LNP still the party for regional Qld

DESPITE another defection from the party, the LNP is still the party for regional voters, according to Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss.

Shane Knuth, the Member for Dalrymple in northern Queensland, jumped ship to Katter's Australian Party at the weekend, claiming the LNP had abandoned its country constituents.

Mr Rickuss said there had been no shift away from traditional National Party policies under the merged conservative party.

"That's Shane's opinion and I'm disappointed in that," he said.

"I don't think that's happened."

Mr Rickuss said he would be staying loyal to the LNP and had no plans to switch allegiances to the new party.

"I won't be in Mr Katter's party. I want to help the people of Lockyer when we come to power."

Mr Rickuss said he believed Mr Knuth's decision to jump ship was due to a lack of belief in LNP party leader Campbell Newman.

"There is an old saying, 'Get behind your leader or get out', and I guess that's what Shane has done. People are always of their own mindset. This is the great thing about conservative parties - not everyone always thinks that same way.

"It's disappointing Shane has decided to do this though."

The defection has led Katter's Australian Party leader Bob Katter to claim that other "ostracised, isolated and bullied" country MPs would follow Mr Knuth, with discussions already under way.

"But I've made it pretty clear from my side there would only be four or five of them that we'd be interested in," Mr Katter said.

"People that have sold their souls again and again and again and never put up any resistance are the last people we'd want."

Mr Katter said country MPs were upset at issues such as being forced to support the controversial coal seam gas industry.

"They are blatantly seen to be spitting on their own electorates and looking after the interests of foreign corporations to the detriment of the country ... and yet they're forced to vote for it," he said.

Mr Knuth is the latest defection from the LNP after current independent Rob Messenger and Boonah MP Aidan McLindon quit the party last year.



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