Queensland: Principle Demands LNP Move To Expel Gordon

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.

Queensland: Allegations Of Criminality Hit Second ALP MP

FOR A SECOND TIME in ten weeks, a Labor MP in the minority Queensland government has been hit by a raft of allegations of criminal wrongdoing; the accusations extend over decades and catalogue a slew of alleged offences including sexual assault and harassment, conspiracy to violence, professional misconduct, and drug matters. The development is a fresh threat to the shaky state government, and raises serious questions around ALP process.

My post this morning comes as no surprise whatsoever, but for the second time in just ten weeks, one of Queensland Labor’s horde of freshly elected state MPs has been hit with allegations of a raft of criminal offences, with the results of an extensive journalistic investigation by reporters Kelmeny Fraser and David Murray published in today’s issue of Brisbane’s Courier-Mail newspaper.

For the sake of expediency and to avoid copious reproduction of the material, readers can access various articles from that publication here, here, here and here. The development poses a new threat to the minority government of Annastacia Palaszczuk, and comes in the wake of a similarly explosive scandal in March centred on another neophyte MP — since expelled from the ALP — in the form of accusations of domestic violence and other matters against Cook MP Billy Gordon, which we discussed at the time.

The accusations against Pumicestone MP Rick Williams — which I was aware of some time ago, but opted not to elaborate upon when the Gordon scandal broke — cover a disturbing array of alleged offences ranging from fraud and unprofessional conduct in his financial services business, attempting to hire someone to have his wife’s ex-boyfriend “done over,” harassment and victimisation, drug dealing, and the sexual harassment and/or assault of two teenage girls, at least one of whom was an employee of Williams.

I don’t propose to discuss the allegations published by the Courier-Mail against Williams at length this morning; as was the case in the Gordon matter I suspect these revelations merely represent the beginning of what will become a protracted public expose and political cannon fodder, and given these matters may very well end up before the Courts it would be imprudent to offer any more than cursory comment on them.

Rather, the early focus deserves to fall on the Labor Party and its vetting procedures; as anyone with any knowledge of political parties knows, vetting procedures are notoriously arbitrary (people can be excluded, at the sole discretion of the party, on the basis of trivialities, internal vendettas, and hearsay) and the question deserves to be asked as to why — if, as Queensland Labor secretary Evan Moorhead claims, the accusations against Williams had been known for many years — he was permitted to run as a Labor candidate in the first place.

I’m sure some will accuse me of advocating a conviction without a trial, protesting the right of a presumption of innocence until or unless guilt is established by a Court.

But the requisite standards of behaviour and probity in political life arguably transcend such a test, with parliamentarians expected to be exemplars of community behaviour rather than followers or emulators of it, and Moorhead can’t have it both ways.

On the one hand there is a veritable litany of criminal offences Williams has been accused of in today’s newspaper; the line from the Queensland ALP is, put succinctly, that it knew about them all along.

But on the other, this is the second time in an embarrassingly short period of time that the Palaszczuk government finds itself confronted with this kind of “revelation” about one of its new MPs, and as I alluded when the Gordon issue broke, there remains (after Williams) at least one more — and possibly as many as another three — Queensland Labor MPs sitting on time bombs that, if detonated, will prove comparable to the mess already created around Messrs Gordon and Williams.

The matey culture of ALP tribalism — bolstered and deepened and worsened by factional and union ties — has, in recent years, seen far too many individuals of dubious character and background find their way into parliamentary sinecures off the back of subterranean loyalties, networks, or private obligations; Gordon himself is an obvious example. Craig Thomson is another. The parade of NSW ALP figures through ICAC underlines the point. Further afield, the cesspit that is the Health Services Union provides salutary insight into how these people move seamlessly up the ranks from rookie union officials and into positions of real power — whether in Parliament or the union movement — and the scope for those positions to be abused.

The fact a Royal Commission into the union movement has extended beyond its first year, and is uncovering evidence of criminal misconduct that threatens to rebound on the ALP (which has dutifully sought to sabotage, frustrate and discredit the Commission from the outset) merely underlines the point.

But back to Queensland.

At this stage, my purpose in covering this issue is simply to get it onto our radar; there will be scope enough to discuss these matters in more detail over coming weeks, I’m sure.

