June 16, 2008 | Graham

Liberal National Party could be the end for Springborg

One of the lesser mysteries of the proposed Liberal National Party is why the Santoro faction changed from being opposed to its most enthusiastic proponents. Afterall, when Mal Brough first mooted his ambition to be Liberal Party President they targetted him for being pro-amalgamation.
To date the theories that I have heard have focused on the theory that they figure they have a better chance of controlling the merged entity than they do of controlling the Liberal Party. This amuses me because I have had proponents of the merger argue to me in the past that this is one way to keep the Santoro faction under control.
Now there is a new theory, and it seems to have some legs. In the new party room Lawrence Springborg will no longer have the numbers, and Tim Nicholls probably will.
Tim who? You might recall that he is the guy who ran against Bruce Flegg for the Liberal leadership, even though he had only four out of the eight votes and could only guarantee a tie. He’s the member for Clayfield, Santoro’s old seat, which was lost to Labor in 1998. He won it back, but it is marginal, and it has been made even more marginal by the last redistribution. He and his father Peter have been loyal family retainers of Santoro’s for years.
So, despite having trouble counting, and with a seat he is likely to have trouble holding, Nicholls still holds leadership ambitions. These could be realised under the new party.
You will need 12 votes to change the leader. Assuming that Bruce Flegg won’t vote for Nicholls under any circumstances, that gives you seven Liberal Party votes. The Liberal Party votes are said to be solid because none of the Liberals has ever been supportive of Springborg. In fact, the reason that Bob Quinn was dumped when he was had to do with the fact that he stood beside Springborg as Springborg expounded on the alleged tendency of fish to change gender from drinking recycled water. Quinn was expected to repudiate the remarks and didn’t.
Jeff Seeney, who is said to be looking for an opportunity to revenge himself on Springborg for rolling him, has at least 5. The only question is said to be whether the coup occurs before or after the next election.
Tim is a young man in a hurry, and the Liberal Party has a history of turfing out leaders at exactly the wrong time, so before the next election looks like a good bet.
Confirmation of the continuing interest of the Santoro faction in this issue is available from the fact that Michael Caltabiano and Peter Bastan (the former chair of the Liberals’ Constitution and Rules Committee) were included in meetings on the merger as late as last week.

Posted by Graham at 10:08 pm | Comments (5) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. When will Mr Brough state his position on the matter?!

    Comment by Doug — June 16, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

  2. Ah the good old Queensland Liberals are still as nutty as always. Glad to see they haven’t changed much in the last 20 years. I’m still pondering whether the merger will effectively mean the end of the ‘Liberals’ in terms of a political ideology as I can’t seeing Brough getting his way on a new constitution.

    Comment by Alex Schlotzer — June 20, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

  3. Have you read today’s cm? The polls say otherwise. People will vote for a merged party. Borg has known this for a long time. These times will suit him. Resistance is futile.

    Comment by Steve — June 21, 2008 @ 11:14 am

  4. Yes! When will Mal Brough state his position on the merger? If he isn’t happy with the draft LNP Constitution, are the Libs going to accept it?

    Comment by Ian — June 21, 2008 @ 11:56 am

  5. A merger will be the last chance for Santoro (and mates) to cling onto their control of the Liberal Party.
    When it became clear that they could not get their solider Gary Spence elected President, Santo directed his troops to do a remarkable back-flip on the merger.
    The sad thing is that the positive change that will be brought by a Brough-led administration, could prove to be short-lived if Springborg gets his way with the merger. In fact, reports are that Gary Spence has been promised the top-post in a merged entity.
    Crucial times for the Liberals.

    Comment by Queenslander — June 23, 2008 @ 12:29 am

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