May 29, 2006 | Graham

Official Liberal Party version

This document was sent to me by a Liberal Party member. It is an email that has been sent to Liberal Party members with email addresses explaining the proposal and was marked “Private and Confidential”. It is clearly at odds with a number of public statements from the National Party.

Talking points re: Proposed Merger

§ The Executives of both the Liberal Party and National Party in Queensland yesterday resolved to progress discussions for a possible merger of the two parties under the Liberal Party of Australia (Queensland Division) Constitution.
§ This is the first positive step in a process of discussions that could provide unprecedented unity, giving the Liberal Party the best chance of beating the incompetent and arrogant Beattie Labor Government at the next state election.
§ Constitutional changes, if any, will be decided after further talks and ongoing consultation with both organisations and parliamentary wings, as well as rank-and-file membership.
§ This proposed merger does not mean the creation of a new party.

Questions and Answers

Do merger talks between the Qld Liberal and National parties mean a new conservative party will be formed?
No. Despite media reports, there is no talk of forming a new conservative party and the Liberal Party would not be changing its name to the ‘New Liberals.’ The merger would not form a new conservative party in Qld, rather talks are centering on the Nationals joining the Liberal Party. Discussions with the Qld National Party leadership will continue to this effect.
What did State Council decide on Sunday?
The Qld Liberal Party State Council and the Nationals equivalent agreed yesterday to support further talks between the Liberal Party of Australia (Qld Division) and the Qld National Party on the issue of a merger between parties under the Liberal Party of Australia (QLD Division) Constitution.
The Motion passed reads as follows:-
State Council congratulates the working party on ongoing discussions with the National Party to date and authorises the working group (President, State Director, Con and Rules Chairman) to continue discussions with the Parliamentary Parties and Federal Party Leadership in regards to the merger of the two Parties under the Liberal Party of Australia (Qld Division) Constitution.
What are the benefits of the Qld Nationals joining the Liberal Party of Australia (Qld Division)? Why is this proposal better than a Coalition?
The merger would create the largest political party in Queensland. The membership base would provide strength to branches and ensure that the Liberal Party be a broad-based political party, which would appeal to rural and metropolitan voters. It would combine the strengths of the National and Liberal parties to create a powerful conservative force, which would offer all Queenslanders an alternative government. Research shows that Queenslanders are more likely to vote for a unified opposition and are looking for an alternative to the disastrous Labor administration. Business groups have also indicated they will provide greater support for a united strong party with clear messages, alternative policies and a focus on achieving Government. By contrast, the Queensland Coalition Agreement is a coalition rather than a merger of the parties and still allows for divisive three-cornered contests.
How will the Liberal Party incorporate the National identity? What are the transition arrangements?
It is envisaged that the Liberal Party would undertake Constitutional reform agreed between parties to ensure that rural membership and the Nationals’ regional constituency was fully represented and enfranchised into the new partnership. The reform would look to create State Electorate Councils in six regions – Greater Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, North Queensland, Central Queensland and Western Queensland as identified in the Coalition ‘Attaining Government’ Agreement. One vice-president would be elected by each region. Members would be empowered by the creation of SECs with provision for the convening of a Policy Convention and regional policy forums in addition to an annual Convention.
Transition arrangements would have the National Party Leader as the Leader of the Liberal Party, the Liberal Party Leader as Deputy and the Shadow Cabinet positions would remain unchanged subject to performance criteria. The new Senior Vice-President would be the current National Party President. The Liberal Party executive would remain in place for the next three years.
Would constitutional reform be required?
The current Liberal Party of Australia (Qld Division) Constitution and the Qld National Party Constitution allow for these changes. However, a Constitutional Convention would be constituted to amend the Liberal Party Constitution to enable further changes to take place. This convention would be open to all party membership.
Isn’t it just a takeover?
The merger concept is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It is a genuine partnership of equals, which serves the mutual interests of both parties and is designed to achieve our highest common goal – attaining government in Queensland.
What about three cornered contests – how will these be resolved?
Three-cornered contests in the seats of Broadwater, Mudgeeraba, Hervey Bay, Redlands would be resolved internally under a process of ‘Objective Assessment’.
What about the State Shadow Ministry?
The State Shadow Ministry would stay in place until the State election, subject to performance criteria.
What about Qld National Senators and MPs – would they now sit in Parliament as Liberals?
The position of the Qld National Members would be determined in consultation with Federal Members and Senators together with their Federal organisation.
What would the Senate ticket look like?
All State and Federal MPs and sitting Senators would be re-endorsed. By agreement, sitting National Party Senators would be placed on the combined Liberal Party Senate ticket.
Would members have a greater say in the Party structure?
As part of the new arrangements, there would be provision to set up State Electorate Councils and a planned Policy Convention, including provision for regional policy forums. Members would have a greater role in policy formulation and would be able to contribute fully to the direction of the revitalised Liberal Party.

Posted by Graham at 3:35 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. would you care to expand on which statements are inconsistent?

    Comment by R — May 30, 2006 @ 8:20 am

  2. The document is internally consistent – it just doesn’t agree with the National Party version, which is that there will be some sort of new party, or Warwick Parer’s version, that there are just some in-principle discussions. These are very definite heads of agreement, and I can only think that Greene distributed them as broadly as he did because he wanted them in the pulic domain.

    Comment by Graham Young — May 30, 2006 @ 10:00 am

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