Deb Frecklington steps down as opposition leader

 

UPDATE: Opposition leader Deb Frecklington has told journalists she will resign as LNP leader after a woeful election result that saw a swing away from the party. 

The Nanango MP announced she would step aside as party leader and call a party room vote. She said she had changed her mind after initially announcing on Saturday night her intention to remain in the job.

"On Saturday night I said to wanted to remain leader of the Liberal National Party," she told reporters on Monday morning.

"My instinct is always to fight on."

But she said she had thought more on it after a family day on Sunday.

She said she would call a meeting of the party room once the results of the election were settled.

"I will ask my colleagues to appoint a new leader of the Liberal National Party," she said.

"I will not be a contender in the leadership contest."

Ms Frecklington was first appointed as opposition leader after a similar poor election performance under the helm of previous LNP leader Tim Nicholls in in 2017. 

Nicholls resigned after conceding the election to sitting premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. 

 

EARLIER: Support is mounting for David Crisafulli to take over as LNP leader, as his supporters claim there is "white hot anger" in the party room for failing to dislodge Deb Frecklington before the election.

The LNP's disappointing showing and Ms Frecklington's immediate handling of the result have undermined her authority with colleagues especially after she broke with protocol and failed to concede to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on the night.

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The LNP leader then added to her missteps by delivering a concession speech at the same time Ms Palaszczuk was giving her victory speech.

MPs tuning into Ms Frecklington's speech were dismayed when she insisted she would remain as leader despite having not canvassed the idea with them.

As the reality of four more years in opposition dawned on Liberal National MPs yesterday, one said there was "next to no chance" Ms Frecklington would be leader at Christmas with Mr Crisafulli the "only logical solution".

In a private speech on Saturday night, Mr Crisafulli told a roomful of supporters "I burn to win" before adding that "from the ruins of tonight must come change".

"We can't keep accepting the same process and accepting the same loss," he said, according to a leaked audio recording.

The internal turmoil comes as it emerged two former LNP presidents spent election evening cruising the Brisbane River with businessman Clive Palmer on his $8.3 million super yacht.

 

Clive Palmer (right) with Gary Spence (left) and Bruce McIver on his super yacht Nancy Jean in the Brisbane River. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Clive Palmer (right) with Gary Spence (left) and Bruce McIver on his super yacht Nancy Jean in the Brisbane River. Picture: Mark Cranitch

 

Gary Spence and Bruce McIver were both spotted mingling with the mining magnate aboard one of Australia's most luxurious super yachts around the time polls closed.

The meeting comes after Labor accused Mr Palmer of being in cahoots with the LNP during the campaign as he spent up to $5 million running an aggressive "death tax" scare campaign.

Mr Spence, who was later spotted at the LNP's party in South Bank, downplayed the meeting as nothing more than old friends catching up.

"When he invited me to come over last night (Saturday) for a couple of drinks, my wife and I were happy to accept," he said.

 

2020 QLD state election results 

 

Major parties
  • LNP 0
  • ALP 0
Others
  • ONP 0
  • UAP 0
  • KAP 0
  • OTH 0
  • GRN 0
Called seats

But he would not discuss what they were talking about.

Neither Mr McIver nor a spokesman for Mr Palmer responded to phone messages last night.

Mr Crisafulli was the leading contender to replace Ms Frecklington just months before the election when LNP insiders leaked damaging polling against the leader to The Courier-Mail.

But the challenge never eventuated as he did not have the numbers.

It's understood that in the wake of Saturday night's result, Liberal National MPs have contacted the Crisafulli camp and indicated they are willing to support his candidacy.

 

David Crisafulli monitors the vote on Saturday night. Picture: Scott Powick
David Crisafulli monitors the vote on Saturday night. Picture: Scott Powick

 

In the leaked recording, Mr Crisafulli does not directly vie to take over as leader, but tells supporters "this is the last roll of the dice for me and I want you to come on that journey and help us achieve all we can in 2024".

"Aside from a couple small periods we haven't had a chance and I am going to look every one of you in the eye tonight and tell you that we are going to find a way through and it is going to take structural reform," he said.

He urged supporters to "stay on the journey with me" but warned it's "going to be bumpy".

"I can assure you at the end of it, it's going to be so worthwhile and from this little place here we're going to achieve a heck of a lot," he said.

Former premier Campbell Newman said it was only "right and proper" that there should be a leadership spill.

"I was surprised that Deb Frecklington didn't actually announce that (on Saturday night)," he said. "I would've thought that was the correct and proper thing, the decent thing, and frankly she and (Tim) Mander need to submit an application for renewal, if you like, to the party room."

The former LNP leader said the only way he could see Ms Frecklington and Mr Mander continuing roles was if they were willing to acknowledge that they got the election "terribly wrong".

Clive Palmer on his boat on election day.
Clive Palmer on his boat on election day.

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