Choat lets fly at dud LNP head office antics
SEAN Choat has dropped a bomb on the LNP leadership team for treating the people of Ipswich with contempt during the election campaign.
The re-election chances of both former Ipswich West MP Mr Choat and former Ipswich MP Ian Berry were dealt a fatal blow when former Premier Campbell Newman announced that $1.5 million in funding for the city's criterium cycling track would not be funded unless Mr Berry was re-elected, even if the government was returned.
A story in the QT on Monday, January 19 had revealed how the funding had been initially knocked back.
The next day's QT reported Mr Newman's conditional promise.
In that QT, and subsequent issues, residents, political analysts and MPs called the move "political blackmail", "unethical" and "a throwback to the Joh days".
Mr Choat had also secured $100,000 for shade cloth and upgrades for North Ipswich Reserve, and $100,000 for a women's change room and upgrade of facilities at Norths Leagues Club.
Or he thought he had at least.
He too was put in a position of having to announce on Tuesday, January 20 that the funding was based on his own re-election.
It was Mr Newman's statement in the QT that alerted Mr Choat to the radical way of funding the Ipswich electorate, a tactic that was used throughout the state.
"I found about it when I saw the story," Mr Choat said.
"I was very disappointed when they came out with… 'if the LNP candidate for Ipswich gets re-elected then we will do it'.
"I was wild about the bike track. The Ipswich council and community groups deserved that. The 24/7 Cycling people and Troy Dobinson did some brilliant work."
Mr Choat was also wild about having to make a similar 'elect me or else' statement about his own funding in North Ipswich.
"I was angry because I had been busting my guts for two years so people could go to the footy and enjoy it without sitting in the sun, and so the girls could get dressed in privacy in their change rooms.
"I felt like saying 'Stick it'.
"But I am not the boy to pack up his bat and go home."
Mr Choat said a resident told him she would be casting her vote for Labor because of the LNP's conditional funding tactic.
"A lady said to me at North Ipswich, 'I know you are passionate about your little projects, but that bike track did it for me'," he said.
"I said to her that I was sorry."
Mr Choat said there were lessons the LNP must learn from the election, such as the need to listen to people and consult.
"There were a number of decisions that the LNP leadership team made that I was not happy about," he said.
"I'd like to give a rocket to a few people, and maybe I will.
"I certainly had my say on quite a number of occasions.
"There are people in Brisbane in the organisation, and in the party room, that I think owe Queenslanders, people like me and some of my colleagues that lost some explanations.
"The election showed that people are willing to say, 'No, you are not willing to do what we want. It is time for you to move on'.
"The next government has to be really mindful of that.
" If the people say they don't want something done, you don't do it.
"There is a lesson there for a few people."