May 31, 2006 | Graham

Second shot kills merger, third shot kills who?

It’s now official – the Liberal/National merger is dead.
The state Coalition pollies had a first chance to kill the merger Monday at their joint party-room meeting. They missed and allowed their leadership team to claim that they had unanimous support for the proposal (whatever the proposal was supposed to be). Yesterday the phones started ringing, and today, in separate party room meetings both the Liberals and the Nationals killed the proposal off.
They’re blaming Canberra, but that is a face saving device for their state leaders. There was never any chance that the Queensland Parliamentary Nationals were going to join the Liberal Party (although they may have joined a new entity), and the Queensland Parliamentary Liberals were never going to join any party they hadn’t already joined. The premises of the deals sold to each party were unrealisable. Worse, the people doing the selling must have known that they were telling their separate organisations different things.
It was the deviousness that really killed the deal off. Nothing would have got to this stage without the deceptions, and once uncovered, the deceptions made it impossible to have a happy ending.
The situation demands a third shot. Who will it hit? Springborg is bullet proof – he’s the only leader the public will accept. Bob Quinn is also bullet proof – his only viable challenger has sworn support. That leaves Bruce Scott and Warwick Parer, the respective National and Liberal state presidents. David Russell has been forced out of the federal National Party presidency. Scott and Parer ought to follow.
I don’t know too much about Scott’s position, but Parer was rushed into the Liberal Presidency as part of a deal to help the Sicilian faction (which appears to have split over the merger issue) maintain control. Caltabiano was promising to stay as president, right until the close of nominations when Parer nominated. If Caltabiano had said he was going there would have been a number of viable alternative candidates, and Parer, lacking any support base, would never have won.
Parer was supposed to be hands-off, and looked like he would be at first – he was off on holidays when he was formally elected rather than at the convention. His performance in this debacle has him crossing at least one of his sponsors – Santoro. The only thing that might save him from the bullet is if Santoro can’t find a more pliable replacement. Even this might not be enough, as Santoro has recently been losing ground to the Brandis, and the Tucker, factions.

Posted by Graham at 9:26 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. why is springborg bullet proof?
    He comes across as an agressive bully and i doubt he QLD will ever have another national party premier.
    And bruce flegg must be wondering if the time is right…

    Comment by alphacoward — June 1, 2006 @ 5:56 pm

  2. He’s bullet-proof because no-one comes even close to him in the preferred leader stakes. You’d be mad to ditch him this side of an election, and even after an election he lost he’d probably still look pretty good.

    Comment by Graham Young — June 1, 2006 @ 10:35 pm

  3. The fact is that the Member and the Minister clashed over the merits of the merger because the Minister is concerned about his spot on the Senate ticket (as would be Senator Brandis), and the Member sees a greater chance in state electoral victory through a unified party (of which he wants to be ultimately leader). Its not really factionalism, in so much as it is really pure self-concern.
    The President supported the merger because of its logical merit, not because he is aligned to anyone. In fact the President is the least factional person in that party.
    As for Flegg, why would you run a challenge to become leader of a party which will more than likely lose. Even if the Coalition is looking good to win wouldn’t you wait until after the election to freshen up the leadership?

    Comment by R — June 5, 2006 @ 12:20 am

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