, an originally American political action committee (PAC) well known to withdraw its support for any woman failing to promote abortion without limits. What’s also inconvenient to Ms Trad’s narrative of undemocratic thuggery is that although the LNP offered its MPs freedom of conscience, it cannot offer its MPs freedom from consequence.
Subsequent to the passing of the regressive legislation and the revelation that the former LNP leader and two other MPs had betrayed their members, the Young LNP also successfully gained majority support at a branch meeting to move a motion that they be refused endorsement to recontest their seats.
Sam O’Connor, a pro-abortion MP who nevertheless voted against the extreme legislation, unfortunately signalled his disapproval of the members demanding genuine representation by suddenly quitting the Young LNP branch.
LNP MPs have been warned by their own Party that they face being dis-endorsed if they support our govt's bill to decriminalise abortion.— Jackie Trad (@jackietrad) October 17, 2018
This issue is bigger than politics and the response from within the LNP just shows that thugs are in control https://t.co/tzrChEHzkZ #qldpol
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander then displayed how out of touch the parliamentary party leadership is with the grassroots by calling it “totally inappropriate for there to be any repercussions for them exercising their conscience,” referring to the MPs who wrestled with the party’s affirmation of the self-evident right to life.
Mr Mander missed the point by pejoratively referring to consequences as “some sort of retribution.” But then Liberal/National MPs have been missing the point and ignoring the base since 2007.
If a sharp relief of the danger of preselecting candidates who harbour social views better at home in the Labor Party is required, look no further than the technically Liberal former MP who imitated the Labor pattern of treachery and betrayed a sitting Prime Minister. He promised that if the same was ever done to him he would quit parliament entirely, feigning noble retreat while wrecking such calculated carnage as to potentially bring down the government.
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If the wisdom acquired by this experience is worth anything, Liberal/National Party members must learn to only preselect candidates who swear to hold the tenets of classical liberalism and social conservatism as inviolable. This also means that candidates like Tim Nicholls, Steve Minnikin, Jann Stuckey and even Sam O’Connor must be replaced at the earliest opportunity, having proven their “service” to the party as easily improvable.
The leftist media complex scorns anything right of ‘centre’, and will never give their approval to traditional values such as life & social liberty. Importantly, they & their incurious audience will also never vote right of centre, so there is only votes to be lost by giving two cents for their approval.
This is the cautionary tale of Malcolm Turnbull’s legacy: electing someone who does not cherish centre-right values is inviting a narcissistic vandal into the family home.