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Queensland ALP Politics: Factions go public with Labor pains

QUEENSLAND Labor is poised to descend into a bitter legal battle as it
faces a Campbell Newman-led resurgence of the Liberal Nationals.

Accusations of forgery and dodgy voting practices relating to the
party's supreme decision-making body will be levelled at Labor by some
of its own senior figures.

The legal claim, to be filed as early as today by disgruntled sections
of Premier Anna Bligh's own Left faction, will draw comparisons with
Labor's pre-Shepherdson inquiry electoral rorting antics.

The court battle will put the deep divisions within the party on
public display as it attempts to rein in LNP leader-in-waiting
Campbell Newman.

Allegations of voting irregularities during meetings of Labor's
administrative committee were first highlighted during the ejection of
outspoken unionist Peter Simpson from the party.

However, the claims have now widened considerably in scope with
questions raised over other decisions taken by the party.

Specifically, the legal claim will allege irregularities with regard
to proxies and that people have attended meetings of the committee
without the knowledge of the member they were there voting for.

Letters obtained by The Courier-Mail reveal Left-faction heavyweight
and union boss Michael Ravbar and Labor state secretary Anthony
Chisholm have already exchanged heated correspondence threatened legal
consequences against each other.

In one letter, Mr Ravbar said he had been advised that a Labor
employee had attempted to destroy proxies after the committee met on
March 14 to eject Mr Simpson.

"I therefore request that you give an undertaking that you will
immediately take steps to ensure that all purported proxy instruments
are preserved in an unmolested state,'' he said.

Mr Chisholm wrote back dismissing claims the proxies were improper,
saying the party's rules did not require committee members sign them

He said there were torn proxies but they were legible and available.

"Let me formally put you on notice that should a reference to party
officials being engaged in forgery be publicly asserted, the party and
party officers for whom I am responsible reserve all their rights
including in defamation,'' Mr Chisholm said.