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Newman denies role in backroom plot to dump Frecklington

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Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman denies he’s plotting to oust the Opposition Leader, but admits he’s worried she will lose the October election.

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Deb Frecklington spent the weekend insisting she would lead the Liberal National Party to the polls, but also accused unnamed backroom “bully boys” of undermining her.

“I will not be bullied by the backroom boys of the LNP,” she told reporters on Sunday.

“It is disappointing there are a few blokes sitting in the back room who want things to go back to the way things were.”

Newman had a single controversial term as premier from 2012 to 2015, after the LNP used him to oust John-Paul Langbroek following a succession of poor polls.

Frecklington’s attack on enemies from within came after damaging internal party polling was leaked to the media, showing the LNP trailing Labor in crucial marginal seats.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today said the LNP focussed on itself while her government focused on Queensland’s economic recovery.

Newman denies he’s been working to get rid of Frecklington, but as a political commentator he feels comfortable talking about the LNP’s problems.

“I want the LNP to win, I want Deb Frecklington to win, but they’re not making enough of an impact and the election is in danger of slipping away from the LNP,”  he told The Australian newspaper.

“It’s senior people in the party, it’s people who have been supportive, it’s donors, it’s people in the community saying it’s not working.”

Newman offered praise for Frecklington’s tourism spokesman David Crisafulli, who served in his ministry and has been touted as a leadership contender.

Crisafulli was one of the few in the LNP who was “continually punching through”, the former premier said.

Frecklington had her deputy leader Tim Mander with her when she faced the media on Sunday. He says suggestions of a coup are nonsense.

“Deb has my 100 per cent support and she has the support of the parliamentary wing as well,” he told reporters.

The Australian newspaper says it understands that LNP president Dave Hutchinson, Newman, and former party president Bruce McIver are working against Frecklington.

Hutchinson and McIver would not comment when contacted by the paper.

Jann Stuckey used to hold the Gold Coast seat of Currumbin for the LNP before she quit politics, citing a battle with depression, but also sustained bullying by figures within the party.

She said it was amusing to hear Frecklington complain about being bullied when the LNP leader did nothing to help her.

“It’s all very well for Deb to go out there and accuse these backroom boys and play the gender card. Well, she didn’t do anything about it while I was in parliament,” Stuckey told ABC radio on Monday.

“I didn’t see any strength in her comment. I saw a desperate woman clinging on.”

Stuckey said Labor wants Frecklington to lead the LNP because she’s beatable.

“They would be scared out of their wits if it was David Crisafulli.”

-AAP

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