Queensland Labor MP Bill Gordon has resigned from the Labor party after allegations were made in regards to his criminal record, throwing the balance of power in the state’s parliament into chaos.
Newly anointed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk claims that she was notified of the allegations on 13 March and acted upon the information in due course.
The Courier Mail reports that the former Bligh government employed Mr Gordon with full knowledge of his criminal past and it is speculated as to how the Labor Party allowed Mr Gordon to join and campaign as a member in the Queensland state election.
State opposition leader Laurence Springborg has accused the premier of attempting to cover up the allegation, however Ms Palaszczuk is adamant that she has acted with integrity.
“I had a member of parliament who came into my office with the deputy premier, sat there opposite me, after we went through the tax issues and child support issues, I said to him are there any other matters I need to know about and he looked me in the eye and said ‘no’,” she said.
The beleaguered Mr Gordon has argued that he has been denied ‘natural justice’ and whilst he is no longer a member of Queensland Labor, he is still the elected state representative for Cook.
So what happens now?
If the member for Cook remains in Parliament as an independent, we can presume he will vote with Labor and the government will still be able to pass legislation through with the additional support of independent Peter Wellington giving the required 45 vote majority.
If Mr Gordon votes against Labor legislation, the party may have to negotiate with members from Katter’s Australian Party (KAP).
It is possible, though, that Mr Gordon will decide to resign as a member of parliament and a by-election be called for the vacated seat. If Labor were to win the seat then the numbers in parliament return to where they were prior to Mr Gordon’s revelations with Ms Palaszczuk’s Labor commanding 44 seats plus the vote of Mr Wellington.
There is, however, also the possibility that the LNP could win a by-election in Cook. That is where things could get interesting. The KAP members have never explicitly supported the LNP or Labor, and if they struck a deal with the LNP then the now opposition would have the power to form government with 45 votes in Parliament including those of KAP.
An intriguing few weeks are ahead in Queensland.
IMAGE: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (Photo by Glenn Hunt/Getty Images)