NICKLIN MP Peter Wellington says a smear campaign against him made the lead-up to Saturday's state election the most difficult of his 18-year political career.
As he finally enjoyed the chance to step off the election treadmill yesterday, the popular independent MP admitted he had been hurt by some of the claims levelled at him.
But what hurt most was knowing that some of the "lies" were being spread by people he once considered friends.
Throughout the campaign, the former shire councillor and National Party member was portrayed as a lame duck independent and a traitor for allowing the ALP to form government when he was first elected as an independent.
"This has been the most difficult, not so much the political campaign, but the whispering campaign," he said at his Belli Park home yesterday.
"The LNP ran against me with gutter tactics, gutter politics - but it's more reflective of the people who organise their campaigns.
"The disappointing thing was the whispering campaigns gather momentum. Some believe the rubbish out there.
"What was disappointing to me was, in Nambour, some of the business people that I have worked so hard with over the years to support, to find out some of them are the promoters of the whispering campaigns against me.
"I was just amazed.
"These are the people I have worked so hard for ... and here they are promoting ridiculous claims.
"It reflects more on them. Now I really know more about how they operate."
In previous years, Mr Wellington has been the first Coast MP elected, but at one stage on Saturday afternoon he was bracing himself for defeat, saying the mood of voters he encountered had been far less friendly than in previous years.
He and the LNP's John Connolly were neck and neck for several hours after counting began, before Mr Wellington edged ahead.
Latest figures yesterday showed him with 40.28% of the vote and Mr Connolly with 35.85%.
Mr Wellington said he planned to act quickly on one of the slurs against him - that "no one can work with Peter Wellington" - and would organise a meeting with Premier Campbell Newman to ensure their working relationship.
He also planned to put forward a proposal for legislation covering "truth in campaigning".
"One of the very clear messages that came to me was some of the campaigning and brochures circulated were not true and deliberate lies and I'm keen to see how we can further refine how campaigning happens, put more pressure on political parties to tell the truth," he said.
"We need to make sure politicians are not able to get away with lying in the lead-up to elections.
"There's no doubt that boundaries have been pushed to the extreme limit by many candidates and we need to say 'enough is enough'."
In the wake of the news Anna Bligh would quit politics, Mr Wellington questioned the balance of power with just seven Labor MPs in parliament.
"One of the cornerstones of the government is the capacity for opposition and independents to be involved. We'll have to see if they're going to abuse that," he said.
"It's going to be an interesting parliament with such a majority. Who is going to be the opposition? You haven't even got a football team. There may be a coming together. It will be interesting.
"I'm looking forward to returning to parliament."
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