Hopper explains defection to people of Condamine

SWAPPED: Member for Condamine Ray Hopper with Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek at a visit to Dalby State High School's Bunya Campus earlier this year. Photo: Gen Kennedy / Dalby Herald
SWAPPED: Member for Condamine Ray Hopper with Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek at a visit to Dalby State High School's Bunya Campus earlier this year. Photo: Gen Kennedy / Dalby Herald

"IT'S not my fault - the LNP haven't kept their promises."

Member for Condamine Ray Hopper said his defection on Saturday was to serve his electorate the best way he could.

Speaking with the Herald about changing parties for the second time, Mr Hopper said the 'national' had been taken out of the Liberal National Party.

"It's not the party I stood for at the election," Mr Hopper said.

"They've broken their promises. We've had eight months to put legislation in place to stop CSG getting out of control."

Mr Hopper said he felt he could have more influence in Katter's Australian Party, where he could put forward private members bills, than as a backbencher with his "mouth zipped".

He did not agree that his move was unfair to voters who voted for LNP policies.

"I think it's very fair - I was elected to represent the people of Condamine the best way I can.

"I am bound, you have to swear the oath, to serve your electorate to the best of your ability."

At the election, Mr Hopper received 57.5% of the vote.

A number of Condamine voters have been critical of Mr Hopper's defection, including Dalby resident Jon Russell.

"He was voted in by the people of the district to sit in the LNP. Then he decides eight months down the track he doesn't represent them," Mr Russell said.

"I find it really hard to understand. The ethical way of doing it would be to resign. The bloke's done it in 2001 as well."

On the Herald's Facebook, Hopper's move has been called "un-Australian".

Mr Hopper insisted that other members, particularly from rural areas, would follow his lead in the next 12 months.

He said parliament this week had been "hell on earth" after his defection.

"They've put me in an office downstairs, it's totally unprecedented," Mr Hopper said.

"It's an office open to public, with public access. There's one office behind the barbecue and squash courts, away from my other party members and LNP members.

"What are they so scared of?"

When asked why he had stayed with the party, if he had been subjected to threats and vitriol ahead of the election, Mr Hopper said he had the "imagination" that government would be different.

"Because I thought when we win government we can do something.

"I had no idea it would be the dictatorship that it has been."

Topics:  bob katter, kap, lnp, ray hopper



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