LNP member suspended over far-right claims

 

THE Liberal National Party has suspended prominent member David Goodwin following allegations of branch stacking raised by far-right extremist Neil Erickson.

"The LNP takes any allegation of branch-stacking and abuse of process extremely seriously," a party spokesman said.

"Following media reports today that included allegations that a member of the LNP has engaged in this type of behaviour the Party has this afternoon moved to suspend that person's membership.

"This matter has now been referred to the Party's Disputes Committee for investigation."

Earlier, it was reported Erikson had made extraordinary claims of an attempt to take over Queensland's LNP.

In a damning 11-minute video posted to his website, Mr Erikson - a founding member of the extremist United Patriots Front - accuses high-profile Queensland conservative David Goodwin of being behind the push to recruit members from the far right into the LNP in order to take control over the party.

The allegations stem from a meeting attended by Erikson on the Gold Coast last year at which Mr Goodwin was a guest speaker.

Mr Erikson claims in his video: "This meeting in Queensland was about gaining more members to the LNP, trying to get safe seats and trying to stack them with new members."

Mr Goodwin has strenuously denied the allegations. He described Mr Erikson's claims as appalling.

A screen grab from the YouTube video of far-right figure Neil Erikson accusing high-profile Queensland conservative David Goodwin of being behind the push to recruit members from the far right into the LNP in order to take control over the party.
A screen grab from the YouTube video of far-right figure Neil Erikson accusing high-profile Queensland conservative David Goodwin of being behind the push to recruit members from the far right into the LNP in order to take control over the party.


He said he did not organise the meeting and was not aware Mr Erikson would be attending.

"Neil is a dangerous attention seeker and he is talking rubbish," Mr Goodwin said.

"Nobody in the LNP invited him there."

Mr Goodwin also denied attempting to recruit him "nor would I ever".

"The last thing Australia needs is atheistic nationalists and Neil Erikson typifies what I mean by that."

Mr Goodwin said has never met Mr Erikson before and spoke to him for less than five minutes on the night.

He said he was disgusted by the details of Mr Erikson's actions that led to his religious vilification conviction.

Mr Erikson claims: "I even address the crowd over my recent conviction for religious vilification and the Liberal guy who was there, his name is David Goodwin, he was the guy that was there and basically said this is the exact reason why we need to get more members in the Liberal Party so we can pick the safe seats, we can out vote the other faction in the Liberal Party ...and we can branch stack the Liberal party and basically the two factions can kind of, um, one faction can take over the other.

"He said this is the perfect reason why we need to start branch stacking the Liberal party so people like me particularly don't get arrested for religious vilification."

Far-right wing activist Neil Erikson (yellow shirt). Picture: AAP Image/David Crosling
Far-right wing activist Neil Erikson (yellow shirt). Picture: AAP Image/David Crosling

He posted his plane tickets to the Gold Coast on his website along with an email sent on May 21 last year about the meeting and the attendance at it by Mr Goodwin and Victorian conservative Elliot Watson.

Mr Erikson said he was releasing the information to show the Liberal party were "not as clean as they claim."

The video has horrified senior members of the LNP who said the party has been attempting to stamp out the far-right branch stacking that has plagued its southern counterparts.

Mr Goodwin - a former senate candidate and Young Nationals president - has been suspended by the party previously for criticising former PM Malcolm Turnbull.

Fraser Anning candidate and fellow far-right figure Scott Moerland posted his own video making claims the meeting was to recruit far-right members into the LNP, without specifically mentioning Mr Goodwin.

He alleged in his own video that the host of the Gold Coast meeting claimed they were successful of taking back control if the party from the left in Victoria and changing the rules so new members did not have to wait 12 months to vote in preselections.

"They all knew who Erikson was because Erikson even addressed this Liberal crowd concerning his conviction for inciting religious vilifications against Muslims and the Liberal host actually replied and said this is why it is important that we all join up now to the Liberal Party so we can stop what happened to Neil Erikson from happening again," Mr Moerland said.

"I didn't do it because basically I wasn't interested."

A spokesman for the LNP said the Gold Coast meeting was not an official LNP function.



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