Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been accused of putting expediency before ethics, following the Member for Cook’s decision to remain in the Parliament.
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said Mr Gordon’s decision presented an ethical challenge for the Premier and compared it to the dilemma faced by the Federal Labor Government during the Craig Thomson affair.
“For two years, the Federal Government was under a cloud, not knowing what to do with Craig Thomson’s vote in the Parliament,” Mr Springborg said.
“Queensland is now facing very similar circumstances, with the Labor Government at odds with itself over whether or not to accept Billy Gordon’s vote.
“Just two weeks ago Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was prepared to put her job on the line to ensure Billy Gordon did not sit in State Parliament, today the Premier has confirmed she will now accept Billy Gordon’s vote to keep her job.
“The last thing our state needs is this kind of uncertainty. It’s time for Annastacia Palaszczuk to stop worrying about keeping her own job and start focussing on creating jobs for Queenslanders.”
Mr Springborg said Labor had been plagued by instability, indecision and internal chaos since being elected to government and it was time for the Premier to get her house in order.
“Last week Labor took out a full page advertisement in the Cairns Post calling on the Member for Cook to resign,” he said.
“Since then the Premier, her Deputy and other Labor MPs have flip-flopped all over the place, even faceless members of the Labor Party and former candidates have put their two bobs in.”
Mr Springborg said Labor couldn’t hide behind the rules and pretend that the Parliamentary standing orders gave them no choice but to accept the Member for Cook’s vote.
“The government has a choice. It has a choice to put ethics before expediency follow and refuse to accept Billy Gordon’s vote.”
Labor’s Changing Positions
30 March 2015 – Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in the Courier Mail:
“In the best interests of the party, in the best interests of the Parliament and in the best interests of Queensland, he should resign as a member of Parliament.”
“Today I am prepared to put my premiership on the line.
“His (Billy Gordon’s) position is untenable.”
1 April 2015 – Deputy Premier Jackie Trad on ABC’s The World Today:
“Mr Gordon, according to the clerk’s advice, is entitled to sit in Parliament.”
3 April 2015 – Treasurer Curtis Pitt in the Sunshine Coast Daily:
“If Mr Gordon stays in Parliament he has the right to vote and will continue to do so.”
3 April 2015 – Cairns MP Rob Pyne in the Courier Mail:
“What I would like to see is Billy Gordon show the community that the man that I’ve come to know over the last few years, a hardworking man who wants to represent some of the most disadvantaged members of the community, is really sincere about working hard for his electorate, so I would like him to complete his term as the Member for Cook,” Mr Pyne told the ABC.
6 April 2015 – High-ranking Labor official in the Courier Mail:
“Common sense tells you another election will have to be considered.”
6 April 2015 – Leader of the House Stirling Hinchliffe in the Courier Mail:
Leader of the House Stirling Hinchliffe said the voting rules would not be changing.
8 April 2015 – Jo-Anne Miller on 4BC’s Morning Programme:
“There is no way that Labor cannot accept his (Billy Gordon’s) vote”
8 April 2015 Former Labor Member for Toowoomba North in the Toowoomba Chronicle:
“Locals I’ve spoken to would appreciate having a fresh chance to have an effective voice in government.”