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Katter MP's: It's too early to back either ALP or LNP for government

Independent Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington (centre)
 meets with Katter’s Australian Party members
 Shane Knuth (left) and Robbie Katter.
KATTER MPs Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth have announced they believe it is too early to back either major party in a bid to help them form government.

As both parties race to find the 45 seats the need to form government, they have been locked in negotiations with the Katter MPs and Independent Peter Wellington in the hopes they will back them, providing the necessary numbers.

Mr Katter said he believed Mr Wellington would back Labor today but said with votes still being counted the KAP believed the state was still in a “state of flux”.

The LNP was last night predicted to win about 39 seats to Labor’s 42 with at least five seats still too close to call.

Labor is front in Maryborough and Ferny Grove, which could end up in a by-election after The Courier-Mail revealed one of the candidates, Palmer United Party candidate Mark Taverner was an undischarged bankrupt.

He has since been disqualified.

The LNP is ahead in the other three seats, Whitsunday, Lockyer and Mount Ommaney.

Mr Knuth said the results in seats like Maryborough and Ferny Grove were still uncertain.

“No one knows what’s going to happen here,” Mr Knuth said.

“It could end up 43 all.

“We can’t see the future at this present moment.

Mr Katter said it’s “common knowledge” independent MP Peter Wellington had made his decision. “He is going to back the ALP,” Mr Katter said.

“From our point of view that’s far too premature and akin to running to the try line without the football.

“Queensland is still in a state of flux. There’s still 100,000 postal votes to come in and there’s the Ferny Grove situation.”

POLITICAL kingmaker Peter Wellington is today expected to back a Labor minority government as the possibility of legal action hangs over a key seat.

Mr Wellington yesterday met with both major parties before revealing he would announce his decision today before the count is finalised.

In a blow to the LNP, the Independent Member for Nicklin told how three separate groups from within the party, including premier-hopeful Lawrence Springborg, had been approaching crossbenches saying it was apparent there was “real confusion”.

The remarks do not bode well for the leaderless LNP, given Mr Wellington says the key factor influencing his decision is the need for certainty and “stability in Queensland”.

“There’s not stability, no,” he said of the LNP’s splintered approach.

Mr Wellington said he would prefer the crossbenchers – which includes Katter’s Australian Party MPs Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth – stood as a bloc.

“Stability is important and if it’s possible for Robbie, Shane and I as a bloc to provide that degree of stability to one of those parties, that would be important,” he said.

Major parties court crossbenchers

Peter Wellington

Labor was last night on track to reach 44 seats – Peter Wellington’s support will take the party to the 45 required to form government.

However the seat of Ferny Grove, which is counted in the Labor pile, could yet be forced to a by-election because of a disqualified Palmer United Party candidate.

Counting continued in the seat yesterday on legal advice, but the Electoral Commission Queensland indicated it could refer the outcome to the Court of Disputed Returns.

The LNP may also refer the case to the court.

KAP founder Bob Katter yesterday arrived at Parliament House where his son Robbie was holding negotiations and declared neither side was capable of running the state.

“I think you’re looking at possibly the two worst governments in Queensland history,’’ he said. “None of those people are capable of running government, none of them had any experience in running government.’’

He took aim at the LNP, saying it had “attacked” the KAP during the election campaign.

“Their strategy for the last 10 days was ‘hung parliament chaos’,” he said.

“If you want to ask Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth how many begging telephone calls they've got from the Liberals ... oh, last week it was chaos, now we want chaos ... how stupid, how stupid.’’

Possible by-election in Ferny Grove

Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday met with the crossbenchers in a bid to convince them her party was the only one able to offer the stability and anti-privatisation stance they sought.

Speaking with media before the meetings, she said her rivals were in chaos and had based all of their election commitments on their privatisation plan going ahead.

“They therefore have absolutely nothing,” she said.

KAP MP Shane Knuth said his party was still waiting for the count, but had yesterday met with Mr Springborg, the health minister during the Newman government, as well as leadership candidate Fiona Simpson.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” he said.

“The discussions that we’ve had is not basically about putting our propositions fully forward. We have to wait for the second stage.”

Mr Knuth’s wife Heather took to Facebook earlier this week to praise Speaker and LNP leadership candidate Ms Simpson, as well as Ms Palaszczuk.

“BUSY, BUSY, Shane flew down to parliament to chat to both (parties in case) it's a hung parliament, wow ... said if LNP don’t change their leadership don’t bother talking to him, (Annastacia) is a lovely woman,” she posted.

“I hope Fiona Simpson gets leader of LNP, great woman.”

Mr Wellington yesterday met with Mr Springborg, but said he was aware of three groups “trying to get the ear” of crossbenchers.

“The person that I met with today has the authority of the Liberal National Party in Queensland to be the representative on behalf of the party,” he said.

“I have formed an opinion but I would like to sleep on it and tomorrow I expect I’ll be making an announcement.’’

Bob Katter said his son and Mr Knuth had often sought Mr Wellington’s counsel, even when he himself had offered advice.

“They have been very close to Peter Wellington at all times,” he said.