FEDERAL FEUD: Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack forced a united front at the official opening of Sunshine Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Photo: Caitlin Zerafa
FEDERAL FEUD: Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack forced a united front at the official opening of Sunshine Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Photo: Caitlin Zerafa

Feuding MP's deny ‘falling out’ days after leadership spill

ANY animosity between "rebel" MP Llew O'Brien and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was shrugged off today as the two politicians forced a united front for the official opening of the new Sunshine Beach Surf Club.

The Federal Member for Wide Bay spectacularly quit the Nationals Party Room on Sunday night in the wake of last week's leadership spill, where he showed support for former National Party leader Barnaby Joyce before a surprise appointment to the deputy speaker of the lower house.

FEDERAL FEUD: Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack forced a united front at the official opening of Sunshine Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Photo: Caitlin Zerafa
FEDERAL FEUD: Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack forced a united front at the official opening of Sunshine Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Photo: Caitlin Zerafa

While it was all forced laughter and smiles in front of media, tension lingered between despite Mr O'Brien firm there was never any bad blood.

"There was never a falling out," Mr O'Brien said.

"I am a proud member of a Coalition Government and I support Michael McCormack as my Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development."

When asked if he trusted Mr O'Brien, Mr McCormack responded: "I do, absolutely".

Mr O'Brien defended his commitment to his role serving the people of Wide Bay through the LNP.

"I will always stand up for what I believe is right," he said.

"The party I'm in is the party I remain in and the people of Wide Bay will be served by a government member doing his best in that party."

FEDERAL FEUD: Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack forced a united front at the official opening of Sunshine Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Photo: Caitlin Zerafa
FEDERAL FEUD: Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack forced a united front at the official opening of Sunshine Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Photo: Caitlin Zerafa

Today's meeting also brought into question the current debate over eligibility of certain clubs and organisations after an audit revealed 43 per cent of funded projects were ineligible through the sports grant scheme.

While for the Building Better Regions grant, which footed $2.5m of the $5m Sunshine Beach Surf Club redevelopment was approved before the May 2018 election, it gave ammunition to question the current inquiry.

"This club absolutely deserved the funding it received," Mr McCormack said.

"This club is about saving lives and building communities."

"All the projects, the ANAO report have suggested … that were put to them … were indeed eligible."

"I appreciate too that the Senate inquiry had its first night … let's wait until the full Senate inquiry has had all its hearings, taken all its evidence."

"I know the sports grant was a good funding mechanism. I know that every one of the recipients will back themselves and say they deserved it, they earned it and they benefited from it."

"I make no apologies for this recipient, or to any other recipients."

"I will stand by these grants and I will stand by these programs and these projects because I know what a difference they make."


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