‘Faceless men’: Leaked emails expose bitter branch fallout

THE top brass of the LNP have been branded "faceless men" as the bitter fallout from Jann Stuckey's sudden resignation continues.

Leaked emails show the level of vitriol between the LNP's Currumbin branch and Brisbane head office.

The behind-the-scenes war erupted over the sudden announcement on Tuesday that party newcomer Laura Gerber would be the LNP candidate at the Currumbin by-election.

It prompted an angry email to LNP state president David Hutchinson from branch president Chris Crawford, who said members were furious and had been insulted. In another email to branch members, he described the process as "a shameful episode''. Mr Crawford had been backed by Ms Stuckey as her likely successor.

Branch members revealed this week they were given an "impossible" three hours notice that nominations for preselection in the seat were closing. According to an email chain, members were then given less than 24 hours notice of a "meet the candidate event'' to be held on Tuesday.

LNP emails.
LNP emails.

The invitation, sent out at 9pm Monday, has been criticised as a "farce'' by a number of local members who were not even aware a candidate had been chosen.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Crawford wrote to Mr Hutchinson. Mr Crawford forwarded a copy to the entire Currumbin branch. It is understood he had twice been rejected by the head office during the applicant review process.

The LNP declined to comment on the matter yesterday.

"Why is a meeting, and a regional meeting at that, being called with less than 24 hours notice, in the dead of the night on a public holiday?" Mr Crawford wrote. "Our members do not even know the proposed candidate's name for heaven's sake!"

"Many of our members sent letters and emails to state executive about preselection, which were also largely ignored. Our members are furious … and they feel insulted to be treated with such disdain."

An e-mail sent by Currumbin branch chairman Chris Crawford to LNP state president David Hutchinson.
An e-mail sent by Currumbin branch chairman Chris Crawford to LNP state president David Hutchinson.

In his email to the branch, Mr Crawford said: "They run roughshod over your rights as members, in particular, your right to choose your candidate for your community.

"If we wanted to have faceless men making decisions for us we would have joined the Labor Party. This is a shameful episode in our party's history."

Mr Crawford declined Bulletin requests for comment.

A branch member who attended Ms Gerber's welcome event on Tuesday said: "There was zero opportunity to ask questions from the floor to the president, (party leader) Deb (Frecklington) or the candidate. It was a sterile event."