Lydia Lynch, Sarah Elks The Australian May 23, 2023
Queensland Liberal National Party leader David Crisafulli insists he will “absolutely not” roll back Indigenous treaty legislation if he becomes premier next year, despite facing intense pressure from his party to do so. New laws were passed through state parliament this month, with support of the LNP, allowing the government to negotiate dozens of treaty deals with First Nations groups. Most treaty deals will likely include financial settlements worth hundreds of millions of dollars apiece and could also result in changes to school curriculums and reforms in health, criminal justice and child protection.
All 34 LNP MPs voted in favour of the laws and state sources have told The Australian there was no push-back in the party room.
The decision has enraged senior LNP figures, federal politicians and grassroots members, with a handful of branches across the state already passing motions condemning the state opposition.
More motions calling for treaty laws to be repealed are being drafted to take to the party’s state convention in July. An LNP source said a number of regional party members who had not planned to attend the convention in Brisbane were now organising travel so they could speak against treaty.
Federal MPs have told The Australian that party members were so mad, they were threatening not to hand out how-to-vote cards for the state LNP MPs at the next election while others had already quit the party.
One federal LNP politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “They won’t get to government at this rate, this could literally cost them the election.”
But Mr Crisafulli has defended his position, saying treaties could help hold governments accountable and be a “defining moment in driving good”.
“We supported this because it matters and I am determined to drive real reform,” he said.
“I believe this is an opportunity to outline a better way forward for Indigenous communities and I won’t take a backwards step on how important that is.”
An LNP spokesman has said the party would not advocate for compensation to be paid to First Nations groups as part of the treaty deals.
Opposition spokesman for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, John-Paul Langbroek, was understood to be drafting a statement to members on Tuesday night “clarifying” the party’s position on treaty legislation.
The statement was triggered by revelations by The Australian last week that federal LNP politicians had been assured by state colleagues that treaty negotiations would be “killed off”, if the LNP won the October 2024 poll.
One LNP state MP agreed grassroots members were angry, and wanted Mr Crisafulli to stand up to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. “Like we are at a federal level on the voice, asking for more detail,” the MP said.
Mr Crisafulli is yet to reveal his position on the Indigenous voice to parliament.
Of the 34 state MPs, only Sam O’Connor – the MP for the Gold Coast seat of Bonney – has definitively said he is voting yes. Seven have said they plan to vote no and the rest are undecided.
1/ Queensland opposition leader David Crisafulli. Picture: Brendan Radke
Comment by Nelle-another hopeless wannabe Liberal-not only hopeless but ignorant- he needs to research the real Australian History-where is Deb Freckington she was a better deal with little to choose from