THE LNP has reached crisis point in North Queensland with two senior members resigning from the party.
Former Herbert MP Peter Lindsay submitted his resignation letter to the state executive on Wednesday, which was promptly followed by long-stranding Richmond Mayor John Wharton the next day.
The former party members and Northern influencers were suspended from the party in December last year, after publicly talking about the LNP’s dismal result in the November 24 state election.
Both were critical of the way the campaign was run, which resulted in just two North Queensland LNP members, Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan and Burdekin MP Dale Last being elected to the current parliament.
They were initially suspended for a period of six months, but Mr Lindsay decided to resign after he was advised that this would be extended.
Mr Lindsay had been an LNP member for over 40 years and won 10 elections in a row with the party, more than any other LNP member.
He was the Federal Member for Herbert from March 1996 to July 2010, and was a councillor with Townsville City Council from 1985 until his election to Federal Parliament.
In his resignation letter, Mr Lindsay slammed the state executive for their decision to suspend his membership, stating “local anger was virtually universal.”
“Following the State election loss, I was moved to make my first public statement in the seven years since my retirement,” he wrote.
“The guts of it was that the Party continues to lose elections due to poor political decisions and has been unable to come anywhere near the Labor machine when it comes to being politically smart.
“I was astonished to be suspended. Suspensions wasn’t a decision that the politically savvy would have made.
“By hitting me with a sledgehammer, State Executive reinforced the very point I was making.
“After the State election loss, there was widespread disillusionment in North Queensland with our branch members, supporters, the business community and our donors.
“By standing up and saying what everyone was thinking, our supporters felt that there may be some hope for the future.”
Mr Lindsay said the suspension had been hard for him personally after a lifetime of service.
“Since the latest decision, I have taken time to count to ten. I have decided that I do not want to spend the next six months feeling desperately unhappy about what the Party has done to me.
“I have better things to do with my life and other more fruitful ways to contribute to society than by involvement in a party that treats their loyal members in the way I have been treated. Consequently, I have resigned my membership.”
Cr Wharton has been the mayor of Richmond for 20 years and joined the LNP 2014 prior to contesting the seat of Mount Isa at the 2015 state election.
At this time of his suspension in December, Cr Wharton said he was proud of the way the federal Liberal-National coalition supported the bush.
“It’s totally different to the state LNP – they’re totally accommodating of the north, and get what we can do for the nation,” Cr Wharton said.
“You just can’t get the state opposition to talk about the north.”