February 18, 2005 | Graham

Lawrence get your shotgun?

Budding match-maker Lawrence Springborg has been trying to force a shot-gun wedding on his shy bride, the Queensland Libs. I had always assumed he was the groom, or at least had an enduring power of attorney on the groom’s behalf. An opinion piece in today’s Courier Mail by Scott Driscoll, National Party Life Member, former National Party Campaign Director (and former three-time Liberal Party candidate as well), suggests that if he ever tries to say “I do” he may only be speaking for himself.
Driscoll says:

The parliamentary leader of the National Party must shelve his well-meaning and academically appealing idea of one conservative party and get back to being leader of the Nationals and Queensland Opposition Leader, accepting that such a proposition was never really on.

People like Driscoll generally have an agenda when they put pieces like this into the press. He’s not a professional journalist but a player in National Party politics. He wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t significant support for him in the National Party.
All this makes the National’s State Conference the weekend after next very interesting. Word is that Terry Bolger (who all along appeared lukewarm on the Pineapple Party proposal) is retiring. His replacement could make or break Springborg’s proposition, particularly if that person is more publicly opposed than Bolger was.
Springborg has turned down a number of opportunities to back down from his proposal. Twice he’s been rebuffed by John Howard, and Bob Quinn has probably lost count of the number of times he’s told him to take the diamond ring back to the jewellers.
At the moment he is advertising for candidates in Brisbane and Gold Coast seats. This is the “run it or wreck it” gambit. He threatened the Liberals that if they didn’t marry his party, then he would ruin it for both of them by running candidates against the Liberals in every seat. Under Queensland’s optional preferential system that could mean the erstwhile coalition parties would fail to win any seats, and might even lose one or two. It’s actually more a double suicide than a shotgun wedding. What’s more, it’s convinced the Libs that Springborg may be worse than reckless, he may, as they politely put it, have “lost the plot”!
This leaves the Nationals in a difficult position. Springborg is taking them nowhere, but without him, they appear to have nowhere to go. Alternative leader Jeff Seeney is not popular in the city, and there is no-one else, apart from a few clydesdales, like Mike Horan, and they have already hauled the cart a few too many yards.
Their choice of president will be an indicator of what they are likely to do. One of the contenders is rumoured to be Graham Heilbronn. He is also a high profile backer of the Pineapple Party, so that would commit them irrevocably to the marriage, although it wouldn’t disarm Springborg.
When I joined the Liberal Party it seemed like Labor would never ever be in power again in Queensland. Now it’s hard to think of when they might lose it!

Posted by Graham at 3:36 pm | Comments Off on Lawrence get your shotgun? |
Filed under: Australian Politics

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