“Peter Beattie will today announce a radical redesign of state Cabinet
and government service delivery, to fill the hole left by Treasurer
Terry Mackenroth’s sudden resignation,” the Courier Mail reports today.

It hasn’t looked good for a master of media manipulation to lose a
speaker, a health minister and a treasurer over several days –
particularly when two are going in disgrace. Is the façade finally
cracking?

Fortunately, the Queensland Libs might come to Beattie’s rescue. “The
government now faces two difficult by-elections on one day,” theCourier Mail
reports. “Brisbane City Councillor and Liberal state president Michael
Caltabiano is poised to grab the party nomination to contest Mr
Mackenroth’s old seat of Chatsworth,” the paper says.

The Liberal refuseniks at Online Opinion
have some comments on that. “Mackenroth’s seat has been represented by
the Liberal Party before, and given the demographics of the suburb of
Carindale, which it wholly contains, it ought to be Liberal,” editor
Graham Young writes. “So it’s a reasonable risk for Caltabiano and one
he can hardly refuse. Certainly if he does refuse he shouldn’t be able
to look for a safer state seat preselection at a later date. This is
his one and only opportunity. The one problem that he does face is that
Brisbane electors are not keen to see their representatives change from
one level of government to another, particularly if they are a good
representative.”

If it goes wrong – and Queensland Liberals are notoriously volatile – expect fireworks.

Peter Fray

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