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Brandis flags LNP de-merger in Queensland

AAP logoAAP 21/11/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has caused a political headache for his colleagues in Queensland, suggesting the state's merged Liberal National Party should split.

Senator Brandis expressed his alarming opinion while speaking with Victorian Liberal party president Michael Kroger at a state council meeting in Ballarat on Sunday, unaware the podium microphone was recording the conversation

"I'd say the state opposition is very, very mediocre - and the state government is very, very mediocre," Senator Brandis said.

The LNP's Queensland president, Gary Spence, quickly reacted by denouncing the comments from the Queensland-based senator and insisting the state opposition was a "united and effective team".

The Queensland Labor government is moving to reinstate compulsory preferential voting, which Senator Brandis said would undermine the original intent of bringing the two parties together to form the LNP in 2008.

"(It) somewhat attacks the raison d'etre of the merger of the Liberal party and the National party," he said.

"I think there might be a revising of things as a result of compulsory preferential voting."

However, the attorney-general said the most concerning development was the sudden spike in support for One Nation, which he estimated at 16 per cent statewide.

"I think there is every reason to believe they will win quite a few seats at the state election," he told Mr Kroger.

LNP leader Tim Nicholls also responded late on Monday, claiming his party was the only option voters had to topple Labor in Queensland.

"There's only one way Queenslanders can get rid of a bad Labor government and that's to vote LNP at the next state election," Mr Nicholls said in a statement

Labor was quick to jump on Mr Brandis's gaffe, with Brisbane-based shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers saying it was another embarrassing blunder by the attorney-general.

"Being called mediocre by George Brandis is like being called arrogant and out of touch by Malcolm Turnbull," Mr Chalmers said.

"He hardly ever gets anything right, but in this case he's not wrong about Tim Nicholls and the state LNP."

Queensland federal Liberal MP Jane Prentice said Senator Brandis' comments were "very harsh" and the state opposition had been doing a good job.

"You might want to interview them and see what they think of his (Senator Brandis') performance," she told ABC Brisbane radio.

Ms Prentice said it was a shame a private comment had been made public but described it as a "boy thing".

"I rarely see women being indiscreet."

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