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No Libationals today?

July 25th, 2008

Having made the bold predictions, some time back, that neither the Nationals, nor the Liberals, would ever win another election in Queensland or nationally, I gave myself two bob each way by explaining that this was because a merger, or a completely new party, was a precondition for defeating Labor. Everything looked to be going swimmingly until last night, when the Liberals suddenly backed out of the merger they’d agreed with the Nationals. On the face of it, this didn’t look too good for my record as a political tipster (which had been improving a bit).

But the great thing about an each-way bet is that there is more than one way to win. Whatever happens now as regards the merger, the Libationals have made such a mess of things that it’s hard to see Labor losing here for another couple of terms, by which time the merger will presumably have happened. And what’s true in Queensland is almost certainly true nationally. Short of an econoic catastrophe, the next serious prospect for a Libational win is that provided by the lamentable NSW government, which is not due to face the voters until 2011, IIRC.

Update Thanks to a court order, the merger has gone ahead. Given these farcical events, my prediction looks like winning both ways. Not only have the Libs and Nats ceased to exist, but they still don’t look like a plausible alternative to Labor.

  1. BilB
    July 26th, 2008 at 06:40 | #1

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. By having an opinion at all your were by default predicting that “something” would happen. And it did.

  2. Dave
    July 26th, 2008 at 12:12 | #2

    I guess you spoke too soon John…

    Should have waited for the news this morning :)

  3. July 26th, 2008 at 15:52 | #3

    Your original prediction applied federally. This merger is only state, but you say “ not only have the Libs and Nats ceased to exist ”. Are you saying this state merger — or really, National Party takeover — will inevitably lead to a federal and national merger ? Considering how unequal and fraut with difficulty the merger has seemed, I would say it probably makes a federal merger less likely, and even if it does happen at a federal level, it’ll be more like we have one conservative party (the Liberal Party, possibly called the Liberal National Party) in most states and another party (the National Party, but called the Liberal National Party) in Queensland.

    On the other hand, I’m not a Queenslander, so I might’ve completely misunderstood the situation.

  4. jquiggin
    July 26th, 2008 at 16:47 | #4

    Actually Tristan, my original prediction, back in 2004
    http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2004/01/19/beattie-to-win/

    was that Qld would never have another National Party premier.

    That’s looking pretty good.

    The prediction of a federal merger was made in Nov 2007, and my guess is still that it will happen some time in the next few years. I can’t see the NSW and Victorian Nats folding up completely, and it seems silly for the Libs in those states to resist a name change when they will completely control the merged party.

  5. Jill Rush
    July 27th, 2008 at 00:19 | #5

    In view of the events the last week in SA the idea of a merger of Nationals and Liberals there is highly unlikely in the short to medium term. The Liberals have attacked the National Karlene Maywald over the billing disasters of SA Water. The National/Labor alliance appears to be locked in with Kevin Foley taking a lot of the heat to deflect it from the National Minister.

  6. wilful
    July 28th, 2008 at 10:26 | #6

    Peter Ryan is the only opposition in Victoria. He wont be packing up camp for Ted Bailleau.

  7. Ian Gould
    July 28th, 2008 at 10:33 | #7

    So where will Liberal National Federal MPs be seated?

    Will they caucus with the National or Liberal parties?

    Presumably the current MPs will continue as members of their current Federal parties but what happens with future MPs?

  8. July 28th, 2008 at 12:34 | #8

    Ian,
    IIRC the Libs and Nats are already effectively combined in the NT. Any NT reps get to decide with whom they caucus. Not that it makes an awful lot of difference – the Libs and Nats have no signed Pledge, so caucus is a little less important than in the ALP.

  9. July 28th, 2008 at 13:14 | #9

    Regarding the NSW Labor situation, the recent comments by Abe Saffron’s son are extremely disquieting. Anyone who has scratched the surface of the Wran government would not be surprised at such old stories coming out: what’s really disturbing is how much corruption remains in place.

    Whatever happened to the “quaint” old-fashioned idea of a Royal Commission anyway?

  10. July 28th, 2008 at 14:20 | #10

    Oh, sorry John. I didn’t recall your 2004 prediction.

  11. Ian Gould
    July 28th, 2008 at 15:02 | #11

    Generally speaking you’re correct Andrew but if the Queensland LNP members chose to sit as Liberals I suspect the Nationals might shrink so much they’d lose official Party status and the additional resources that go with it.

    If that happened, I suspect the two parties would merge nationally in a matter of months.

    The separate National Party caucus can have a big impact on internal Coalition politics. Malcolm Fraser was a master of getting controversial issues passed by Cabinet and then getting them pushed through the National Party room on the votes of National ministers (who had to vote for the measure or breach Cabinet solidarity)and then use the fact the Nationals had supported the proposal to steamroller the Liberal back bench.

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