March 21, 2005 | Graham

Queensland Liberals – history repeating

Here we go again. It’s like a familiar school ground dust-up. You know that whenever the Queensland Nationals throw a punch, the Queensland Libs are going to walk straight into it. This morning’s Courier Mail provides yet another example with a story that the Liberals are demanding to be the senior party in any future coalition, thus threatening the peace at a “summit” brokered by Prime Minister John Howard.
The Courier Mail story carries all the haulmarks of an ambush – it bears a relationship to the truth, but it’s not close and it does favour one side of the argument. It’s the sort of thing that happens when one side of a debate is actively briefing the media, and the other side isn’t.
Let’s start with the meeting. Yes, there is a meeting, but no, it’s not a summit – this is a meeting that Howard was badgered into, and as he made quite clear on Steve Austin’s 612 ABC programme, he has no intention of getting involved in brokering any sort of a deal.
Apparently Springborg, through John Anderson, has been pestering the Prime Minister for a meeting for the last six or so months to talk about his proposal for one conservative party.
Once Springborg had publicly abandoned his plans for the party as a result of being over-ruled by the National Party’s conference, Howard apparently felt it was safe to agree to a meeting, on a couple of conditions, one of which was that Bob Quinn was there. The meeting appears to have been envisaged as not much more than a chat.
Have the Queensland Liberals demanded to head the Coalition, even though they only have 5 seats to the Nationals 15? Again, the answer appears to be no. What they have said is that based on research, the people of Queensland are not going to accept a Coalition headed by the National Party as the government, and this presents a problem to them and the National Party.
The solution they propose is to have some sort of an alliance. Each party would have designated regions of the state in which they would run, and policy leadership in particular areas would be allocated to each party. They think a coalition is unviable.
I am told that the research was conducted by Sexton Marketing Group which is well regarded by the National Party, and chosen by the Libs for this reason. The results appear to be very discouraging for anyone who wants to see the end of the Beattie Government. Apparently Springborg was found to have only a 3% net positive approval rating (25 to 22) and Quinn 2% (19 to 17). It shows that the National Party has all but disappeared as a viable political entity in the south-east urban area.
But despite the facts the National Party started the week with a favourable Courier Mail story which then put them on the front foot for the morning press and the meeting with the Prime Minister.
By comparison the Liberals have agreed to a meeting which can achieve nothing, for which they have, at best a confused agenda, and without preparing public and elite opinion to the realities of the opposition parties’ plight – at the very least the Sexton research should have been out in the public domain in enough detail to set the scene.
So once more Queenslanders are treated to the Lib/Nat Punch and Judy show where the National Party manages to change from agressor to victim faster than you can say Sideshow Alley, and the Liberal Party is left looking under the wrong thimble for the wrong pea, whilst simultaneously being relieved of its valuables!

Posted by Graham at 10:26 am | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Australian Politics

1 Comment

  1. Both parties and the leaders especially are or seem to be most of the time just, whining,snivelling,comlaining, yammering,grizzling & carping, Their conduct,mainly the nasty nationals with their deputy leader leading the field by a number of lengths is atrocious. They seem to think that the Parliament belongs to them and not the Qld. people. I for one would never vote for such a group of ugly, miserable politicians. I remember the old national party and this mob are the same – only thankfully powerless. I wrote to springborg about this and as expected received no reply. Yet by their stupid actions they are denying us the opportunity to vote for them, back to beatty. Regards, numbat

    Comment by numbat — March 21, 2005 @ 2:09 pm

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