The preselections are done, the candidates are picked, the party is on a war footing for an election that could be called any day. The Liberal National Party of Queensland is set to go whenever Anna Bligh fires the starting gun.
Except, oops, they forgot something.
Recently the party emailed members calling for volunteers to work on its Disputes Committee.
The Disputes Committee is required under the party’s constitution and is intended to be the appropriate forum to settle disputes over preselection and other intra-party blues. The fact that it has not even been established until after preselections are over indicates a remarkable faith in the amity of candidates. Or it might be all those seats where only one person put their hand up.
Crikey rang LNP headquarters some weeks ago inquiring about who was on the Disputes Committee, which is potentially critical to ensuring factions are able to block opponents or smooth the way for their own. Right-wing chieftain Santo Santoro, for example, was given life membership of the Liberal Party shortly before it merged last year, automatically giving him a seat on the Disputes Committee. We were told State director Michael O’Dwyer would get back to us, which strangely never happened. Perhaps the call jogged someone’s memory.
We are seeking LNP Party Members to volunteer their time to be part of an official Disputes Committee. Eligible participants include Honorary Life Members, former Trustees, former Presidents, former Vice President’s, Members who are former members of the Australian or Queensland Parliaments or Members who hold qualifications in mediation recognized by a legal professional body, legal practitioners of not less than 15 years standing.
Please email [email protected] if you are interested in being involved. We propose your time would be kept to a minimum in this voluntary role. The formation of the Disputes Committee is consistent with the provisions (Section M.3) of the LNP constitution as follows:
There shall be a Disputes Committee to be constituted as follows:
(a) a panel of legal members, who shall be legal practitioners of not less than fifteen (15) years standing and appointed by State Executive;
(b) a panel of non-legal members comprised of all Honorary Life Members, former Trustees of the Party, former Presidents, former Vice-Presidents and Members who are former members of the Australian or Queensland parliaments;
(c) a panel of mediator members, who shall hold qualifications in mediation recognized by a legal professional body or the Department of Justice for the State of Queensland, and shall be appointed by State Executive.