But I think it is sufficiently in the public interest for the Courier-Mail to have published the results of its exhaustive investigations into Williams today; one or two accusations of impropriety might justify Queensland Labor’s position that the matters were unsubstantiated and no bar to his candidacy for public office, but the sheer volume and nature of these allegations means that a full investigation by Queensland Police is not only warranted, but crucial.

Like Gordon before him, it is incumbent upon Williams, at the very minimum, to step aside from his official duties whilst the allegations against him are vigorously examined by law enforcement authorities.

But if the Gordon precedent is anything to go by, he won’t: and it is for this reason — the mentality of hunkering down and riding out the storm — that Labor in Queensland finds itself confronting embarrassing and damaging accusations against another of its MPs today, and in turn now faces the real prospect of having to expel another of its number in the knife-edge Queensland Parliament or, worse for its tepid hold on office, a by-election in a Sunshine Coast seat that would almost certainly be won by the LNP.

Queensland: Fresh State Election Needed To Sort Labor Mess

AS MORE REVELATIONS EMERGE over the dubious calibre of some newly elected ALP MPs, it is clear only a fresh state election will sort out the mess threatening to engulf Queensland’s government; saddled with liabilities who are unfit for public office, a convicted felon who refuses to quit, and snookered by the numbers in Parliament, if Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk refuses to return to the polls, others should engineer the move despite her.

There is an argument that says — confronted with a seemingly insurmountable hurdle at first blush in light of the 2012 state election result — that Labor in Queensland ran candidates in certain seats that it never expected to win, or at least not at the election that took place just over nine weeks ago.

But even if this rationalisation is applied in order to give the already-embattled government of Annastacia Palaszczuk the benefit of the doubt, it does not and cannot excuse the fact that nestled within Labor’s parliamentary ranks in Queensland is a coterie of MPs who are unfit to hold public office and whose tenure deserves to be terminated at the earliest possible juncture.

Last week, I wrote of the “rotten, violent ALP” that had assumed power in the Sunshine State, and opined that the circumstances it faces would see it lose power soon enough; at that time I declined to outline my views on what form of strategy LNP leader Lawrence Springborg should pursue, and today I intend to elaborate on it: no minority government is entitled to be insulated from the consequences of its component members on account of tight parliamentary numbers, and if the miscreants squatting in George Street at Labor’s behest ultimately bring the government down, Labor will have nobody to blame but itself.

After publishing the initial piece on the developing fiasco in Queensland I received some irate private communications from people known to me personally who are openly supportive of the Labor Party, as well as some comments on this site to the effect that I am “a hater of the first order” (accompanied by a laughably meaningless attempt at a personal attack) and accusations of a lack of objectivity, and I simply say that where misconduct involving conservative figures has been concerned, I have been vehement in my condemnation: this column makes no differentiation when it comes to the advocacy, without fear or favour, for probity and integrity in public office.

And those who inexplicably expect me to be critical of my own side yet remain mute where the misdemeanours of Labor’s black sheep are concerned stand to remain, happily, very sorely disappointed.

I think a fresh state election in Queensland is virtually inevitable, and lest those ALP apologists think such an exercise impresses me as a certain win for the LNP — with the parallels between Palaszczuk’s situation and the one that faced Denis Napthine in Victoria, courtesy of rogue Liberal MP Geoff Shaw, striking indeed — I share an article I wrote early last year on a potential way out of the mess for Napthine (that if adopted might have seen him re-elected).

Another election could serve Palaszczuk well, but only if it’s Labor pulling the strings — and as things stand, the Premier gives every indication she intends to hunker down and try to ride out the storm.

Last week I told readers that on the basis of credible information from usually impeccable sources, I knew of at least a further two Labor MPs (and possibly a total of four), in addition to discredited Cook MP Billy Gordon, whose misadventures prior to entering Parliament this year were likely to add to the existential threat to Palaszczuk’s government.

Now, one of these has become public, with neophyte Pumicestone MP Rick Williams finding himself (as expected) all over today’s issue of Brisbane’s Courier Mail for the wrong reasons (see here, here and here), and whilst I make no comment on the legal implications of allegations against Mr Williams — which may find their way before the Courts — only the most partisan of ALP sycophants could suggest that at the bare minimum, Williams is little better than Gordon when it comes to acceptable standards of behaviour from those who sit in houses of governance.

As they did in the case of Gordon, the allegations that have surfaced around Williams include accusations of domestic violence that remain untested.

