March 16, 2008 | Graham

Newman’s victory one for Campbell

Joe Hockey reckons that Campbell Newman’s win is the first step on the comeback for the Liberal Party.

“In many ways this may become the emblematic moment that indicates that the Liberal Party has reconnected with the community and has built up a core base of support for better government and stronger values in government,” he said.

Newman did this all on his own with his “Can do” brand. If you want to see how the Liberal brand fared in these elections look at the Gold Coast, where their mayoral candidate polled only 26.73%, coming third. He’ll need to do heroically well on pre-polls, absents and preferences to win the mayoralty, and even if he did, there will be unlikely to be any Liberal councillors to support him because all of the other Liberal candidates look like they’ve lost.
The message to the Liberals from Campbell is that the electorate is not interested in political brands as much as they are interested in performance. That was the key to him not just being returned, but taking a number of wards from Labor.
Labor councillors presented themselves as being able to put a “check” on Campbell Newman, who they said was after a “blank cheque”. Too cute. Voters saw these Labor councillors as putting their brand before the public interest, and dealt with them accordingly.
The devaluation of political brands is further underlined by the fact that this result occurred so close in time to Kevin Rudd’s emphatic win, and that Newman did well in areas like South Brisbane and Brisbane Central which at a state level are ultra-safe for Labor.
If the Liberal Party wants to do well again in Australian politics they need to stop spending so much time talking about who they are and spend much more time showing what they can do.

Posted by Graham at 9:59 am | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Spot on Graham … the Liberals put in a shocker on the coast – although I think it wasn’t just their brand and poor campaign. They also may well have been caught up in the stink from south of the border over developers and politicians, especially with the negative publicity around Tate. I think this lifetsyle vote which is sceptical about development was also on display in other local contests, especially Redlands, Sunshine Coast and in Cairns. Interesting to see O’Farrell is tapping into this a bit in NSW.

    Comment by Dennis Atkins — March 17, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

  2. It wasn’t just a stink from across the border. The same people who funneled funds to particlar councillors’ campaigns in Tweed, leading to the sacking of that council funneled funds to Gold Coast City Councillors in 2004 as well. Tait, the Liberal mayoral candidate, was associated with some of this – meetings occurred in his offices etc. So, poor brand management was at work as well – endorsing Tait certainly did some damage to the Libs.
    Agree with you on the “lifestyle” vote. If the Queensland opposition could change tack from being the party of growth to the party of sustainable growth, it could create problems for Bligh.

    Comment by Graham Young — March 18, 2008 @ 7:48 am

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