In 2012, Campbell Newman chose MP for Gympie, David Gibson as his Police Minister. However, two weeks into the job he resigned.
Gibson had been caught speeding and driving without a licence on February 16, 2012. A non payment of a fine for a prior speeding infringement in May 2011 had led to his licence being suspended. Over the following four months, five letters were sent to his home reminding him to pay.
Gibson claimed he was unaware of his licence being suspended. However, after a late night meeting with Premier Campbell Newman, he announced his resignation the following day and retired to the backbench.
Eight months later, Newman handed Gibson the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.
Following that, in 2013, Newman appointed Gibson Chair of Select Committee investigating the Levy Affair into the actions of the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC) and their response to a report into Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) boss, Dr Ken Levy.
However, trouble was brewing for Gibson.
Before entering parliament in 1999, Gibson faced allegations of theft of $7335 when he was an army lieutenant. The outcome was no conviction recorded and he received a 12-month good behaviour bond.
Having become common knowledge, his Gympie branch lobbied the LNP hierarchy in July 2013 at the LNP state conference to tighten the vetting process for candidates.
In contradiction, Campbell Newman, refusing to front the Queensland media, issued a statement declaring he first heard of the allegations on April 2, 2014. He referred the matter to the clerk of Queensland Parliament but there were no grounds preventing Gibson performing his duties as a MP.
Yet, Gibson did the ethical thing and quit the Select Ethics Chair citing political blackmail.
This was a 100 per cent LNP self-inflicted dilemma.
A former friend and now political rival in Gympie, Scott Elms, declared his intention to challenge Gibson for the seat. He told the media it was in the public interest to know of Gibson’s past and claimed freedom of speech for allowing Gibson’s past to become public.
Elms had recently been ejected from the LNP for “breaking party protocol” and had published Gibson’s record against Qld’s statute of limitations.
— Shane Doherty (@ShaneDoherty9) April 23, 2014
According to LNP doctrine, all MPs needed to submit an application to hierarchy for pre-selection ahead of the next election. After two second chances, ABC News Qld’s Chris O’Brien reported that Gibson now faced an uphill battle.
However, Gibson told The Gympie Times that he was glad the issues of his past were now out in the open. He believed the threat hanging over him was related to a property development at Rainbow Beach that he and the Qld Government refused to fast track.
Having both his parents afflicted by hearing impairment, Gibson has been the LNP’s strongest supporter of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). With this background, it is a shame he was never considered for the portfolio of Disability Minister.
As Chris O’Brien points out, it may now be up to the voters to decide Gibson’s fate.
David Gibson has held the seat of Gympie since 2006 and holds the conservative seat by 68.2 per cent after preferences. His nearest rival in 2012 was KAP with 31.8 per cent of the vote.
***In an earlier version of this story, it was suggested that David Gibson took over Chair of Ethics from Redlands LNP MP Peter Dowling following the sexting scandal. This was not accurate. Gibson was given a special, Select Ethics Chair to investigate the Levy Affair.***
Update 1: (May 2, 2014) David Gibson announces retirement from politics, May 2nd, 2014
Citing a nervous breakdown, David Gibson announced his retirement from politics late on Friday. Currently seeking psychological support, Gibson will not contest the next election in 2015.
Update 2: (May 6, 2014) David Gibson rival & fmr LNP member Scott Elms referred to Ethics Committee
Queensland’s Parliamentary Ethics committee will investigate Scott Elms, the political rival to David Gibson.
Campbell Newman wrote to Qld Speaker Fiona Simpson with allegations of intimidation of the MP for Gympie. Speaker Simpson referred the matter on to the Ethics committee.
The committee contains three government members, two opposition members and one independent.