The Queensland election:
Ray Edmondson writes: Re. “Queensland election: the final countdown” (Friday, item 2). The LNP victory was more extreme than expected, but the unexpected has happened in Queensland before. In 1998, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation won 25% of the vote and 11 seats in Parliament, although it failed to become a cohesive force as the party imploded.
Bligh was fighting the inevitable “it’s time” factor, but in addition it fell to her to show commendable leadership during a series of natural disasters before the election, and ironically this may have worked to her disadvantage. Once such trauma is past, people want to move on and they may choose someone new to move on with.
Having led Britain through the Second World War and having earned the nation’s gratitude, Winston Churchill was thrown out of office in 1945 by the Labor landslide that replaced him with Clement Attlee. The result confounded the pundits, but perhaps it demonstrated the instinctive way the majority of voters symbolically put the war behind them. I suspect this circumstantial reaction to recent trauma was a significant part of the equation in Queensland.
It remains to be seen how the new government performs. The ALP will need to rebuild, and has a chance to change and renew itself, but no party can do much about circumstances beyond its control.
Clive Palmer, the CIA and … Wilfred Burchett:
Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (Friday, item 12). At the risk of spending too much time on jokes (intentional or otherwise), Richard Farmer’s pseudo-theory that Barmy Palmer is the victim of CIA LSD doping is hardly compelling.
I mean, there’s a plot to make us think there’s a plot? And mundane mould still can’t be ruled out in the French “Cursed Bread” case, though incidentally the Fort Detrick, Maryland, named in the article blaming the CIA that Farmer cites, was also implicated by pre-eminent Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett, in biological warfare in Korea.
Aficionados of conspiracy theories, on the other hand, will note the similarity of Palmer’s accusation of a Green-CIA axis with the propaganda of another bunch of Queensland bananas, the Citizens Electoral Council.
The Middle-Eastern Distributor:
Jim Hanna writes: Re. “The Shire: like West Berlin, with more bibles and more suspicion” (Friday, item 3). Margot Saville wrote: “On the weekends they pack the Cronulla trains, dubbed by comedian Vince Colosimo the ‘Middle-Eastern Distributor’.”
The Middle-Eastern Distributor line belongs to Vince Sorrenti. But Vince Colosimo won’t mind you giving him the credit.