Turnbull and Macfarlane bury hatchet with warm embrace
FORMER Groom MP Ian Macfarlane assured there was no bad blood between himself and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The pair, whose friendship was tested in December 2015 after Mr Macfarlane's decision to try and join the Nationals, enjoyed a warm embrace during the Prime Minister's visit to Toowoomba yesterday.
Mr Macfarlane, now the chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council as well as a board member on Woodside Petroleum, was there to welcome Mr Turnbull at the building site of the Second Range Crossing in the morning, and later re-affirmed his friendship with him was strong.
"There's never been any animosity between Malcolm and I - we speak regularly and we've exchanged texts from time to time," he said.
"We have a difference of opinion from time to time, but it's never personal."
The reception paints a different picture to the frosty climate created after the Prime Minister rejected a dinner offer in Toowoomba just a day after Mr Macfarlane announced he would try and switch sides.
The defection was just two months after Mr Macfarlane was dumped from the Federal cabinet by the newly-elected Mr Turnbull.
A Liberal Prime Minister never visited Groom while Mr Macfarlane was MP. John Howard was the last conservative PM to visit - in 1998. Julia Gillard visited twice in 2011.
Mr Turnbull praised his long-time friend for his advocacy of Toowoomba.
"I want to say what a great citizen and advocate he has been and always will be for this wonderful city."