July 31, 2005 | Graham

By-election? I’ll have a coalition with that!

Liberals are scratching their heads about the new demand by Bruce Scott, the Queensland Nationals’ new State President, that they form a Coalition with the Nationals before the Redcliffe and Chatsworth by-elections. Is this deliberate sabotage, or just incompetence?
What our polling (rtf) shows is that Queenslanders want a decent opposition and don’t think they are getting one at the moment. They would like the Liberals and Nationals to work together, although they are not overwhelmingly in favour of a coalition, favouring a number of different arrangements. But they do agree that they don’t like fighting between the two non-Labor parties.
The Nationals also should know that there is virtually no chance, even at the best of times, of a coalition agreement being concluded in three weeks. With two crucial by-elections being contested, and the Liberal President one of the candidates, the odds of that are now lower than ever. The inevitable result is that the Liberals will rebuff the Nationals drawing attention to their divisions.
So, with two by-elections giving the Liberals a chance of showing they are learning from their errors, and increasing the number of opposition seats by two, why would the Nationals do this?
One theory is that they are so obsessed with their own convention (held this weekend) and their own constituency that they are impervious to anyone else’s concerns. Another theory, closely aligned to the first, is that they are politically incompetent. There’s two good arguments not to get too close to them.
Another theory is that this is a deliberate move. The Nationals might get lucky and convince the Liberals to do a hasty and ill-advised deal, just so they can increase their chances of winning the two seats. Or, by raising the spectre of Coalition in-fighting, ruin the Liberals’ chances. That would enable them to mount an argument that the Liberals can’t win seats in South-East Queensland, strengthening their position in negotiations before the next state election on what seats each should contest. And it would weaken the Liberals’ position in any coalition negotiations because they would still have 5 rather than a possible 7 seats.
If your potential partner was this treacherous, that would be an even better reason to refuse a coalition.
So,whichever theory you accept, the Nationals have made a new coalition less, rather than more, likely.

Posted by Graham at 2:33 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Australian Politics

1 Comment

  1. Having lived through the pre-Fitzgerald national party era there is no way I would trust the nationals.They, in my eyes, are a flawed party of mis-fits. Notice Springborg, he has done nothing but bitch, carp,complain bellyache, bemoan, bewail, bleat and croak everytime he appears in the front of a camera. Please also note that his Russel Hinze look alike and sound alike – his deputy, sheeny has disappeared. Every time he smirked or talked to reporters the nationals lost more prospective votes. Also this politician admitted to lying to the state parliament – re accusations about P. Beattie’s brother. The federal nationals are nearly as bad. Anderson acting as a ‘bag-man’ for howard running all over dispensing money – not buying votes of course! That would be illegal and immoral and ammoral and anderson is a “nice honest ???” bloke eh?. They should be called the hemorrhoid (sorry for the American spelling)party as all they do is hang out of the body of the liberal party and cause discomfort and itching. As for their stand on the sale of telstra – all howard has to do is threaten to tear up the coalition agreement. Then if a choice between the perks of office and their constituants well being the perks will win hands down. numbat

    Comment by R. Patterson — August 1, 2005 @ 2:56 pm

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