Former Groom MP hits out at Ian Macfarlane's defection
OPINION: Since passing the Groom electoral baton to Ian Macfarlane in 1998, my approach has been to let him get on with the representative job.
I could not let his recent decision to move into the Nationals room in Canberra go without comment.
His unfortunate decision is not about the Liberal or National Parties or good governance by the Turnbull Government, it is all about Macfarlane and his personal priority from day one of moving to the front bench, come what may.
I convinced Ian to join the Liberal Party in 1998 and to pre-select as a candidate. In keeping with an undertaking that I gave to John Howard at the time to find a winner in replacing me at the 1998 general election, I strongly endorsed Ian in writing to State Executive members who would be attending the pre-selection.
Ian performed poorly on that occasion, prompting senior Howard cabinet minister in Queensland John Moore who was sitting alongside me to comment: "Bill, are you sure that we are backing the right horse?"
Toowoomba stockbroker and (now) USQ Chancellor John Dornbusch was by far the best performer on the day.
Ian won by as little as one vote and with less than 40% of the locals supporting him, some with suggestions of a family link with the Labor Party.
I have regretted my endorsement ever since. Perhaps Ian has never realised how lucky he was to win.
While the local LNP membership is now dominated by former National Party members who will undoubtedly endorse his latest moves, I feel that many locals in the electorate will see his transfer of allegiance as nothing more than personally-driven ambition which is not conducive with the more important fortunes of the Turnbull Government.
Ian should have taken the other option available to him of sitting on the back-bench until the next general election, working more closely with his constituents than he has in the past and passing the Federal baton to a younger person in 2016. His decision is a poor one all round.
BILL TAYLOR, Runaway Bay