Kempton claims union sabotage in election loss

Thursday February 5 2015, 10:05am

Former LNP member for Cook David Kempton has taken to social media to make explosive allegations after losing the seat to the ALP's Billy Gordon. 

In a Facebook post titled 'LIES AND DECEIT IN COOK", Mr Kempton alleges that 'union organisers' ran a concerted scare campaign across Cook, particularly targeting Indigenous communities in Cape York. 

Mr Kempton also warns the various projects he pledged to support as Member for Cook are now in jeopardy, including the Port Douglas water supply upgrades and waterfront development project. 

The post has since been removed from the official David Kempton MP Facebook page but has been sent to media as an open letter, and is reproduced below in its entirety:


I wish to thank all those people in my electorate who placed their trust and faith in me for nearly 3 years and I am honoured to have represented you.

Over the past 2 days I have received outpourings of grief and bewilderment at the outcome of Saturday’s election.

I write this not as  sour grapes as I will move on but by way of explanation to all those right thinking people in Cook who deserve something better than what they got.

Despite a huge union presence at the booths, the Campbell Newman factor and the asset leasing I defied the odds and held onto the primary vote in the Shires of Mareeba, Douglas and Cook.

I accept full responsibility for my Governments failure to bring the State with it in the process of  change.

At Mareeba on Saturday there were virtually no Labor supporters handing out. The booths were manned by people who were not locals but union organisers from Cairns, Melbourne and beyond running a scare campaign about the LNP selling schools and hospitals and intimidating people to the point some had to be reported to the returning officer. The second factor was Katter. He runs young inexperienced candidates who are decent people but have no chance of getting elected. Voters need to understand that a vote for Katter is a vote for Labor as that is how the preferences flow.

I would have held the seat and the LNP may have held government despite these factors except for a decimation of the indigenous vote.

At the last election I gained about 30% of the indigenous vote across the board which was one of the strongest conservative outcomes for generations.

Warren Entsch held his own against Billie Gordon in the Federal election so Gordon being an indigenous man was not the reason.

Last Saturday I did well if I got 10% of the vote which was astounding in view of all the economic opportunity I had brought in over the past 3 years for indigenous people.

It has emerged and was confirmed by the Labor candidates' comments to a reporter that he did not campaign at all in the communities as “his team was onto it" 

His " team" consisted of union people such as nurses, teachers and Ergon workers all paid government employees who for weeks have had a concerted campaign of despicable lies to scare indigenous voters. 

Things like "LNP will take your welfare benefit off you, cut your power, close the hospital, sell the school, take your job and cut your pay.”

The irony of this is these people are the very "fly in fly outs” who are taking up jobs in communities where indigenous people could be working, all very scary to people who are dependent on welfare. All intentional lies and against the electoral laws.

This loss was across the board except in Aurukun and Kowanyama where I was able to talk to the people just before the election. So what happens now?

All the major projects I have worked so hard for are now unlikely to happen. Mareeba airport, Mareeba sewerage treatment plant, Kuranda range upgrade, sports precinct, bike track , lap stacker for hospital, Lockhart airstrip , power north of Daintree, Port Douglas water supply and waterfront to name a few. Tree clearing permits will be revoked and market choice will be denied to cane growers and so the list goes on.

Mareeba ,Port Douglas and Mossman will have a local member who will be a puppet to the Labor Government which will in turn be driven by faceless unions. I see all the lights we lit over the past 3 years fading already.

I can't help but feel responsible but do not know how I might have stemmed this tide of lies and intimidation. I am truly grateful to my team and all the people of Cape York who saw through the lies and smear spread by the Labor candidate and his union mates last Saturday, I thank you all and will do everything I can to support you all in the future 

Sincerely David Kempton