Gordon has announced to local media in his electorate that he will not resign from Parliament; for now, Williams and Palaszczuk are standing firm; and more damaging revelations involving at least one more MP seem certain to emerge in the next week or so: and even if that’s where it ends, and the details foreshadowed involving more MPs again do not come to light, Palaszczuk finds herself burdened with no fewer than three liabilities from which defeat at a by-election would spell the end of her government.

For her part, Palaszczuk can perhaps be thankful to be ill this Easter — bedridden with influenza as she is said to be — for the involuntary removal from the media spotlight buys her some quiet time to think.

Conversely, the month-long parliamentary recess, along with Gordon’s now-declared refusal to quit, collectively render her apparent strategy to tough the growing scandals out useless.

Even discounting the domestic violence accusations against Gordon for a moment (and I say so not to diminish or dismiss them, but purely to remove them from the argument until or unless they are tried in a Court), Gordon’s long criminal record makes him an indefensible selection to hold parliamentary office.

Palaszczuk has stated she wants Gordon to resign and for a by-election to occur in his seat of Cook, and Labor’s best chance of prevailing at such a by-election was for Gordon to accede to the Premier’s demand, and to go quickly and quietly.

That will not occur, and over the next month, Queenslanders can expect the saga around Gordon to fester and pustulate and drag interminably on: further soiling his public standing, and inflicting collateral damage on the Premier and her government in the process.

The appearance of Williams amid these proceedings — even if no further action at law arises from the latest revelations — will merely sully the image of the ALP even further.

And I’m told that at least in the case of the third Labor MP seemingly waiting on the cupboard door to be flung open so fresh skeletons can leap into the government’s lap, the matters tied up with that individual are more serious than those related to Williams.

The senior ALP figures quoted in the attachments from the Courier Mail are actually right: the best course of action open to Labor is another state election, called immediately by Palaszczuk.

They are right to surmise that even if the support of the two Katter MPs were to be forthcoming, such an arrangement would be deleterious at best to Labor’s eventual electoral prospects, and would heighten the risk it would be beaten whenever it next faced the public.

And they are right that “uncertainty” would damage Labor, as it surely already is: best to call an election “and be done with it,” as one is quoted as saying.

But such an election is unlikely to be called; to navigate such a course would require the quick dumping of a handful of MPs who should never have been endorsed by their party, to say nothing of spending four weeks on the hustings on the back foot defending the disendorsements every time a press conference is held.

Yet on the other hand, the “simply stand firm” mantra increasingly trotted out by both major parties nowadays is simply a recipe in this case for three years of a slow strangulation, a poisoned political climate in Queensland, and the virtual certainty of a LNP win at a scheduled election in late 2017 or early 2018.

Labor’s best bet is to go now, apologise for the inconvenience, and roll the dice on its fortunes.

But it won’t, which means that not only is it fair game for the opposition LNP, but it will now own every misdeed and hint of scandal its inadvisedly selected MPs throw up.

As I have said to the handful of Queensland-based LNP people who have approached me for my thoughts, I think that when Parliament reconvenes in early May, opposition leader Lawrence Springborg should table an expulsion motion against Gordon.

If the motion succeeds, the resulting by-election in Cook could yield victory for the LNP, enabling a change of government on the floor of Parliament; the only reason it could fail is if Palaszczuk and her minions voted it down: welding responsibility for Gordon and his misdemeanours irrevocably to the Labor Party, and ensuring Gordon — like Shaw did to the Liberals in Victoria — corrodes ALP support for the duration if its tenure in government.

If Gordon survives such an expulsion motion, another will follow soon enough, aimed at another miscreant in the Labor caucus.

Sooner or later, all of this will produce a by-election that the LNP prevails at; and when Springborg is subsequently sworn in as Premier, he should immediately advise the state election Palaszczuk is too frightened or too conflicted by factional and union undertakings (and obligations to the odious specimens at the heart of the matter) to call.

After all, Springborg’s script is written: 52% of Queenslanders voted for Labor after preferences in January; becoming Premier by virtue of the numbers in Parliament — and remaining in the role without a mandate — would be an unforgivable arrogance. Springborg and the LNP listened to the people in January, he could say, and in view of how these matters play out, are determined Queenslanders should be given the final say in who governs them now.

As an election would be for Palaszczuk now, so too would be an election called by Springborg represent a dangerous opportunity for the LNP under such circumstances, and Queensland’s second accidental Premier in the space of a few months could find his tenure in office ended within the space of an election campaign.

