Today’s Courier-Mail
is reporting that Queensland Senator Ron Boswell will face a crowded field of
nominees keen to take his Senate seat in the 2007 federal election.

It’s no secret that Boswell does not get on
with relative newcomer, Barnaby Joyce, whose outspoken opposition to Coalition
policy on the sale of Telstra has earned him the title of “unofficial leader of
Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.”

So far only second-time candidate James
Baker, who lost the final Senate place to Joyce in the 2004 federal election,
has indicated he will stand against Boswell.

However, National Party sources have been
telling the Courier-Mail that former
Queensland Premier (1996-98) Rob Borbidge is a likely starter when the Queensland central
council meets to consider the ticket in March. Borbidge, who’s based on the
Gold Coast, beat an unhappy retreat from state politics in 2001, but it seems
he may still have some political ambition.

According to the Crikey archives, Borbidge
was being suggested as a possible Mayoral candidate on the Gold Coast in
February last year. This is interesting as it was only 12 months out from the
last local government elections in 2004 that saw former Australian distance
runner, Ron Clarke, win the Mayor’s robes.

Since then Clarke’s gold medal status has
been tarnished by allegations of corruption that are currently being
investigated by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission. At the heart of
the CMC inquiry is the allegation that Clarke’s group on the GCC had taken
gifts, donations and kick-backs from developers keen to cement their hold over
the Gold Coast building boom, a clear breach of local government laws covering
political donations.

In March 2005 Rob Borbidge was appointed
chairman of the board for the GEC Group, a Gold Coast-based construction and
development group. Perhaps his Mayoral ambitions have been put on hold as a
result and the Senate seat might seem a nice way to top up his state
parliamentary pension.

So far none of the named candidates are
talking, but the 65-year-old Boswell may also be doing the sums on his
superannuation. If it stacks up well, he may decide to retire and leave the way
open for Rob Borbidge in 2007.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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