ROCKHAMPTON MP Robert Schwarten used a speech in the Queensland Parliament to deliver a withering attack on Yeppoon councillor Bill Ludwig who he dubbed "Cash Crop Bill".
In it he described the former Livingstone Shire mayor as an absolute hypocrite and inferred that Cr Ludwig had acquired a $2 million property through the proceeds of drug dealing.
It's the latest and potentially most damaging blow in a long-running feud and Cr Ludwig yesterday insisted there was no substance to the claim which can't be legally challenged because it was made with the protection of parliamentary privilege.
"Robert Schwarten has set a new benchmark for gutter politics from the place commonly known as the coward's castle," he said.
"There's no substance to any of what he's said. He's prepared to smear and slander anyone who stands up and speaks out against the Labor Party.
"I'm shocked that a state member would be prepared to sink so low."
The vicious mauling of Cr Ludwig's reputation came during a debate on water legislation.
Mr Schwarten was speaking about the Rockhampton to Yeppoon pipeline and praised his colleague, Keppel MP Paul Hoolihan for his tenacity in getting $20 million in government funding for the project:
"Of course, there was an advocate at the time, the mayor of the Livingstone council, a Bill Ludwig, who was pleased to take the $20 million. He was opposed to amalgamation, which found the $13 million that the council had to put it. Now I see in the paper the other day that they did not really want that; they wanted to get water from Waterpark Creek.
"The man is an absolute hypocrite - 100% hypocrite. I note that he has recently been hanging around Campbell Newman when he goes up there. He gets his photo on the front page of the paper standing there with Campbell Newman.
Let me say to Mr Newman and the LNP: take advice from that sign on the highway that says "approach with caution".
"That is the best advice that I could give anybody going near Councillor Ludwig. Cr Ludwig is something of a mystery. He came into town in the early 1980s with a guitar and in bare feet. He was playing music at the Strand Hotel and all of a sudden now he has a property worth a couple of million dollars.
"He claims he is a primary producer. He does not have enough cattle to make a decent stew. But what does that mean? He gets leverage on his rates. He pays them as a primary producer.
"Stories abound about how he got his money when he was in Billy the Mountain and was able to sell green leafy substances to people to make a profit - a cash crop, as they say. That is well known.
"So I say to anybody: be careful of Cash Crop Bill.
"He was a member of the Labor Party. He ratted on us. He will rat on the LNP as well. I suggest they keep a very long distance between him and themselves. If they are having to sup with him, get a giant spoon or, better still, get a No7 long-handled shovel."
Cr Ludwig was unaware of the attack until he was told of it yesterday by The Morning Bulletin.
He said he had worked very hard for decades as a promoter and had paid $42,000 for his property in 1987 when he built a family home that cost $70,000
"My wife and I are both shocked and I'm sure the community will be too."
- Former Mayor of Livingstone
- Former member of Labor Party
- Fierce opponent of amalgamation
- Campaigning to break up council to reinstate local government at Capricorn Coast.