|Member of the Queensland Parliament for Burnett|
7 February 2004 – 24 March 2012
|Preceded by||Trevor Strong|
|Succeeded by||Stephen Bennett|
Palmer United (2013–2014)
Robert Desmond Messenger (born 26 October 1962) is an Australian politician. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland representing the Electoral district of Burnett. Originally a member of the Queensland branch of the National Party of Australia, he became a member of the Liberal National Party of Queensland when that party was formed from the union of the Queensland branches of the National Party and the Liberal Party in 2008. He resigned from the LNP in 2010 and became an Independent. He lost his seat to the LNP at the 2012 election. Since then he has been involved in the Palmer United Party and was an adviser to Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie.
Messenger, who had worked as an electrician both in the RAAF and through his own small business was chosen by the National Party to re-take the traditional safe seat of Burnett in the 2004 Queensland election. Burnett had been lost to the ALP in the 2001 Queensland state election. Messenger succeeded in winning Burnett from the Labor candidate Trevor Strong, managing a swing of 4.3 per cent.
He was re-elected in 2006 with an additional swing of 4.7 per cent.
Bundaberg Hospital Scandal
In 2005 Messenger was approached by Toni Hoffman, an experienced surgical nurse, distressed about one of the surgeons at the Bundaberg Base Hospital where she worked. She had previously consulted with hospital management with no success.
As a result of a long discussion with Hoffman, he named Jayant Patel under Parliamentary privilege. Messenger first raised the matter in Parliament on March 22, 2005, for the protection of patients at the Bundaberg Base Hospital intensive care unit and the wellbeing of the medical staff.
Patel's activities subsequently came into the public arena and he eventually became the central figure in the "Dr. Death" scandal which resulted in a Commission of Inquiry.
On 8 February 2007 Messenger was censured by the Queensland Parliament for a sarcastic comment made to the Premier over the scandal.
Resignation from LNP to sit as an independent
In May 2010, Messenger and Beaudesert MP Aidan McLindon resigned from the LNP to sit as Independents, claiming that the party had become victim to "flawed political process". Shortly afterwards it was revealed Messenger and McLindon were under party scrutiny, with Messenger's travel claims raising some concerns. Messenger denied that he had done anything wrong and called upon the LNP president Bruce McIvor to resign.
In June 2011, Messenger indicated interest in joining the newly formed Katter's Australian Party if his policy demands were met, including a ban on Sharia law in Australia, and an increase in military numbers.
Messenger lost his seat at the 2012 state election to his former party.
In May 2013, Messenger joined the Palmer United Party (then called the United Australia Party) and was announced as its first federal candidate, contesting the seat of Hinkler. He won 17.65% of the vote, coming third behind the LNP and Labor candidates. In April 2014 he was appointed chief of staff to incoming Palmer United senator Jacqui Lambie of Tasmania. Following tensions between Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie, he was expelled from the party in November 2014.
- http://www.abc.net.au/elections/qld/2004/background/burn.htm 2004 Burnett Electoral Results | ABC News
- http://www.abc.net.au/elections/qld/2006/guide/burn.htm 2006 Electoral Results | ABC News
- Nationals MP censured for apology to prostitutes. 08/02/2007. ABC News Online
- Bourke, Lakita (13 November 2014). "Jacqui Lambie's chief of staff Rob Messenger expelled by Palmer over 'misleading statement'". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 13 November 2014.