I wouldn’t bet on it though; a humble Springborg falling into office off the back of the scandals engulfing the ALP could well find his way to the election win as leader that has always eluded him, and which in ordinary circumstances still seems beyond this likeable rural character who has always failed where it matters most in Queensland nowadays — the state’s urban centres.

I think we’re close to (if not already at) the point where Labor — morally at least — owes the people of Queensland a fresh say on the state’s governance, and as ridiculous as it might seem to make such a pronouncement about a government barely two months old, it bears remembering that this is as much a consequence of the minority result delivered in January as it is an outright reflection on the ALP per se.

Just like Denis Napthine’s problems with Geoff Shaw were similarly the result of the minority status into which the Coalition was plunged in Victoria when Shaw resigned from the Liberal Party to sit on the crossbench.

But unlike Victoria, Queensland is not straitened by the insidious confines of an inflexible and fixed parliamentary term.

Which is why — in the proper execution of her responsibilities as Premier of Queensland — Palaszczuk should listen to the surprisingly good advice from those of her cabal who gave it, and call a state election forthwith.

And if she refuses to, and Springborg becomes Premier as events at hand play out, one can bet he will burn rubber on the trip to Government House to advise such an election as soon as humanly possible.

Whoever gets in first probably wins, in other words.

On past and current form, you’d bet tens it won’t be the ALP who pushes the button — and this reticence will only serve it to its detriment.

 

Queensland: Rotten, Violent ALP Will Lose Office Soon Enough

THE “SURPRISE” LABOR GOVERNMENT in Queensland may prove short-lived, with violent criminal MP Billy Gordon just the start of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s woes; amid reports the state’s two Katter MPs remain ready to back a return to LNP government and at least two more Labor MPs under a cloud on the basis of alleged unlawful conduct prior to entering Parliament, it seems only a matter of time before the minority Labor regime falls.

It seems — despite plenty going on elsewhere at present — that all roads lead back to the two recently minted state governments in Victoria and Queensland and, especially, the “miracle” regime Labor formed after a record swing against a first-term LNP outfit in the Sunshine State; readers should be assured I am well across what is going on in Queensland despite the fact we have been talking about other matters, although for those who didn’t see it we did have a look at the growing debacle engulfing the Queensland ALP on Sunday.

It seems the issue of neophyte MP Billy Gordon — with his catalogue of tax debts, unpaid child support, and allegations and criminal convictions from a violent past that includes allegedly belting a former partner around — could be the least of Labor’s worries.

I share two pieces of coverage this morning from the daily press — here and here — and note two key developments: one, that the two MPs from the Katter Party remain as willing as ever to back the LNP into a return to office under restored leader Lawrence Springborg; and two, besieged Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appears to have now gone to ground, having failed to satisfactorily explain what she knew of the Gordon fiasco at all times over the past week and, critically, when she knew it.

According to Palaszcuk, she was made aware of the child support arrears when Gordon was confronted last week, but maintains that other aspects of her MP’s past — in a criminal history stretching back 25 years — were all news to her when they found their way into public view at the start of the week.

This beggars belief: either the Premier, the ALP organisation and the people who run it are naive and derelict beyond all comprehension (which is always a possibility with Labor these days) or, as a cynic might suspect, some or all of these people knew their “maaaate” was a deeply unsavoury individual all along, and have played a game of damage containment as more lurid details of his past have become unknown.

Certainly, Labor — in moves reminiscent of the support it gave disgraced former federal MP Craig Thomson — has seen to it that the child support arrears owed by Gordon have been cleared; likewise his debts to the Australian Taxation Office.

Yet despite banishing him from the parliamentary Labor caucus, there is no evidence to date to suggest Gordon has been expelled from the ALP as a member — a more telling marker of how serious the party is about removing undesirables from its midst — and the stonewalling and obfuscation from the Palaszczuk government, despite the insistence it acted immediately it became aware of Gordon’s past, is undermined by the financial assistance being given to him by the party machine and by virtue of the fact that sidelining Gordon (who doesn’t need a trial; he has already had several of those) is not the same thing as throwing this deeply defective grub out of Parliament altogether.

Rather, Labor seems understandably reluctant to initiate a by-election in Gordon’s seat of Cook, despite the conservative parties having only ever won it twice, and even then at elections in 1974 and 2012 at which they more or less wiped the Labor Party off Queensland’s electoral map.

