Yet another bad week looms for the Liberals. Tomorrow’s Queensland showdown is certain to take whatever little gloss there is from the announcement of the new Federal frontbench.

Then there are the ongoing tensions in WA, the Costello gang’s standover act in Victoria (where the party had been reduced to a lobby for Pete’s promotion), the party’s utter irrelevance in SA and Tasmania and a hopelessly divided party in the ACT.

This raises the issue of whether the brand name Liberal is political poison. It might well be that the party’s state divisions will have to think about a rebadge on top of everything else such as policies, candidates, leaders, etc.

It’s not without precedent. In between the collapse of the United Australia Party and the formation of the Liberal Party back in the 1940s, the NSW division called itself the Democratic Party.

In Victoria it was for many years known as the Liberal and Country Party and in SA it went under the name of the Liberal and Country League. The ACT for the past election or two has called itself the Canberra Liberals.

But it’s more than name and brand, and State Liberals need to think about this.

The neoliberal (or economic rationalist) agenda driven by the Howard government does not translate at all well at state and territory level. This second tier of government is all about service delivery, and cuts to spending equate to cuts in services.

A case in point was Peter Debnnam’s opening to the Liberal campaign in the 2007 NSW election, promising to slash government jobs. The result was that the campaign was dead in the water from that moment on.

There’s plenty of time to think about these issues as the party is unlikely to be saddled with the responsibility of government anywhere in the near future. But is there the will?

The Liberals could, if they were half smart, start talking to the Democrats who currently have no political home. But that might smack just a little too much of initiative.

Norman Abjorensen is the author of Leadership and the Liberal Revival: Bolte, Askin and the Post-war Ascendancy, published last month by Australian Scholarly Publishing.