Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington will rally the troops at the party’s annual State Convention. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington will rally the troops at the party’s annual State Convention. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

Liberal chiefs brace for fiery convention

THE LNP's annual State Convention is renowned in political circles for the range of resolutions listed for debate each year.

Those resolutions - which if passed are to be considered by the party's parliamentary wing - are usually as diverse as the merged party's membership.

This year will be no different, with everything from crocodile culls and shark nets to equal pay, cycling laws, the Facebook privacy breach, immigration, freedom of religion, energy policy and the ABC to be up for ­debate when the convention is held in Brisbane next weekend.

This is because - like most political party conferences - the LNP's state convention is not just designed to give the party's political leaders Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk a chance to rally the troops, it is also an opportunity for the membership to be heard as well.

Often what they want to say can prove uncomfortable for the elected representatives in the room.

Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington will rally the troops at the party’s annual State Convention. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington will rally the troops at the party’s annual State Convention. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

This played out publicly this month in Sydney when the Liberal Party's annual federal council voted to privatise the ABC, causing a ­political headache for the Turnbull Government.

And there are landmines on the agenda next weekend.

For Deb Frecklington, they include resolutions not just on energy policy and the public service but also resolutions relating to two very emotive issues on the Queensland political agenda right now, abortion and euthanasia.

Labor is pushing ahead with its plan to introduce laws to decriminalise abortion in Queensland by the end of the year.

The LNP parliamentary wing will need to decide if it wants a conscience vote on the abortion legislation.

There are a variety of views held by the party's MPs on this issue.

As yet no decision has been made. Ms Frecklington has said she wants to see what Labor is proposing first.

One branch would like the ability to decide if such a conscience vote should be taken away from the LNP's parliamentary wing altogether.

The Toowoomba North State Electorate Council has put on the agenda a resolution calling on LNP MPs to vote according to party policy "except in the event where the party specifically grants a conscience vote".

It has also listed a resolution calling for the convention to "reaffirm its commitment to the existing and long-standing party policy and reject any future attempts to change existing abortion legislation in Queensland".

Those resolutions are designed to send a clear signal to the party's MPs that at least one section of the party's membership wants to ensure they vote en bloc against Labor's abortion law changes.

Labor has already committed to a conscience vote with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reconfirming that position this month.

MPs in Labor's Caucus also hold different views on abortion ­decriminalisation.

But it, too, is facing a push for that vote to be binding with the Labor for Choice group flagging this year that it wants the ALP's national conference to remove the guarantee of a conscience vote on the issue.

The LNP's policy standing committee and the Toowoomba North SEC have also listed a resolution calling for the LNP to recommit itself to the belief that life is valuable and to oppose "any form of euthanasia or assisted dying legislation while supporting quality palliative care".

This issue may not prove a headache for LNP MPs just yet, however, with no firm commitment from Labor that it will push for assisted dying laws before the next election.