Frustrated by Labor’s dominance at state level, “the Liberal Party has summoned its state and territory leaders to a two-day war council with John Howard in Sydney next week,” The Australian reports today. Most of them, anyway. But someone won’t be there:

The only state leader missing from the Sydney meeting will be Bruce Flegg, from Queensland. Dr Flegg replaced Bob Quinn earlier this month and faces a state election on September 9.

Easy come, easy go. After all, the latest polling suggests that Flegg won’t be around much longer. No Queensland rep will be present. But the meeting isn’t only a vote of confidence – not – in the Queensland Liberals. It’s a remarkable admission of policy failure and the Liberals’ intellectual bankruptcy. The Oz talks about the speakers:

[Former NSW state premier Nick] Greiner, who privatised and corporatised many state-run enterprises in NSW between 1988 and 1992, will tell the current state Liberal leaders they need “some big ideas” to differentiate themselves more from Labor.

Microeconomic reform guru Gary Sturgess, who headed Mr Greiner’s cabinet office and is now a consultant in Europe, will use a policy session to brief the group on international developments in public sector management and give them a background paper on “10 big ideas from around the world”.

They might like to give a brief to the lazy populists of the federal parliamentary party as well.

Peter Fray

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