November 23, 2005 | Graham

Springborg reveals joint preselection sham

When I reported that joint preselections between the Liberal and National Parties were a face-saving device and a deal had been done to carve-up the seats which would be rubber-stamped by the preselections I didn’t expect that this would be confirmed by the highest authority.
That is exactly what Lawrence Springborg did Monday when he complained that as a result of a deadlocked joint preselection in Redlands there would be a three-cornered contest in that seat. The Courier Mail reports that:

He [Springborg] said Nationals delegates had acted in good faith to install a Liberal candidate at last Saturday’s joint preselection for the seat of Springwood. Liberal preselectors, however, had acted “against the intention” of the coalition agreement by refusing to endorse a Nationals candidate in Redlands.
He said the Liberals’ lack of goodwill in the Redlands preselection – where a tied vote has forced a three-cornered contest – had cast doubt over the viability of the four remaining joint preselections.

Troublesome thing democracy – if you let the people decide things you might find that they end up disagreeing with you.
Springborg goes on to accuse the Liberals of “voting as a bloc”. While it appears to have been the intention of both sides that they would orchestrate a bloc vote to deliver pre-ordained results, in this case it is most likely that both blocs broke with traffic going in both directions.
Think of it this way. There are another 4 preselections to go. If the Liberals were intent on breaking the deal, why do it now when the Nats have four more opportunities to repay the treachery? Presumably the way that the deal works is this. In each of the preselections one or two defections are organised from the side which has decided to tap the mat so that the result is close, clear and not too humiliating. The smaller the designated number of defections, the greater the risk that something will go wrong. In this case, for whatever reason, it looks like the one or two, or three or four designated Liberal defectors passed an equal number of undesignated National Party ones going in the other direction.
The joint preselection solution always looked half smart (although as this tie demonstrates, no-one’s sure who’s in which half). Because it suggests that three-cornered contests should be avoided at all costs, it also undermines the proposition which the parties now need to put – that three-cornered contests can be a good thing.
I guess everyone is going to have to show everyone else their ballot papers next time, just to make sure the right result is obtained – it’s an old tradition in the ALP and the union movement.

Posted by Graham at 11:59 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Considering the situation generally – if the Liberal party had an articulate leader,effective strategy, and decent candidates they shouldn’t be bothered by three cornered contests? Surely much of Queensland craves a strong liberal opposition – if not government. Time to get the act together.

    Comment by Jennifer — November 23, 2005 @ 1:41 pm

  2. The whole concept of joint preselections was flawed from the outset. State Council are fools for agreeing to it.

    Comment by R — November 24, 2005 @ 12:32 pm

  3. We need an opposition leader/s who do more than continually carp, moan and bellyache and when they are not doing this they are acting like disruptive children in Parliament.
    Qld demands a decent, caring opposition with good ideas. It seems the way they are carrying on they are waiting for Labour to lose the next election instead of the coalition winning it.

    Comment by R. Patterson — November 29, 2005 @ 8:11 pm

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