John Howard was second former Prime Minister to visit the Sunshine Coast today. Earlier in the day Kevin Rudd attended the Kawana State School at the invitation of LNP Member for Fisher.
John Howard was on the Sunshine Coast to lend his support to the campaign launch of John Connolly for the State seat of Nicklin, currently held by independent Peter Wellington.
Mr Howard stated, “I’m here today to support John Connolly, that’s why I am here, so he can become part of Campbell Newman’s team in government. He’s an old friend, he’s a great Australian football figure, a wonderful coach, of a great team. To be a successful Rugby coach, indeed to be a successful coach in any code of football, you need to understand people and get them to work in a cooperative way and as part of a team. I have found in my long political career that’s a pretty good recipe for political success. You’ve got to get people working together. He’s got a lot of life skills that will be very useful in politics and I admire his guts in tackling this seat.”
The coincidence or otherwise of the two functions occurring within hours of each other was certainly fertile ground for conjecture and speculation regarding party unity.
When asked for his comment on the appropriateness or otherwise of LNP Member Fisher inviting the former ALP Prime Minister to the day’s earlier function, John Howard left little to the imagination as to his thoughts on the matter.
He said, “It’s a free country you can invite whoever you like. I’m here with the LNP, I’m here with the Liberal Party, that’s what I am doing.”
However, the attendees at the John Connolly campaign launch, which also included Campbell Newman and Mal Brough were adamant that the day was about generating support for John Connolly and presenting a strong team for the upcoming State election.
Candidate John Connolly was thrilled to have the support of John Howard at the launch. He said, “John is one of Australia’s greatest Prime Ministers and it’s a pleasure for him to come here. When I asked him, John didn’t hesitate and all of Nambour are thrilled by it. The excitement in the town around he and Campbell coming has been phenomenal.”