After numerous threats to quit outspoken Cairns MP Rob Pyne has left Labor and created uncertainty for Queensland’s minority government.
Mr Pyne’s resignation from the party comes after he was vocal against the Labor government’s controversial lockout laws and means the government and opposition will both have 42 seats apiece in the state’s 89-seat parliament.
“This decision has been a long time coming,” Mr Pyne told Fairfax Media.
“I decided that I can’t serve two masters, I want to represent the entire Cairns community and I don’t feel I can do that if I am being muzzled or controlled by party machinery being run out of Brisbane.”
Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg said the move “shows the utter depth of internal frustration” with a government “frozen at the wheel”.
“Mr Pyne has acted on what the rest of Queensland has seen for the past year, a Labor government with no plan and no idea what it’s doing,” he said in a statement on Monday night.
Mr Pyne’s position in the government had been under a cloud at the start of the year after he resigned from the left faction and vowed to be a thorn in the side of his own government.
He had demanded his allegations of council corruption finally be taken seriously with an inquiry into local government.
Despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s assurances, Mr Pyne alluded he “might not be around much longer” in late January.
“If I can’t have some significant influence in delivering for the people of Cairns, in particular, I certainly would consider (quitting Labor),” he told News Corp.
He then backtracked after Treasurer Curtis Pitt reaffirmed a commitment to tackle high youth unemployment in Cairns.
More than a month later, he has resigned.