I contested my first Queensland State Election in June 1998, as an Independent with a background of involvement with both the National and Liberal Parties.
The 1998 election came down to the wire and took over a week to be decided. As a newly elected Member of Parliament with a background in conservative politics I had to face one of the toughest decisions of my life. Did I support the formation of a Government made up of 23 National, 11 One Nation Party, 9 Liberal and 2 Independents, (being Liz Cunningham and myself), or did I choose to offer limited support to enable Peter Beattie to form Government.
There were certainly mixed feelings throughout the community and even Members of political parties expressed uncertainty about a minority government made up of 3 minority parties and 2 Independents.
There was no iron clad agreement between the Nationals and One Nation and the former Premier Rob Borbidge indicated that he was prepared to take the decision to the floor of Parliament in the hope that he would gain the numbers in a confidence vote.
The Courier Mail quoted former National Party Member Bill Gunn as stating ?You wouldn?t get any legislation through ? the Parliament would be a dud.? (Source Courier Mail 18 June 1998 authors John Lehmann and Peter Morley)
Before making this decision I met with the Leaders of the National Party, Liberal Party and Labor Party. I also consulted with a number of friends and associates and did plenty of soul searching.
When asked about how he thought I would vote, my former Council Colleague, Geoff Littler, is quoted as saying, ? My experience is that he is Liberal by persuasion???but he has made a public statement that he wants to see stability and not see Queenslanders go back to the polls.? (Source Courier Mail 19 June 1998 author Glenys Green)
This pretty much sums up why I decided to support Peter Beattie?s 44 Members in forming Government.
I made it very clear to Mr Beattie that he was not getting my unconditional support. He would have my support on confidence motions and the budget only.
The attached link will take you to the letters we exchanged when the decision was reached.
As it turned out the Beattie Government only needed my support for a period of less than six months, as the resignation of the One Nation Member for Mulgrave resulted in a by-election that was won by Labor.
The rest as they say is history, with the Queensland voters deciding who they wanted to run the state.
The 2001 State Election, resulted in the Beattie Government winning 66 out of the 89 seats, the National Party 12 seats, the Liberal Party 3 seats, One Nation 3 seats and the Independents won 5.
Shortly afterwards, the National Party leader, Rob Borbidge, resigned from Parliament and his seat was lost to another Independent.
At the 2004 State election, Beattie Labor was returned for a third term with 63 seats, Nationals 15, Liberal 5, One Nation 1 and Independents 5.
The 2006 saw the Beattie Labor vote drop to 59, Nationals 17, Liberal 8, One Nation 1 and Independents 4.
The election held in 2009 saw Labor under the leadership of Anna Bligh win 51 seats the newly formed LNP win 34 and the Independents remain at 4.
The 2012 election saw Queensland voting for change and a massive swing to the LNP. Despite a massive spending spree by the LNP Electoral Return LNP Candidate I was returned as the Independent Member for Nicklin My Expenditure. http://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/2334/Wellington,-Peter.pdf http://www.ecq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/2478/Connolly,-John.pdf
I believe my voting record speaks for itself and invite you to take the time to see for yourself how I have voted throughout my term in Parliament.
As at 1 March 2017, I have voted with LNP 917 times with Labor 694 times