Mal Brough will not contest the next federal election.
Mal Brough will not contest the next federal election.

Fisher MP Mal Brough will not contest the next election

MP Mal Brough has announced he will not stand for the seat of Fisher at the next federal election. 

"I thank the people of Fisher for their support at the last election and the trust they placed in me to be their voice in Canberra," he said in a statement this morning. 

"It has been a privilege and honour to represent this generous community.

"I would also like to thank the Fisher LNP membership for their continued support, encouragement and trust."

The abrupt end to Mal Brough's political career is expected to spark a pitched battle for LNP pre-selection for the now vacant seat of Fisher.

Party insiders say today's surprise move indicates an early federal election is on the cards.

A State Executive meeting in Brisbane today was to have decided whether it would ratify the unanimous endorsement Mr Brough had already received by Fisher branch members.

His announcement pre-empted a decision that was likely to have either forced him out of politics or to run for the seat as an independent.

While Mr Brough's retirement has caught many by surprise, the Member for Fisher had been considering his future for some time.

State Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie and barrister Andrew Wallace are likely to be early candidates but Mr Brough has thrown his weight and support base behind Chevallum businesswoman Roz White, who is the owner of three IGA supermarkets and is a member of the LNP's Sunshine Coast Business branch.

It was clear that Mr Brough had lost the support of the State Executive of the LNP. It is understood that he has received no contact from any of its membership ahead of the Brisbane meeting that was to decide his fate.

Mr Brough was forced to stand aside in late December as Special Minister of State and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science because of the lingering Australian Federal Police investigation into his alleged involvement in the Ashbygate Affair which disgraced former Fisher MP Peter Slipper.

His Alexandra Headland home was the subject of an AFP raid in mid November seeking evidence in relation to allegations he had procured James Ashby to secure notes from former Speaker Peter Slipper's diary. At the time Ashby was a public servant employed in Mr Slipper's office.

Endorsed Labor Fisher candidate Bill Gissane said the electorate now had the opportunity to put two failed candidates behind it and to make a fresh start and to get some genuine representation.

"For too long the needs of the people of Fisher have come second to the antics of the representatives,'' he said.

"Whoever the LNP puts up will not have the experience I've garnered in two campaigns or the intimate knowledge I have of the problems, obstacles and needs of the people of Fisher."

Prior to Mr Brough's announcement his future as the LNP's endorsed candidate was to have been decided by today's LNP State Executive meeting whose recommendations would have then come before the party's State Council tomorrow.

After standing aside in December Mr Brough requested a $108,000 pay cut because he was not doing ministerial duties.

Then on February 13, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a new Cabinet filling the positions Mr Brough had previously occupied before standing aside for what originally was meant to be the duration of the AFP investigation.


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