January 30, 2006 | Jeff Wall

The Nationals more distant than ever from the Liberals

One of the reasons given by Senator Julian McGauren for his decision to switch to the Liberal Party is that the National and Liberal Parties are virtually indistinguishable does not measure up with a state-by-state comparison of party relations.
Indeed, at the state level, it has been a long time since relations have been more strained, even hostile.
Last week, the WA Nationals Leader, Brendan Grylls, announced that the Nationals would sit on the cross benches even if the Liberals won Government at the next WA elections.
That should help to guarantee the new Labor Premier, Alan Carpenter, at least two terms in office. And the Nationals risk losing party status at the next election now that one vote one value rules will apply.
In South Australia, relations are even worse. The Nationals State Leader, Karlene Maywald, is a Minister in the Rann Labor Government. Not much chance of a Liberal-National Coalition there!
In Victoria, the heady days of the Kennett-McNamara Coalition Government are but a memory.
The Victorian Nationals Leader, Peter Ryan, follows the old Joh-era dictum that the Liberals are the enemy, Labor is just the opposition!
Changes to the structure of the Upper House – to be elected using proportional representation from the 2006 elections – are likely to bring the Victorian Nationals perilously close to losing party status.
And Ryan’s aggressive attacks on the Liberals ease the damage the Bracks Government is suffering from its factional pre-selection difficulties.
In NSW there is a State Coalition, but relations have been strained in the last year or two – and won’t be helped when new federal boundaries make their impact later this year.
And in Queensland there is now a coalition in name, and not much else. Three cornered contests, the cause of coalition tensions in the past will happen in half a dozen seats at the next State Election.
And in Queensland the unthinkable might happen. The Liberals have their best chance since 1974 of overtaking the Nationals as the major non-Labor Party in the State Parliament. It might not be a strong chance yet, but it cannot be ruled out.
Now Senator McGauren has created potentially very damaging tensions in the federal coalition.
Not a happy “family” all round!

Posted by Jeff Wall at 9:35 am | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Uncategorized

1 Comment

  1. Jan 30th 2006;,in a short space of time,since the 30/1/2006.the divide has become even bigger,the rot has made inroads since then,Howard in desperation is now calling for unity,but the AWB,has been the final on the road to destruction for the coalition.

    Comment by Thomas Wertheim — February 8, 2006 @ 9:23 am

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