August 17, 2005 | Graham

Only the Liberals are under real pressure in the by-elections

In the Redcliffe and Chatsworth by-elections, only the Liberal Party is under real pressure.
For Peter Beattie a loss would be a good management tool. It would say to his back-benchers that his government is not impregnable, so they should be careful how they behave. He would also be able to claim, with more credibility than he can at the moment, to be the under-dog going into the next state election if he could contrive to lose these two seats.
For conspiracy theorists, Beattie actually does seem to be intent on losing. Rather than take the standard public relations medicine and accept responsibility for the state’s health system he has variously blamed the federal government, lack of bulk-billing GPs, and more recently Queenslanders’ failure to live healthier lives, for the problems. At the same time he has tried to make the by-elections a referendum on the Federal Government’s proposed IR laws. All of this uncharacteristic behaviour increases the chance that electors will give him a kick in the pants this Saturday.
The Nationals have nothing to lose as they are not running. However, a Liberal loss will present them an opportunity to negotiate harder with the Liberals about which seats they can stand in at the next election. At the moment the Liberals are trying to freeze them out of the urban area, but if the Liberals are unable to win these two seats then the Nationals will be able to say that while the Liberals always do well in public opinion polls, they don’t do so well in the polls that count. Of course, if they win, the Nats won’t find those arguments so easy, but there’ll be another couple of bodies on the Opposition benches.
From the Liberals’ point of view, if they can’t win these two seats in circumstances where the government so clearly deserves a little punishment, it will be yet another proof that the electorate doesn’t see them as being worthy of opposition, let alone government. Not only that they will have lost an effective councillor, in Caltabiano, who will also be tarnished in his role as party president.
So, a Liberal win or a loss, suits both Beattie and the Nationals to greater or lesser degrees. All the pressure is on the Libs. Will they choke?

Posted by Graham at 2:44 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Australian Politics

1 Comment

  1. Yes I think your spot on, if the Libs can’t win both of these seats given the current suitution in health, electricity, childerns services, sports stadiums, the speakers head caught in the trough and the list goes on, the never ever worry about contesting another state election untill they purge them selves of all the bitter fractional in fighting that has crippled them for years

    Comment by john miles — August 18, 2005 @ 11:37 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.