Llew O’Brien has sensationally quit the National Party.
Llew O’Brien has sensationally quit the National Party.

O’Brien sensationally quits National Party

FORMER cop-turned Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien last night sensationally quit the Nationals in the wake of last week's leadership spill that has cleaved the party in two.

Mr O'Brien, who had a shouting match with leader Michael McCormack on Sunday for making excuses over his failure to heal division, advised Scott Morrison of his decision last night.

It comes as new Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud proposed topping up wages of low-paid regional workers with the dole, while Senator Matt Canavan likened renewable energy to "dole bludgers".

It is understood Mr Morrison has granted the right for Mr O'Brien to stay in the LNP, however he will not sit in National or Liberal partyrooms.

He will still give the Government supply.

Llew O’Brien has sensationally quit the National Party.
Llew O’Brien has sensationally quit the National Party.

Mr O'Brien, who had threatened to sit on the crossbench on Sunday, is fed-up with a number of issues, including a looming explosive matter allegedly involving Nationals' use of travel entitlements and taxpayer money.

It means the Government keeps its two-seat majority, however, Mr O'Brien will likely cross the floor on a number of bills, including Attorney-General Christian Porter's national anti-corruption commission.

Mr O'Brien is believed to want the commission to have more teeth to fight corruption.

Contentious Government legislation may no longer have the numbers needed in the House of Representatives, signalling the Government may now be forced to negotiate with Mr O'Brien and other unhappy Nationals, who side with him on key issues.

Nationals Member for Dawson George Christensen and Nationals member for New England Barnaby Joyce. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas
Nationals Member for Dawson George Christensen and Nationals member for New England Barnaby Joyce. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas

It is understood Barnaby Joyce, who Mr O'Brien voted for in last week's spill, tried to talk his colleague out of his decision to quit the Nationals.

Mr O'Brien's decision will likely embolden Mr Joyce and others further.

While Dawson MP George Christensen has a good relationship with Mr Morrison, he is also close to Mr O'Brien, Mr Joyce and Senator Matt Canavan.

Senator Canavan is in the Upper House and he does not have a vote in the House of Representatives.

It is likely Mr O'Brien will meet Mr Morrison to have talks later this week. Today, Mr Morrison will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and then faces having to deal with a divided junior Coalition partner.


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