But clearly cognisant of the dangers Gordon has exposed it to — with 44 of the 89 seats in the state’s unicameral Parliament, ranged against 42 from the LNP — the Palaszczuk government has been negotiating with the two nominally conservative Katter MPs in what appears to be an attempt to take out some insurance: an enterprise which has so far elicited the indications that the pair remain as ready as ever to restore the LNP to office if the balance in the Queensland Parliament is in any way altered.

We will pay close attention to what transpires north of the Tweed, and one of the reasons I have been prepared to talk about other matters this week is because I don’t think this issue is going to go away for Labor in any hurry and — even if it does — there is plenty more in store for the party to confront in any case.

But broadly, there are two pieces of ground I wish to cover.

The first derives from the increasingly obvious reality that Gordon is set to dig in: despite (reasonable) entreaties for his resignation from Parliament altogether, it seems he and/or Queensland Labor will decline to put themselves at risk of a by-election loss that would hand the numbers to an amalgam of the LNP and the Katter Party.

I don’t think there’s much of an argument to be made against the proposition that Gordon is an unfit and improper person to hold a seat in Parliament, and whatever bluster Labor can summon about the LNP’s “gutter” tactics in pursuing him, the fact remains that not for the first time in recent years, Labor is actively defending a very questionable individual, and in this case one with a string of convictions and other legal black marks against his name — his removal from the parliamentary party room notwithstanding.

Sitting an undesirable on the crossbench, where he can still act as an ALP MP in practice if not in name, is a token concession to propriety only.

And given Labor refuses to risk a fresh contest in Cook, when the Queensland Parliament reconvenes in a month’s time — by which point the festering mess will have generated untold bad press for Labor, and inflicted untold collateral damage on the government — LNP leader Lawrence Springborg should move in the House for Gordon’s expulsion.

Either way, Labor would be cornered: either Palaszczuk confronts her political mortality and backs the motion, with the attendant risk that the end result would be the end of her short-lived government; or she and her party attempt to tough it out, locking her in behind Gordon and ensuring the stench and rancour attached to him dogs Labor until it is forced to confront voters on a statewide basis.

This is the kind of “karma” I was alluding to on Sunday; and if it is good enough for Labor in Victoria to ruthlessly manipulate a similarly precarious Liberal government in that state to the point the Geoff Shaw issue arguably helped it return to office there, it is good enough for the LNP in Queensland to revisit the favour now.

So as you sow, so too shall you reap. Labor can complain about it all it likes.

But the second looks beyond Gordon altogether, for this filthy specimen may well be the least of Palaszczuk’s problems.

I am excellently informed from multiple sources that there are at least two (and possibly as many as four) newly elected Labor MPs in Queensland carrying the baggage of improper and/or illegal behaviour from their lives outside Parliament that is no less explosive than the revelations that have emerged over Billy Gordon.

I’m not going to specify — for now — which electorates and MPs are affected, but it is safe to say that even if the Gordon fracas is somehow neutralised and goes away, there is an army of rotten skeletons lined up in Labor’s closet just waiting to leap out and hit the Premier in the head.

The issues affecting these MPs range from relatively trivial misdemeanours to serious crimes such as perjurious conduct, violent offences, blackmail and extortion, and a slathering of involvement with organised crime to boot.

Even if Palaszczuk and Labor are able to move beyond the Gordon problem without a by-election, there are other problems that are almost certain to replace it: and Springborg and his colleagues should be relentless in forcing Labor’s nose to the wheel, using every legitimate means at their disposal to force the ALP from office in Queensland at the earliest opportunity.

It seems clear that once again, a rotten and violent Labor outfit has found its way into office by a ruthless and amoral campaign of lies, misrepresentation and outright fraud — the presence of fake emergency services workers having featured as prominently in Queensland as they did in Victoria — only to be exposed, itself, as unfit to govern, although even I am a bit surprised all this has come up so quickly.

Then again, we on the conservative side are a bit sick of Labor’s antics, mired in hypocrisy as they are, and the Gordon issue — even before and unless any of the others explode in the ALP’s face — proves it.

Sooner or later, and at some point — probably this year — if Springborg plays his cards right, one of the LNP’s assaults on Labor’s dodgy MPs is going to connect with its target, forcing a by-election that results in an LNP victory, and at that point, Labor is likely to be finished.

