Independent MP Billy Gordon flexes political muscle as Palaszczuk Government flags changes

Former Labor member Billy Gordon has begun to flex his political muscle as a balance of power MP, turning his attention to a second piece of Palaszczuk Government legislation.

Mr Gordon will combine with the two Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) MPs, Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter, to vote against earlier lockout times for pubs and clubs, unless the Government reworks the laws.

“People have voted for me and I am blessed to have very significant power, I think, or influence in the Parliament and I want to use that in a responsible way,” Mr Gordon said.

He said there was an opportunity for compromise on the liquor licensing amendments.

“I am very open minded if the Government want to come back and say ‘look you know perhaps we need to go back to the drawing board here to get this right, to get the balance right’.”

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad acknowledged Mr Gordon’s position as a balance of power MP.

“Every crossbencher is a powerful person. That’s the reality of a minority government,” she said.

“The Premier and the Attorney-General are having discussions with the crossbenchers about alcohol-fuelled violence and how we can get our election commitment through the Parliament.”

Queensland Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said he would prefer that Mr Gordon did not vote with the LNP in Parliament, but cannot stop him.

“We have no ability not to [accept his support]. That’s absolutely a matter for him,” he said.

Mr Springborg said the LNP was also likely to vote against the new lockout times, but they have reservations about Mr Gordon supporting their position.

Mr Gordon is also concerned about Stradbroke Island’s economy if the Government goes ahead with its timetable to end sand mining in 2019, but Ms Trad said the economic transition strategy had not yet been released.

“I’m very happy to sit down with Billy and any member of the crossbench and any member of the opposition to talk through the strategy once it’s been finalised and considered by Cabinet,” she said.

The previous LNP government extended the North Stradbroke Island mining lease and Labor will need the support of either Mr Gordon or the KAP MPs to end it by 2019.

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation head Cameron Costello said native title holders were happy with Labor’s plan to transition the island’s economy away from mining.

Mr Costello has called on the Government to sit down with Mr Gordon so that he does not oppose the proposal.

“[We want to] let him know what’s going on in terms of that, that might ease some of his concerns that he has obviously around … how you transition workers and that kind of stuff,” he said.

“They are the concerns all of us have and I think the Government’s working to adequately address those concerns.”

‘I knew there was a dirty underside to politics’

Meanwhile, Mr Gordon told the ABC that he had not expected politics to be as tough as it has turned out to be.

The controversial MP has resisted calls for him to quit Parliament after he was forced out of the ALP for not disclosing a criminal history.

The pressure for him to go has increased since it emerged that several women had accused him of sexting.

“Politics – it’s not marbles – I knew when I signed up for this job there was a dirty underside if you like,” Mr Gordon said.

“I obviously didn’t anticipate it would be this tough so soon, and the intensity, but I have got a job to do.”

Source: ABC News