June 02, 2008 | Graham

Senator’s pitch for amalgamation

We’ve heard a lot from Senator Brandis about the proposed merger, and little from other senators. Ian MacDonald is one of the moderates in the Queensland Liberal Party, he’s also a long-time proponent of merger. This is the text of a letter that he sent to party members and supporters today.

On the weekend, I sat through every hour of the two day Liberal Party Conference which principally dealt with the proposed merger in Queensland of the Liberal Party and the National Party.
My impressions were that the merger had very broad based support and goodwill from the Party Membership although, as always, the devil is in the detail. But I was surprised by the unanimity of the general approach.
As I remarked in my address to the Convention, in the last five or six Federal and State elections we have run to each election with one single leader, and one set of policies.
Some say that there are irreconcilable policy differences between the Liberals and the Nationals and cite the recent example of the Single Desk Wheat legislation. But already in the Liberal Party, there are very diametrically opposed views on this issue which will be accommodated. And as you know, in the Liberal Party members can cross the floor if they believe that the Party is heading in the wrong direction.
Many people currently in the Parliamentary Liberal Party have far more ‘right wing’ views, than many members of the current Parliamentary National Party. A number of prominent National Party members supported the Republican proposal, and indeed many National Party members have a more liberal view than many Liberals on some of the social conscience issues that have come before the Federal Parliament in recent years.
As Bob Menzies always said, the Liberal Party is a broad church and I believe the policy approaches of both parties can be accommodated in a single new entity.
Some people were concerned that the formation of a single party in Queensland would result in a rump rural Party, around Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and the old One Nation Party. In my view, that grouping is already in existence and the formation of a new Party will in no way exacerbate that situation.
There is a lot of work for both parties to do between now and the proposed Constitutional Convention at the end of July. It will require a great deal of good will and support from members of both parties to their leadership negotiating teams. But after the weekend, I am hopeful a sensible and mutually acceptable vision can be negotiated, that will, for the first time in a long time, put real pressure on the incompetent State Labor regime.
The principles and philosophies of fairness, justice, the individual, self reliance and mutual obligation that are so dear to all Liberals will continue in the new Party. I am confident no former National Party member would have any objection to these principles and philosophies

Posted by Graham at 8:59 pm | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. If only his closing paragraph was a valid description of where the Liberal party is at.

    Comment by charles — June 2, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

  2. Seems to me that the amalgamation is the most logical way forward for the parties, and given their dire standing in the polls at present, now is a good time, seeing as they have nothing to lose.
    My suspicion is that those opposed, at least, those on the Liberal side of the fence, are the proponents of a ‘small l’ liberal party approach, who perhaps fear that Rudd hasn’t left enough of a niche for a party with conservative social values.
    Seems to me that regardless of what social policies the new party adopts, the only viable niche is one that drastically scales back government and adopts a genuine mentality of small government.
    That being said, I’ve heard many governments claim to be in favour of small government, and I’ve yet to see one that genuinely went in that direction. Howard claimed to be such a proponent, but the size of the government blew out completely.

    Comment by Dave — June 3, 2008 @ 10:13 am

  3. the Libs should be looking towards David Cameron instead of the National party to find a way forward. The Nats are a dead weight party everywhere but Queensland and this will only prolong its existence.

    Comment by matt — June 3, 2008 @ 10:53 am

  4. I would love for the Liberal Party to become a party truly for small government. Unfortunately it is not in the best interests of politicians to do that.

    Comment by Doug — June 3, 2008 @ 1:10 pm

  5. Now the conservative party will become an ULTA conservative party. Next they’ll be joining up with One Nation and call themselves the One National Party then they can have a good ole cross burning hoedown.

    Comment by MH — June 5, 2008 @ 9:52 am

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