Springborg ousted: LNP president a ‘dead man walking’
LNP MEMBERS are mobilising, demanding an explanation over the shock dumping of party elder Lawrence Springborg, as senior party sources blast key LNP leaders as being "completely out of touch".
Party president Dave Hutchinson has been described as a dead man walking amid anger over the decision not to reappoint Mr Springborg to the party executive.
It came as Opposition leader Deb Frecklington refused to answer questions over whether the influential stalwart had been cut loose because of his support for her.
The shock move to oust Mr Springborg, considered the father of the party, was a "slap in the face" to the branch members who will be demanding an explanation, senior sources have said.
Mr Springborg's ousting, understood to be backed by Mr Hutchinson, is damaging to the party coming only 100 days away from the state election.
Sources labelled the decision to drop Mr Springborg "arrogant", "tone deaf" and questioned the political judgment behind it.
Mr Hutchinson's future heading up the party is now in doubt, but there is little appetite to take action before the election, with COVID-19 gathering restrictions also presenting a barrier.
But sources said Mr Hutchinson's future would need to be dealt with after the state election, whether the LNP were successful or not.
"As soon as we're past the election there will be a big push to hold a state council," one source said.
Mr Hutchinson was contacted for comment.
A senior party source said grassroots branch members will be writing to their regional chairs and MPs demanding an explanation.
"This has been done by a handful of senior people who are completely out of touch with the membership," they said.
The Courier-Mail revealed the ousting on Monday, which had not been publicised over the weekend.
Mr Hutchinson told the meeting on Friday there was a concern that strict local government laws could mean a conflict of interest for Mr Springborg, who is also the Goondiwindi mayor.
But multiple senior party sources have questioned the explanation, given the party vice president Cameron O'Neil is a Maranoa councillor and has heavy involvement with the party's finances and fundraising.
Mr Springborg issued a statement saying the appointment of party trustees was a matter for the party's state executive.
"Since I have retired from state parliament I have refrained from engaging in public commentary on party political matters," he said.
"It was a great privilege to represent the interest of LNP members as a party trustee."
At a press conference, Ms Frecklington - who sits on state executive but was represented by deputy Tim Mander on Friday - refused to say when she was told of the decision.
Neither would she respond to questions around whether Mr Springborg was dumped because of his support for her, having spoken against Mr Hutchinson at the previous state executive meeting.
It is understood some members of the executive have considered a plan to have Minister Peter Dutton, who spoke out against Mr Hutchinson's for leaking against Ms Frecklington, removed as removed the Federal party's representative to the executive. But it is considered unlikely as it is an appointment made by the Prime Minister.