So let’s get this straight…

Nobody much liked Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, until her stoic performance handling the state’s natural disasters. Yet still, through hell and high water, they liked Liberal-National Party leader John-Paul Langbroek even less. Particularly his colleagues, who have been trying to knife him for most of his troubled reign.

Enter Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman — dubbed “Can Do Campbell” in northern parts and at one point the country’s highest-ranked Liberal — who people like quite a bit more. He’s spent much of his political life denying he had any aspirations to leave the heady world of rubbish collection and dog registration behind. Which was all hooey, apparently, because today he orchestrated a coup to dump Langbroek and take charge of the state opposition.

Never mind that Newman doesn’t actually sit in parliament. He’s announced a run for the Labor-held seat of Ashgrove at the next state poll, not due for another year. Langbroek has already stood down (deputy leader Lawrence Springborg, too), Newman will get the vote, and he’ll become the first pollie we can think of (that debate has ignited; we’ll take advice) to lead a major parliamentary party from outside the building.

Anna verses Can Do. With a sandstone wall between them.

It’s genius. Or madness. Probably both.

There is nothing so entertaining in politics as a desperate, poll-depressed party. Stay tuned.

Peter Fray

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