Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Dirt Files Muddy LNP; Scandal Widens the Party Rift as Claims Surface It Has Even Been Spying on Its Own Members

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Dirt Files Muddy LNP; Scandal Widens the Party Rift as Claims Surface It Has Even Been Spying on Its Own Members

Article excerpt

Byline: Tracey Ferrier of AAP

NAPOLEON Bonaparte famously said a leader has the right to be beaten, but never the right to be surprised.

But surprise was the only palatable defence left to former military man and Liberal National Party Leader Campbell Newman (pictured) this week.

He insists he knew nothing about the activities of a former Labor staffer, hired by two senior officials of his own party, to dig up salacious material about Labor MPs.

Mr Newman also breached another great military tradition a failing to take personal responsibility for what happens under your watch.

He has offered an apology a but only on behalf of his party a to Labor MPs distressed by the public airing in media reports of deeply personal information.

Health conditions, family breakdowns, and in some cases, while no names were attached, lurid details of sexual leanings and activities were contained.

Mr Newman has also refused to sack the two officials who hired the dirt digger, something Labor says proves he is a weak leader who doesn't have the mettle to run the state.

The LNP's response to the scandal has opened up new divisions between party bosses and the parliamentary team a not good for a party battling confusion about whose hand is really on the tiller.

Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney a who leads the party in the house while Mr Newman tries to win the seat of Ashgrove at the next election a has backed Mr Newman's decision not to sack the two staffers. But he's said anyone in the LNP executive found to have known about the dirt files might have to go.

The stance has sparked an angry response from LNP president Bruce McIver, who has pointedly said: aWe would be happy to (resign) if we were involved, but we are not involved. And Mr Seeney knows that.a

Mr McIver later went further, accusing the parliamentary wing of lacking discipline over what he called internal tensions.

aI have discipline in the organisation,a he told a national newspaper. …

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