Grassroots members of the Liberal National Party (LNP) in Queensland have backed the former federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane’s defection from the Liberals to the Nationals.
Members of Mr Macfarlane’s local LNP branch, the Groom federal divisional council, expressed strong support for his decision with 102 voting in support and 35 against at a meeting in Toowoomba today.
It means he will now be able to sit in the Nationals party room in Canberra if it is passed through LNP executive on Monday.
Mr Macfarlane made headlines in early December when he announced his intention to join the National Party and admitted he was disappointed to be demoted from the frontbench when Malcolm Turnbull took office as Prime Minister.
However, the Member for Groom denied there was any rift with the newly-minted PM.
“I’m a huge fan of Malcolm’s, we’ve worked together for a very long time and no one was more delighted than me to see him become Prime Minister,” he said at the time.
“It’s actually a huge vote of confidence in Malcolm Turnbull, because the alternative was to leave Parliament.”
Queensland Liberal Attorney-General George Brandis had cautioned there could be upset that Mr Macfarlane did not reveal his planned defection when he was endorsed for the 2016 election.