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MP vows: I'll cross the floor on asset sales issue

STRONG VIEW: MP Sean Choat.
STRONG VIEW: MP Sean Choat. Claudia Baxter

IPSWICH West's sitting LNP member Sean Choat says he is prepared to cross the floor in future if his government attempts to sell electricity, water or transport utilities.

But in responding to Mr Choat's bombshell, Labor's Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller said he must now resign from the LNP and become an independent or a member of a minor party.

Mr Choat said he understood there was "nothing up for sale and hopefully it won't come to that", but said he would vote against his LNP colleagues if necessary.

"I am opposed to the sale of electricity, water and transport-related utilities - I want to be very clear about that - it's no secret and I'd use my vote in the parliament to that end," Mr Choat said. "I am basically saying in essence that I will cross the floor if necessary.

"It is not common for someone to go against their party, but that was my view back in 2009 when privatisation happened under Labor and my attitude hasn't changed.

"If, in future, the government said it was going to sell Stanwell (power station), I would say, 'No, I don't support that'.

"I do understand there are financial pressures on our state as a result of poor decisions of the previous government and we need to sort that out - we just need to consider a full range of options."

Mrs Miller said if Mr Choat was serious about his stance, then he should inform the parliament next week and leave the LNP.

"He needs to make his position clear in the parliament next week in adjournment debate or in matters of public interest debate, because you only need to cross the floor if there is a division," she said.

"And if that is his position, he should resign from the LNP because he won't be able to support the LNP's views on asset sales."

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Mr Choat said the LNP had no plans to sell assets, but Mrs Miller disagrees.

"The LNP government has indicated on numerous occasions that it intends to sell electricity assets," she said. "Anything that is not nailed down will be sold by this LNP government.

"It is easy for Sean Choat to make out that he is against it, however if he really believes that then let him sit as an independent in the parliament.

"That is just what other LNP members have done. They have resigned from the LNP and become independents, members of Katter's Australian Party or members of the Palmer United Party."

The QT put to Mrs Miller that she stayed in the Labor party despite it privatising assets when Anna Bligh was Premier.

"The Labor government did, and I was opposed to that and everyone knows that," she said. "I didn't (resign) because I stood firm for the Labor Party platform, which is against asset sales."

Mr Choat said his opposition to asset sales was "ingrained".

"Most people know that I was an employee of QR Ltd," he said.

"The statement was made by the (previous Labor) government that they weren't going to sell it, but they went ahead and did even though 88% of the public made it clear that they didn't want them to.

"After that no one gave me a choice, or anyone else, which company they went into.

"It was very clinical. It was, 'Bang, you are in this company. End of story. Too bad, so sad'.

"I was able to take a redundancy and I left, but not everyone is in that situation.

"I just thought it was a bad move.

"The freight operations of QR were assets that the government and people owned that have proven since the sale to be quite valuable, and I think it was a lost opportunity for the people of Queensland.

"They sold what was basically all of the revenue-producing assets of the company," Mr Choat said.

Topics:  asset sales, jo-ann miller, lnp, sean choat




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