Should Springborg come to power through a change of government on the floor of state Parliament it will throw up new challenges that will require fresh strategies to consolidate: and whilst I have given quite some consideration to these, we will discuss them when and if the situation arises.

My final point this morning concerns Labor’s outrage that the LNP should dare pursue it over the criminal thuggery of its MPs and their unfitness to hold office: and I say, bluntly, that Labor should get a grip and get over it.

After all, the historic win by Wayne Goss that ushered in 25 years of barely broken Labor government in Queensland in 1989 would never have happened if Labor itself had not profited from scandals engulfing the then-National Party; 18 months out from that election — and before the Fitzgerald Inquiry laid bare the endemic corruption that occurred in Queensland in the 1970s and 1980s — the ALP was stuck at 37% in reputable opinion polls and on track to remain in opposition well into the 1990s.

The composition of the parliamentary ALP today, replete with a number of crooks either uncloaked or stuffed in a cupboard somewhere, is no less reprehensible than the issues Labor surfed to power on a quarter of a century ago.

And if it defends the likes of Gordon — openly or with assistance behind the scenes, as it has — or any of the other primed explosive devices sitting on its backbench, then Labor in Queensland is no better than the corrupt National Party regime of yesteryear that it continues, even now, to try to milk for political advantage at every conceivable turn.

Karma Bus: Labor Gets Its Very Own Geoff Shaw Figure In Queensland

IN A CLASSIC CASE of “what goes around comes around,” a visit from the karma bus has brought Labor its own Geoff Shaw-style liability; rather than appear in Victoria — where Shaw himself caused the Coalition great angst, merrily and recklessly fuelled by an irresponsible ALP — the shipment of certain trouble has been delivered to the knife-edge Queensland government. Labor will now rue its mindlessly destructive antics south of the Murray.

The old adage about two wrongs not making a right might be a noble sentiment, but the means by which to deliver the Labor Party a taste of its own medicine has landed in the lap of Queensland’s LNP opposition, which — like Labor in Victoria between 2010 and 2014 — must scarcely be able to believe its luck.

For good measure, a visit from the proverbial karma bus has delivered the ALP ample recompense for the brazenly irresponsible and wantonly tasteless effort it invested in miscreant former Liberal MP Geoff Shaw, whose escapades and Labor’s ruthless exploitation of them went so far as to render the competent Liberal state government of Denis Napthine unelectable.

Queenslanders may or may not know the name “Geoff Shaw” but whether they do or not, a local version of this menace will soon become a household name in the Sunshine State, and — like Shaw himself, for all the wrong reasons.

In a delicious twist of fate, it is in Queensland — where Labor holds office in minority, and not in Victoria — that this liability has been visited upon the ALP.

(UPDATED, 3.50pm: Billy Gordon has (rightly) been expelled from the ALP, with Annastacia Palaszczuk demanding he also quit Parliament; whatever happens now, this mess still has a long way to run and will still cause Queensland Labor a lot of grief. We will continue to monitor proceedings with interest).

The revelation that the recently elected MP for the Queensland seat of Cook Billy Gordon failed, at all times until the past few days, to disclose a significant history of criminal behaviour lights a powderkeg beneath the minority Queensland government that — like the fraught Geoff Shaw issue faced by the Coalition in government in Victoria under Denis Napthine — threatens to derail its hold on office and potentially send Queenslanders to a fresh state election later this year.

That Gordon could pose a problem to Anna Palaszczuk’s government first became apparent a little earlier, when it emerged that he owed significant arrears in child support payments and later that he had a history as the perpetrator for domestic violence: matters that in hindsight seem to have been the trigger for the full disclosure of his sordid criminal past.

And despite Gordon’s statement apparently seeking to attribute his errant behaviour on a deprived upbringing and to distance himself from his actions on the basis they were done by a young man, the itinerary of offences he committed spans more than 20 years: adequate time, one might expect if being generous, for a rotten character to see the fault of his or her ways and to mend them.

Gordon, to put not too fine a point on it, is unfit to serve as an elected member of Parliament: a dubious character and serial perpetrator of actual physical violence and a string of other misdemeanours, there is no place for him in any house of governance in this country — and I am uninterested in excuses blathered to the contrary by the compassion babbling bullshit lobby that invariably leaps to the fore in such circumstances to explain away and rationalise what is an unacceptable pattern of blatantly unlawful behaviour.

That is the problem. It makes Geoff Shaw, with his misuse of parliamentary resources and destructively eccentric delusions of importance, look like a veritable saint by comparison.

