In the Queensland Nationals article by Martin Hirst (January 19, item 16) this
assertion is made: “Any number-cruncher worth their salt can tell you
that the Nationals are losing ground in Queensland and around the

I dispute that. While it is true that the Queensland Nationals are
losing ground at the state level and while it is true that the
Nationals are losing ground in other states it is NOT true that they
are losing ground federally in Queensland.

Also in the same article, there is discussion about whether the Liberal
Party would re-constitute the joint ticket for the 2007 election.
Martin Hirst, plainly influenced by Liberal Party propaganda, says of
the Liberals that “The simple fact is that this would mean they’d lose
a precious Senate seat.”

WRONG! In 2007 the Liberals have two senators coming up for re-election
and the Nationals have one, Boswell. Since a joint ticket would be sure
to get three senators elected they could have a joint ticket and get
all three incumbents re-elected.

So, why not a joint ticket? There is a simple answer. The Queensland
Liberal Party machine is pig-headed and Martin Hirst has simply fallen
for their propaganda.

I notice that he refuses to make a prediction on whether Boswell will
be pre-selected. Unlike Hirst I am making a prediction. Indeed my
prediction was published in an article by me in The Canberra Times on 30 December.

Titled “Wiser heads likely to prevail on the future of Ron Boswell,” my
article firmly predicts that Boswell will be pre-selected and will be
re-elected in 2007 for another six-year term.

The only reaction I have had to that article is a letter from Boswell
himself dated 10 January in which he wrote, among other things: “I must
say that I was particularly pleased to read your prediction that I
would be re-elected in 2007. I certainly hope that you will be able to
write a follow-up article after the election to remind your readers
about your prediction and perhaps boast (just a little bit) about its

I should tell Crikey readers the reasoning for my prediction. I have
been studying in considerable detail John Howard’s successful campaign
to get three Liberals elected to the Senate from Queensland in 2004.

I am aware from my study that, if Boswell is dumped by the Nationals,
Howard would repeat that campaign in 2007. However, if Boswell is again
the National Party’s leading candidate Howard would, in effect,
campaign for Boswell.

My Times article expressed it this way: “If the Nationals
choose Baker over Boswell, it would give Howard an incentive to
campaign again for the Liberal Party to ensure the Liberals again get
three Queensland seats. That might have the effect of the Nationals
getting none. By contrast, if the Nationals choose Boswell again Howard
would, in effect, subtly campaign for Boswell’s re-election – while
being nominally loyal to the Queensland division of his own party.”

As to why I know so much about this subject, the explanation is that I
am giving an academic paper to a conference early in March in Canberra
on “John Howard’s Decade.” It so happens that I am the speaker
immediately preceding Charles Richardson who, in the same session, will
give a paper on “The Liberal Party and the Lessons of Victory.”

I shall give to Charles, and to everyone else attending, the full
information on Howard’s campaign in 2004 to get three Senate Liberals
elected in Queensland. It is not my purpose to give advice to the
Queensland Nationals. Frankly I do not care what they do.
However, the advice which flows
naturally from my material is clear. They would be mad to dump Ron
Boswell. I do not think they are mad.