January 23, 2008 | Graham


Mark Bahnisch has taken to calling Lawrence Springborg “the Borg” which brings to my mind images of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Terminators. Queensland non-Labor politics seems to be caught in a continuous “B” Grade loop with a script they can’t change, which doesn’t make any sense, and which always leads to the same unsatisfactory conclusion.
Springborg spent the last term of government pursuing his vision of a united conservative party, almost to the neglect of all else. It was a doomed quest. There were no terms that could be acceptable to both parties, and in the end the National Party scuttled the last arrangement because it involved the liquidation of the National Party with assets and members being taken over by the Liberals. (I know that’s not what the papers are saying, but you can follow the saga on this blog, with appropriate documentation, starting here).
Springborg has been on the backbench for around 16 months but appears to have learnt nothing. Queensland politics, indeed all politics, is not about Liberal National organisational arrangements, it is about satisfying the wants and needs of voters. Ultimately, voters don’t care who satisfies those needs as long as someone does.
Over the course of the federation of Australia various coalition arrangements have been more than equal to the task. To do so they have ensured they had the right people and policies. Springborg’s obsession with a merger substitutes institutional change for policy and personnel reform. This is unsurprising: if someone with leadership potential was in the National Party parliamentary ranks, Springborg would probably not be leader! Real leaders know when to give up and move on.
The best thing that could happen for Springborg would be for the state organisations to fairly quickly quash the idea at their meetings early in February. Letting it run on might be entertaining for new premier Anna Bligh, but boring for the rest of us – we already know the ending – they’ll be back.

Posted by Graham at 8:59 am | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Mark Bahnisch has taken to calling Lawrence Springborg “the Borg” which brings to my mind images of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Terminators.

    Close, but no cigar, Graham.

    The Borg are a fictional pseudo-race of cyborgs depicted in Star Trek.

    They operate towards one single minded purpose: to add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to their own, in pursuit of perfection. This is achieved through forced assimilation, a process which transforms individuals and technology into Borg, enhancing individuals by adding synthetic components.

    It’s quite a neat coincidence, hey?

    Comment by Mark Bahnisch — January 23, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  2. Very neat.

    Comment by Graham Young — January 23, 2008 @ 11:37 am

  3. This looks a pretty spot on assessment to me (regardless of what the right Sci Fi analogy is).
    Still, I can understand why some Qld Nationals would be kken on the idea, as it’s the only way they can remain at least part of being the senior partner in any future state government. What I don’t understand though is why so many Liberals seem to be supportive of the idea, including some federal Libs. I can only assume they figure it will help with the selling/marketing somehow, or maybe be a circuit breaker to their own long-running local infighting.
    I agree with the comment that the merger “substitutes institutional change for policy and personnel reform.” It reminds me of the Democrats over the past six years, where the reaction to plummeting public support was to blame internal party processes and focus on restructuring the organisational wing – as if that had anything to do with the vanishing public support. However hard it might be to make instutional change, it’s much easier than having to admit to your own mistakes, failings and inadequacies.

    Comment by Andrew Bartlett — January 23, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

  4. Looks like we won’t have to wait til Feb for it to be dead in the water. Poor old Lawrence. He might actually have to think up some policies rather than internal organisational navelgazing.

    Comment by Mark Bahnisch — January 23, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

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