THE RENEWED, unending debacle over Queensland MP Billy Gordon — this time over allegations he used social media to send unsolicited pictures of his penis to women — will test and quickly exhaust Queenslanders’ patience; ample precedent exists, both in that state and others, to suggest Gordon should be jettisoned from Parliament. The LNP, if it stands for anything, must be proactive in seeking to blast Gordon out of George Street.
For the third time since Labor was sworn into minority government in February, the antics of decidedly unsavoury MP and dodgy character Billy Gordon — already expelled from the ALP in a desperate attempt to stave off a by-election whilst appearing to act decisively — have roared onto centre stage in Queensland politics, this time involving allegations he has been using social media to send unsolicited pictures of his dick to women, and it is high time this filthy specimen was removed from his privileged position as an elected representative swanning around the corridors of power in George Street.
Even — nay, especially — if it puts the Palaszczuk government at risk of a by-election.
Readers unfamiliar with the past misdemeanours of Gordon can grab a quick refresher here (with more content accessible through the “Billy Gordon” tag in the tag cloud to the right of this piece) and for a quick wrap on the latest sordid accusations to engulf Gordon, Brisbane’s Courier Mail is reporting here with some comment here.
The thing about the latest uproar in the Gordon saga that has caught my eye this morning is the declaration from key ALP figures that they are “powerless” to boot him out of Parliament, which is a nonsense; Gordon — about whom a lengthy criminal background prior to entering Parliament was kept carefully hidden from voters’ view — has arguably brought the Parliament into disrepute, and the mechanisms for the expulsion of such an individual have always existed, if MPs have the bottle to use them.
This is a double-edged issue for both parties in Queensland.
For Labor — which expelled Gordon from the ALP the last time his misadventures caused it grief — the prospect of a by-election in his seat of Cook would be unwelcome, to say the least, given any win by the LNP could hand the numbers on the floor of Parliament to an amalgam of LNP and Katter MPs that could force a change of government.
But Labor was indignant in its outrage over the former member for Redlands, Peter Dowling, who was discovered sending pictures of his own dick immersed in a wine glass to his mistress, in photos taken at Parliament — and it would be a hypocrisy for it to fail to act now.
Certainly, there is a large point of difference (and the kudos to be milked from it) on offer by acceding to or initiating any move to throw Gordon out when compared to the LNP’s dragging the chain on Dowling.
On the other hand, the ascendancy Palaszczuk enjoys in published polling over opposition leader Lawrence Springborg — complete with evidence of a further moderate swing to Labor since the election — should embolden her to at least take the risk.
For the LNP, the charge of hypocrisy any move to expel Gordon would elicit on its own part, of course, is to be expected: it failed to boot Dowling from the LNP party room for similar offences, and the LNP’s administrative wing wiped its hands of responsibility for getting rid of him late last year, instead allowing local members in Redlands the option of disendorsing him.
But the example of Geoff Shaw in Victoria — a sore that suppurated for over a year and probably played a major role in the defeat of the Coalition in that state last November — ought to give potent notice to both sides of Queensland politics what can happen, on razor-thin parliamentary numbers, if the wherewithal to deal decisively with insidious grubs like Shaw and Gordon is not summoned.
The problem with a grub like Billy Gordon is that there is no way to know — politically — just how much grief he is capable of causing; just when Palaszczuk and her deputy, Jackie Trad, think they’ve neutralised him, out comes another scandal from left field — this time, a sexting scandal.
The fact the recipients are said not to have solicited the pictures raises the issue of the status of women, too, at a time all parties seem to be making a greater-than-usual effort to clean their act up a bit: yes, there is some way to go. But Billy Gordon is apparently not showing the way through his actions.
And to go back a step, nobody would be wise to think Gordon will simply disappear once this latest imbroglio is done with: Geoff Shaw simply kept coming at the Liberals in Victoria for almost two years. Gordon, ostensibly, isn’t even making a deliberate effort to damage his own former party. And in some respects, that uncontrolled aspect to all of this makes Gordon more of a headache.
To date, Palaszczuk and Trad have given every indication of simply battening down the hatches with a view to riding out the storm.
Such a course of action, given Palaszczuk’s popularity, Labor’s position and the electoral antipathy toward Springborg is, frankly, rank cowardice and an abrogation of decency and principle to expedience.
Which is why Lawrence and his colleagues, however perversely, might have an opportunity here, however obscure.
The small matter of trying to ensure the right thing is done comes into play, too.
Even if it falls over in the powerful parliamentary Ethics Committee for the refusal of the government to co-operate, Lawrence should see to it that an attempt to have Gordon expelled from Parliament altogether is indeed made.
It may in some small way rebuild a little of the goodwill the LNP squandered in office, when it procrastinated and dithered over the expulsion of filthy specimen Scott Driscoll and avoided any meaningful sanction of Dowling.
Win or lose, the LNP should try: it is obvious Labor won’t, and that point should be rammed home hard.
The opposition wasted a chance to move on Gordon early in the year because it was preoccupied, fatuously, with forcing a by-election in the Brisbane seat of Ferny Grove there was no way it could win.
Here beckons, unexpectedly, another.
In the final analysis, if such an LNP expulsion motion were to be backed in Committee by Labor and ratified by Parliament — and even if Labor won the ensuing by-election in Cook — then just for once Queensland’s political class would be legitimately entitled to argue it had acted in the very best interests of upholding standards.
Labor has indicated it will do nothing. The ball is in the LNP’s court.
But Billy Gordon is unfit to sit in elected office in the Queensland Parliament, and endorsed — under false premises I contend, given his long rap sheet was kept secret from voters — at an election, he must be removed forthwith.