LNP officials say the UQ politics student Downing withdrew for health reasons, although would not elaborate on the nature of his condition. Preselection interruptus is certainly doing the rounds in Queensland conservative circles.
Local party insiders though say the twenty-one year old was â€œtold to resignâ€ and that he is actually in perfectly good health.
With a federal election expected to be called within weeks, the LNP does not currently have a candidate in Oxley.
The young lad has been out campaigning and had set a cracking pace according to local party members.
The incident confirms concerns that Liberals outside of Queensland have expressed about the LNPâ€™s vetting procedures and internal governance. A Queensland federal MP told VEXNEWS:
â€œThey have brought the ethics and competence of the Queensland National Party into the heart of the Liberal party. Mal Broughâ€™s worries about what would happen after the merger are vindicated. If the LNP polls badly in Queensland despite Labor assassinating its own Queensland born PM then thereâ€™ll be a good case to revisit and undo the forced merger, I think many federal Liberals will insist on it.â€