Dec 10, 2012

From Can Do to can’t hold it together: Newman’s struggle

There's something in the water in Queensland politics. Here's the tale of how Campbell Newman, swept to power with a thumping majority, is now under pressure from inside and outside his party.

Dr Mark Bahnisch

Brisbane-based political analyst and Centre for Policy Development fellow

It was almost a duty for politically engaged Queenslanders to explain and account for the Sunshine State’s peculiarities to Mexicans in Joh’s days. This imperative didn’t stop under Peter Beattie. I well remember sitting in the civilised surrounds of the bar of the Adelaide Festival Centre in 2001 telling a bunch of members of Adelaide University’s politics department Labor would win by a landslide in the wake of the Shepherdson inquiry into electoral fraud.

For a while, under Anna Bligh, it seemed we had joined Australian modernity, and apologies were no longer necessary. But while in Melbourne the week before last, I realised we’d gone back to the future.

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11 thoughts on “From Can Do to can’t hold it together: Newman’s struggle

  1. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    The Sunshine State’s electoral waters will be found to flow uphill but only during daylight saving and don’t you worry about that.

  2. Gavin Moodie

    The Mayor of Queensland will hopefully also be made responsible for big debt for the under used road tunnels and bridges he commissioned as Mayor of Brisbane.

  3. Noely Neate

    Newmans popularity was fake to begin with. Just prior to the floods Brisbane was getting jack of him big time. Then thanks to the national morning shows he got a heap of air time and the likes of David Koch fawned over him and carried on about how popular he was. Then it sort of became, well if you say it enough times it must be true.

    BUT he should never have been given the kudos for the floods anyhow. Once the Emergency Management kicked in all BCC staff were taken over by them, Mayor & Council went on Holidays, that is the only reason he had all that time to be such a media whore. Worse, not once did he actually give credit where it was due.

    Then the LNP went, sweet, this bloke is popular, he can lead us to an election. Which he did. BUT is sort of like the Receptionist are now running a multi-billion dollar property. With the rubbish that is happening now I seriously feel embarrassed to be a Queenslander. So back to the Joh days we are 🙁

  4. klewso

    How much did his “Tea Party” bike scheme cost?

  5. zut alors

    Fresh from the electoral landslide ‘Uriah Heep’ Newman made much of how humble his new government would be, there would be no abuse of the unprecedented popular power they’d been handed.

    The timing was so close that we should’ve had our eyes fixed on a stopwatch – Newman’s pronouncement heralded the rot.

  6. Karen

    I was always amazed at how Qld was prepared to turn its back, so comprehensively, on a government that turned Brisbane into an international cultural centre and its economy into an international investment location. Not to mention the floods response under Bligh’s stewardship, for which the electorate sent her packing. Little wonder she left the State.

    There may not have been a lot of dough left in the kitty but then what State did or does have much, now that their powers of taxation have been emasculated. That said, people were kept in jobs during the GFC and, as importantly, services were delivered.

    What a shame.

  7. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Karen, the damage to Bligh was done and dusted long before the floods. She was already a goner because of the confected campaign against the asset sales – much of which had got rolling during the Beattie years. The floods “stewardship” was also very patchy. Whilst it was wall to wall on ABC radio and TV nationally, News Ltd, which controls all Queensland metro and regional dailies, had star reporters like Hedley Thomas beating up on Bligh about the corruption of the Wivenhoe Dam management and other stuff. This was deadly.
    The Queensland ALP still has to rely on its dumb-arse faction system to renew party direction so don’t hold your breath. It’s not so much a ‘shame’ as a long awaited opportunity for some proper renewal. I don’t think one term in the wilderness will be enough, regardless of how bad the LNP seems.

  8. Shaniq'ua Shardonn'ay

    The Libs tactics all over Australia seem to be pretty much the same:
    1. Tell the electorate the other side is ‘managing’ really badly.
    2. Promise to do a number of things better.
    3. Get into government and find out “It’s much worse”.
    4. Throw the promises out the window.
    5. Take the knife to all those people they were going to shaft under the guise of “prudent management”.
    6. Do nothing about all the things they were going to fix (e.g. Desal plant, Myki, Smart Meters)
    Tony talking the talk right now. BS Baillieu has already done it in VIC.

  9. David Hand

    It’s much simpler than this deep political navel gazing about Newman’s adjustment to the different structure of State politics or shifts in electoral demographics or Bob Katter’s influence.

    Newman has a huge majority and is spending political capital implementing unpopular policies to fix the State’s shattered finances. Some voters are going off him.

    That’s it.

  10. SBH

    I wonder about the fact that Newman held no office in the parliamentary party (?) and hence never built up the complex web of favours most opposition leaders and premiers both owe and are owed. I couldn’t have made it easier to run a very large party.

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