May 28, 2006 | Graham

Liberal National merger

The Liberal and National Party Queensland organisations have met today and agreed to “merge” the two state parties. While in fact a merger, it will structurally mean the dissolution of the Queensland National Party, with its assets and members being transferred to the Liberal Party.
John Howard is reported to be happy with the arrangement while Mark Vaile, Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader, is said to be strongly opposed. The move appears to be aggreeable to Lawrence Springborg and Bob Quinn, the state National and Liberal Party leaders.
Under the agreement the Queensland National Party will join the Liberal Party, and the Liberal Party’s constitution will be adjusted to take account of some aspects of the National Party.
There are significant ramifications likely from this decision, the largest of which is that it becomes highly likely that Peter Beattie will go to an election now, particularly if there is significant dissent. On the Liberal side this appears to be unlikely with Howard and Quinn both in support, and only one Liberal voted against the proposal at the organisational meeting. On the National Party side, Barnaby Joyce joins Mark Vaile in being unhappy so there is significant potential, even though national president David Russell is one of the key architects.
Another ramification is the future of country representation in the Australia’s parliaments. Without Queensland the National Party is more or less finished at a national level. Will country Australians be happy to be represented by Liberals, or will this lead to the formation of another party? Or will there be a reaction against this move amongst some National Party rank and file leading to the National Party continuing to exist, perhaps without state representation?
Keep watching this blog or further information.

Posted by Graham at 3:54 pm | Comments (8) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. As a country australian but not a QLDer, I think the nationals kowtow to the Liberals too much, rarely, if ever differentiate themselves or dissent, so if this happened anywhere else I think it would barely register.
    I thought this would’ve went in the opposite direction in QLD since the QLD Nats are well-reknowned. And that the Nats would be the controlling party.

    Comment by Vee — May 28, 2006 @ 8:25 pm

  2. Rural and regional Australia can be well represented by Liberals … Susan Ley and Ian McFarlane for example.

    Comment by Jennifer — May 28, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

  3. So Vee, if I called myself a Country Party candidate and said “We always knew that the Nationals were Liberals in drag, now it’s time for a party that genuinely represents country interests,” would I get your vote (assuming I was sincere of course)?

    Comment by Graham Young — May 28, 2006 @ 9:07 pm

  4. Graham, On a State Level, probably. It would depend on you as a person and other policies but in all likelihood, yes.

    Comment by Vee — May 29, 2006 @ 10:44 am

  5. Merged party didn’t work in 1920s and 1940s. Presumably federal MPs would now caucus with Liberals or Nationals as they choose. Who after the current generation would bother to caucus with the Nationals?

    Comment by Geoff R — May 29, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

  6. A bit late to be jumping on the “bandwagon” is a thought which springs to my mind.

    Comment by Edward James — May 29, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

  7. Business will finally open their wallets and the people will finallty dump Beattie. The detail of the deal makes this much more attractive than it sounds in the media. Just wait for the full story to come out.

    Comment by R — May 29, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

  8. Assumptions that the Nats joining the Libs will lead to some new conservative party is getting ahead of things. It might do that, but is unlikely to win much in terms of seats. Let’s all remember the Liberals already hold the most federal rural seats, they can win and represent country seats. The only place where there has been a merger, the NT, has not seen an explosion of other conservative parties and there’s been over 30 years for them to do so if it was going to happen. Further, running as Liberals would likely help to protect Nats in coastal seats. Not to mention the saved resources from not having to fight each other, a merger would not bring about the end of Liberal Government.

    Comment by SD — May 30, 2006 @ 4:13 pm

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