November 15, 2004 | Graham

Springborg’s Pineapple Party defies the federal election result

Lawrence Springborg’s quest to merge the two non-Labor parties in Queensland is Quixotic in the full sense of the word. Not only is it doomed to failure, but it is misguided and represents a disconnect with reality. Nothing demonstrates this more than the results of the last federal election.
Under Springborg’s plan John Howard would not have won control of the Senate because there is no way that a fused party could have won the 4 Senate spots the coalition partners managed between them. Why should the parties adopt a policy that would actually rob them of seats?
Springborg says that the parties can’t win as separate entities. How does he justify this? In 1995 they ran separately and won government, just as they did in all the elections between 1957 and 1989. If anyone needed more contemporary evidence that the reason for the poor performance of the coalition parties in Queensland has nothing to do with their being separate entities, they need only look again at the last federal election and John Howard’s successful record.
Another fact demonstrated by the federal election result is that the Queensland National Party is in trouble. When you look at the senate results in the federal seats where the National Party has state representatives, their vote is higher than the Liberal Party’s in only three – Maranoa, Hinkler and Dawson. On the Gold and Sunshine Coasts the best result they could manage was 3%, in Fairfax. Their worst was 1.67% in Macpherson – no wonder Barnaby Joyce wants to base himself on the Gold Coast, they need all the help there that they can get.
Senate results are a good proxy for the underlying strengths of the parties because they are not distorted by candidates.
Springborg’s policy is nothing but a desperate lunge by the Nationals to take over the Liberal Party before anyone realises just how poorly the Nats are doing. The threat of his parliamentary colleagues to resign en masse if the proposal is not accepted by the Libs is probably just a realisation that if they don’t go voluntarily, the electorate will eventually make their redundancies involuntary.
They certainly have little chance of surviving if they are going to concentrate their energies on issues of form, like party organisation, while ignoring issues of substance, like policies and performance.

Posted by Graham at 2:18 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. But if you believe Quinn, the Nats want to include Jesus First and Redneck Nation in the coalition too. Now that would spice up politics in Queensland.

    Comment by Evan — November 16, 2004 @ 8:40 am

  2. Surely Quinny is just mischief making with that suggestion. I wish he’d get into the substance of the argument.

    Comment by Graham Young — November 16, 2004 @ 9:27 am

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