Qld MP defies ScoMo on ‘extreme’ Greens
LIBERAL National MP Warren Entsch has shunned Prime Minister Scott Morrison's warning that the Greens are an extreme party, handing them preferences as an olive branch to show he cares about the environment.
The Cairns-based Member for Leichhardt has urged his supporters to preference the Greens above Labor despite Mr Morrison's claim that this would equate to supporting their policies on death taxes and taking Queenslanders' jobs.
In an extraordinary rejection of the Prime Minister's position, Mr Entsch told The Courier-Mail those who described the Greens as crazy were wrong, and he wanted to appeal to their supporters.
"Not all of the people who support the Green Party are crazy," Mr Entsch told The Courier-Mail.
"Out of respect, I'm quite happy to offer them, if you like, an olive branch.
"I've got the bloody Reef and the rainforest here - two World Heritage areas - and I'm absolutely passionate about the environment."
Mr Entsch's how-to-vote cards direct supporters to place Greens candidate Gary Oliver fifth and Labor's Elida Faith sixth out of eight candidates.
He is the only sitting Liberal in the country to preference the Greens ahead of Labor.
Three Liberal candidates in South Australian seats of Spence, Adelaide and Sturt have also preferenced the Greens above Labor, but none of these are sitting MPs.
Mr Morrison has repeatedly accused Labor of supporting Greens policies by directing preferences to the minor party.
"I want to understand why the Labor Party is going to preference the Greens ahead of the Liberal Party, when the Greens are for death taxes and shutting down jobs in central Queensland and north Queensland," he said last week.
But Mr Entsch said he got about 20 per cent of preferences from Greens supporters at the last election and he wanted to "reach out" to them.
He described himself as an "environmentalist" and said he had won support among Greens voters over his advocacy for medicinal cannabis and gay rights.
The Greens have not returned the favour, directing their supporters to preference Labor above the LNP in Mr Entsch's seat of Leichhardt.
But Mr Oliver said: "I think Warren recognises that I will be a strong voice for our community on issues such as climate change, addressing economic inequality, and advocating better outcomes for the Indigenous community, and the powerless in our society."
Labor campaign spokesman Jim Chalmers accused Mr Entsch of "hypocrisy" after he attacked the ALP for giving preferences to the Greens in 2016.
An LNP campaign spokesman said: "Warren's asking people for their first preference and for people to vote for the LNP in Leichhardt."