Christian Kerr writes:

One simple little fact risks going missing in all the column centimetres dedicated to the proposed Queensland conservative merger today – that the proposal is as chauvinistic as anything Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen could have conceived.

This is a Queensland solution to a Queensland problem – one that says b*gger the consequences for the rest of the nation.

“It’s been a long-standing article of faith at this site that Queensland state politics will be dominated by Labor until the Liberals elbow the Nationals aside and assume their rightful place as the senior coalition partner,” William Bowe writes in an excellent analysis at The Poll Bludger. “But given the Nationals’ use of their institutional dominance to defend the status quo, it was hard to see how this was supposed to happen…The Nationals’ seniority in the Queensland Coalition is a legacy of circumstances that have ceased to apply…”

A sense of desperation has driven the Queensland conservatives. The Goss government didn’t just reform electoral boundaries. It also brought in optional preferential voting. Many conservative voters in Queensland don’t bother to pass on preferences. Conservative candidates are eliminated. Labor is the winner.

The Queensland Nationals and Liberals are trying to gather up all these wasted votes by presenting a unified face. That might be fine in Queensland, but what does it mean federally or for their party colleagues in other states? They’ve overlooked that in their desperation.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie suggested yesterday Sir Joh would oppose the merger. “Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen would be turning over in his grave,” he said. “He would never have agreed to this sort of nonsense.”

John Bjelke-Petersen begs to differ. “Dad was one that always looked forward,” he told The Courier Mail.

And this is as Queensland-centric as any of the Hillbilly Dictator’s notions.

Peter Fray

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