Apr 7, 2011

Benjamin Law: the Passion of the Campbell

Campbell Newman has become the phantom menace of Queensland parliament, says Benjamin Law, the unseen Sith Lord pulling the strings from behind the curtain. He's already riding high in the polls, but the policy cupboard is bare.

For one of the most visible men in Australian politics right now, Campbell Newman is nowhere to be seen. At least not in Queensland parliament.

Journalists might sit in the state parliament’s press gallery just to get a glimpse of the man, but it’s a redundant exercise. Newman is not allowed downstairs, but he’s there in spirit — appropriate enough given that here in Queensland, things have been taking on a Biblical dimension lately. We started the year with floods and high winds (we’re just waiting for the locusts and to be rained down with blood now), and lo and behold: booming Old Testament vernacular has started to seep into state parliament too.

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11 thoughts on “Benjamin Law: the Passion of the Campbell

  1. klewso

    Sadly, in a state where populist tabloid pap rules, there is no real serious political analysis of events – our “one” paper pimps for their “Limited News Party”, “spinning” news/perspective like a dervish – then rallying patriotism to fend off charges of appearing to be a bucolic backwater.

  2. abarker

    Newman: “We’ll be releasing policies. I assure you that. I know you’re excited. I’m excited about the policies we’re going to release.”

    Condren: “What policies?”

    Newman: “Oh, lots of policies.”

    Condren: “What are they?”

    Newman: “The things that affect Queenslanders.”

    Condren: “What are the policies?”

    Newman: “Dealing with the cost of living. Dealing with rural and regional areas of Queensland.”

    ….. Kind of reminds me of when Nigel Smart, former Crows player, was up for state election in SA. All he could come up with in his first interview was that he was looking forward to ‘Getting into the issues’, whatever that meant.

  3. klewso

    If he’s “leader-in-all-but-reality” now – why does he have to actually win a seat, to continue that role? The pension?
    If the state’s LNP hierarchy doesn’t see anyone already elected having the smartz enough to lead, to their satisfaction, how can their constituents vote to have them represent them in parliament?
    It’s been said Ashgrove was “Door Number 4” for consideration – that would have taken time to nail down. Meanwhile the CMC is investigating allegations of bribery – and Newman says he only recently made up his mind to run – a week or so before “the 12 month rule” (to be able to simply nominate his mayoral successor, rather than go to an election?) can be implemented? This is a bloke that campaigns on his absence of guile or a taste for politics? Who minimised the printing of the party to which he belongs, on his advertising, for mayor!

    “Bogan Heroes” – with Newman and Seeney – Kernel Klink and Sergeant Schultz?
    Or like the other (Alfred E.) Newman – “What me worry? I’m going to announce my “shallow” cabinet next week”?

    “Patrons”? Like Santo Santoro?

  4. Meski

    @Abarker: Was that a Clark / Dawes episode? If it wasn’t, it should be.

  5. Blair Martin

    @Abarker & @Meski – it was even more scary… Pat Condren’s questioning and Newman’s responses turned the clock back 30 + years to another leader of the egregious conservatives in Qld who would never answer a question “straight” – Newman’s “I know you’re excited…oh, lots of policies…things that affect Queenslanders” are absolute echoes of Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Yes, he’s a Sith Lord alright!

  6. Gavin Moodie

    Presumably Newman’s failures as Mayor will become more evident as time progresses.

  7. zut alors

    An entertaining piece Benjamin – but you must admit having superb material with which to work. One of the reasons I headed north to settle in Brisbane was the state politics – it’s necessary to be here to actually witness things happening otherwise the storylines are unbelievable. The Joh era provided halcyon years for cartoonists and they’ve kept their pencils at the ready ever since.

    However, Benjamin, may I raise a salient point in the interests of accuracy? You state

    ‘…Queensland mayors that had stuck by their towns post-natural disaster…’

    Apparently those fine institutions, the general insurance companies, have stated the flood disaster was NOT natural. Yasi, yes – but the South-East Qld flood, no. Coincidentally, this means they need not honour many many millions of dollars of their soggy opportunistic clients’ insurance claims.

  8. Matthew Brennan

    To Klewso: Newman will have to win a seat in parliament because if the LNP does win the next QLD state election but Labor retains Ashgrove, I think I know what Mr Seeney will say to him! Dont presume Mr Seeney isn’t dreaming about this nights!

    Mr Newman is attempting to graft US style gubernatorial wheels onto what is a westminster cart. While Bligh’s jalopy is looking clunky, you have to wonder what will happen next state election.

  9. steve

    Tonight we have echoes of the question asked of Bjelke-Petersen about his understanding of the Doctrine of the separation of powers at the Fitzgerald inquiry which he famously could not even begin to get his head around, let alone answer. Clive Palmer is now suggesting the Crime and Misconduct Commission be disbanded and the police given the powers to investigate corruption. The LNP has learned nothing and is not fit to be in opposition let alone government. No wonder their Leader is not entitled to the title of Opposition Leader.

  10. zut alors


    Let’s go one better than that: how about Clive Palmer be given the power to investigate corruption?

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