Readers — especially those from Queensland, where all of this is just the beginning of the kind of political lawlessness (no pun intended) gleefully visited upon a Liberal government by a reckless Labor Party — can access the copious discussion pieces I published on the Victorian situation through the “Geoff Shaw” tag from the tag cloud at the right of this article.

But just as Labor took untold delight in turning the screws on Napthine — it supported expelling Shaw, then when Napthine lined up to throw him out of state Parliament, the ALP refused, thanks to the one-seat Coalition majority that rested on Shaw’s vote — it now faces a dose of its own medicine provided the LNP is willing to mete out the same treatment in Queensland as its southern cousin was subjected to over an issue that was largely no fault of its own.

And there’s the rub: Queensland Labor is not responsible, at face value, for Gordon’s misadventures.

Yes, its vetting procedures should have uncovered them, and yes, this points to deep flaws in the way the Queensland ALP goes about its business: and it’s a sure bet that given the nature of the beast (and the stakes now at hand), those processes will be overhauled in an attempt to ensure the party cannot be embarrassed by this type of unwanted surprise again.

Yet such sentiments are in no way different to the kind of talk faced by the Liberals in Victoria: why did they even preselect Geoff Shaw in the first place? Of course, Shaw was only ever a candidate because the Liberals’ intended candidate fell seriously ill and was unable to contest the seat of Frankston at the 2010 state election. In her place came the odious Shaw, ostensibly from a copybook small business background, but — like Gordon — too defective a character to merit or warrant a seat in Parliament.

But Labor in Victoria revelled in Shaw and his flaws, just as the Queensland LNP should be merciless in returning that dubious favour now.

And for her part, Palaszczuk is cornered.

She cannot engineer Gordon’s expulsion from Parliament; the ensuing by-election in Cook — despite the margin of close to 10% recorded at the January election — could not be guaranteed as a Labor win, and a loss in such a scenario would make a change of government (supported by the two Katter MPs) a virtual certainty: with the major parties then tied at 43-all, it is inconceivable Labor could retain the confidence of the House.

She cannot engineer Gordon’s expulsion from the ALP, either: as an Independent MP involuntarily removed from the Labor caucus, Gordon would be free to do whatever he liked, which would include voting down any or all government legislation he felt disinclined to support, and would extend as far — as Geoff Shaw did — as threatening to vote the minority government out of office altogether on the floor of Queensland’s unicameral Parliament.

And she cannot take the obvious course of a fresh election to confirm her “mandate:” unlike Napthine, locked into the strictures of a fixed four-year term in Victoria, an election would seem the logical way of breaking any deadlock the Gordon issue imposed on the Queensland Parliament.

But given considerations around the likelihood or otherwise of a Labor win, the cost involved, and the likely ire another state election would draw from Queensland’s poll-weary voters, in practice Palaszczuk stands to be just as locked into the same daily battle to manage an impossible situation as Napthine was.

And the LNP should be just as ruthless and unrelenting about forcing Palaszczuk to twist and dangle and contort in the wind as her counterparts in Victoria were until they won a state election — largely off Shaw’s back.

Regular readers know that despite my very high personal opinion of Queensland opposition leader Lawrence Springborg and his excellent work as an LNP minister in the Newman government, I have severe misgivings over this three-time election loser representing a winning proposition at a fourth electoral outing, and especially over the palatability or otherwise of a rural MP to the large and growing urban population that now constitutes the majority of the Queensland electorate.

Even so, what goes around comes around: and just as an otherwise hopeless Labor Party with nothing of any substance to offer Victorian voters cynically turned Geoff Shaw into a weapon of great electoral advantage over an unfortunate Premier of real substance and vision, so too should the LNP rub Labor’s nose in Queensland in the dirt thrown up by revelations of the past conduct of its MP for Cook.

Perhaps if forced to confront exactly the same unprincipled treatment it sees fit to dish out to its own opponents, Labor might think twice before embarking on the same mindlessly base course in the future.

It won’t, of course. But that is no reason for it not to be forced to rue its antics in Victoria.

As for Gordon, if he is as reformed as he claims to be, he would do the right thing and leave Parliament of his own volition — irrespective of the potential consequences for the ALP.

Just like Shaw, he won’t. And in my view, that is reason enough for Gordon — and Palaszczuk — to be regarded as fair game.

The LNP is free do its worst.