Labor moves to oust senior minister ahead of poll


Bitter divisions have erupted within the Palaszczuk Government over a behind-the-scenes push to oust a senior Minister from state parliament by his own faction.

Just 27 days before the official start of the state election campaign, The Courier-Mail can reveal Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham is attempting to fight off forces trying to end his six-year stint in state politics.

It is understood powerful Right faction union, the AWU, is pushing for Dr Lynham, an accomplished former surgeon who has maintained his medical qualifications, to announce his retirement within days.

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham
Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham

According to senior Palaszczuk Government figures, the AWU wants to trigger a clause in a secret agreement struck when Dr Lynham was preselected from outside Labor in 2014 which allowed the union to call time on his career.

Dr Lynham's likely successor in his safe seat of Stafford would be Right faction favourite Jim Sullivan, whose father Terry held the electorate and its predecessor seats between 1991 and 2006.

Mr Sullivan recently quit his role as chief of staff to Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath, sparking internal speculation he was poised to replace Dr Lynham.

However, it is understood another Right faction union, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association, is heading a rearguard action to keep Dr Lynham, who remains one of the Palaszczuk Government's most reliable ministers.

Another figure close to the discussions insisted Dr Lynham, who had the support of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, had seen off the challenge.

Colleagues of Dr Lynham's are livid factional shenanigans were being played out in the weeks before Queenslanders go to the polls on October 31, with one describing the situation as "appalling".

Retiring Disabilities Minister Coralee O'Rourke
Retiring Disabilities Minister Coralee O'Rourke

It comes after Disabilities Minister Coralee O'Rourke sparked internal anger by announcing she was quitting the contest for her marginal seat of Mundingburra last week just days after Ms Palaszczuk brushed off reports that Ms O'Rourke was reconsidering her candidature as "speculation".

Dr Lynham insisted he was recontesting his seat, saying he had faced speculation about his future for the past two elections.

"The same rumours have circulated at every election since I was elected at a by-election in 2014. It never changes," he said.

Dr Lynham added: "I am the candidate for Stafford and nothing has changed."

Originally published as Labor moves to oust senior minister ahead of poll