Home > Oz Politics > Campbell’s cockamamie campaign

Campbell’s cockamamie campaign

March 22nd, 2011

Brisbane Lord Mayor ‘Concrete’ Campbell Newman has announced that he wants to be State Premier, but is not prepared to give up his current job to run for the office. Rather, he plans to run for a seat at the next election, then challenge for the leadership of the LNP, which, he hopes will have a majority. Like Malcolm McKerras and others, I’m bemused by this strategy. What is the Parliamentary LNP supposed to do between now and the next election, and what kind of campaign can be run on this basis? Will there be two policy speeches?

Supposing that Newman has majority support in the Parliamentary LNP, their best option would seem to be deposing the current leader Langbroek (no great loss there, admittedly) and replacing him with someone willing to act as a stand-in. That would be a pretty miserable position to occupy (imagine the fun the government will have with it) but perhaps someone can be found to do it. The situation in the City Council will be similarly farcical, giving Labor a chance of regaining its majority.

However, I suspect that reality will sink in soon, and that this cockamamie idea will be abandoned. Either Newman will back away from state politics or he’ll have to follow the standard route in such circumstances finding someone willing to stand aside and create a by-election.

Between the successful management of floods and this farce, a Bligh government that seemed doomed (deservedly so in my view) now looks to have a good chance of retaining office.

Update It looks as if they are going with the “stand-in” plan, with Jeff Seeney as the bunny. Both Langbroek and Springborg have quit. Seeney certainly won’t outshine Newman, but he can still do the LNP plenty of damage. I still predict Newman will be forced to run for a seat in Parliament before long. Perhaps one of the departing leadership team will be kind enough to make way for him, but I wouldn’t count on it.

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  1. Doug
    March 22nd, 2011 at 12:51 | #1

    Can anyone explain how this is going to work? Inside Parliament what authority would any “temporary” or interim leader of the LNP have? You can imagine the interjections in a policy debate “Have you cleared that with Campbell?”

    Everything Newman does now as Lord Mayor will be viewed through the lens of his parliamentary ambitions – this is truly weird.

  2. Fran Barlow
    March 22nd, 2011 at 13:09 | #2

    Perhaps he should announce he is running for the Federal LNP leadership …

  3. rog
    March 22nd, 2011 at 13:34 | #3

    Langbroek just quit!

  4. March 22nd, 2011 at 14:43 | #4

    “a Bligh government that seemed doomed (deservedly so in my view)” – come on John, the worst Labor government on its worst day is better than the best conservative government on its best day. Stop trying to be even-handed, they don’t deserve it.

  5. Chris Grealy
    March 22nd, 2011 at 15:20 | #5

    Perhaps JPL could resign from Parliament to make way for Caaaampbell. Of course, he’d have to move to the Gold Coast, or nobody down there would vote for him.
    But seriously, the LNP will not have any actual leader under this brilliant plan, at least until the election is over.
    It seems that JPL and the Borg were disgusted enough by all the factional manipulation sabotage that plan the best way they knew how. It’s a hell of a sabot, too!

  6. PeterS
    March 22nd, 2011 at 15:30 | #6

    But Newman is head-butting the Peter Principle already in his present position; what use will he be?

    Well … no worse than current LNP offerings, I suppose – but really!

  7. March 22nd, 2011 at 15:49 | #7

    If Can-Do were to step down as Lord Mayor of Brisbane before next Thursday (12 months out from next mayoral election) we’d have to do that nasty democracy thing where the people get to elect their Lord Mayor.

    If he hangs out and quits after that, we’ll get an “appointed” Lord Mayor, probably Quirk or maybe (shudder) Norm Wyndham or Amanda Cooper.

    Maybe the Local Government Minister, Paul Lucas, could sack the council and we could start again?

    We could get it right this time and elect Punxsie Lord Mayor!

  8. March 22nd, 2011 at 20:16 | #8

    We have the dubious fortune to live in interesting times.

    “Joh for PM!” was universally ridiculed outside the circles responsible for its creation.

    This is a re-engineered attempt at the same thing.

    Here’s hoping we get a hung parliament with independents and minor parties holding balance of power.

    As it is, you can kiss your assets goodbye!

  9. iain
    March 22nd, 2011 at 20:24 | #9

    If “concrete” Newman gets up and does as good a job at running Queensland as he did at “fixing” King George Square – we’ll clearly all have to move elsewhere.

    Has any of his infrastructure projects actually worked?

    - Clem 7 is an unmitigated disaster,
    - the Go-Between bridge is a useless clone of William Jolly that nobody uses and that just hastens the demise of West End,
    - the floating walkway aptly demonstrates his contribution to Brisbane.

  10. Alice
    March 22nd, 2011 at 20:29 | #10

    @David Horton
    says “the worst Labor government on its worst day is better than the best conservative government on its best day.”

    Except in the case of the NSW Kenneally state Government (front page SMH – we see some chappie called Warwick Watkins referred to ICAC over some land dealings in Pittwater which the unions sold for 11 million and the government is buying back for now 12.5 million.

    My bloody question is where did the difference go and then read on folks – we have a consortium selling so called cheap computers to unions nsw – with executives on the board like that sleaze one Roozendahl and sleaze two Arbib.

    Jeez – no – a liberal government on its worst day would be better than the current lot of cretins in NSW labor and if you think the Bligh government is far behind all I can say is you are dreaming. Ive never seen Labor so blatantly profiteering, so corrupt, so disconnected with the traditional labor base, so right wing, so disgusting.

    I dont know where people go from here but when Labor outliberals, out skanks, out disconnects from the majority, turns inward in rewarding mates at the expense of taxpayers – where do we go. I know where Im going. Im giving Barry OFarrell in liberal in NSW one last chance because he is a moderate and labor stinks.

    Im not going green because they have somehow allowed some car rebirthing company associate to become mayor of Leichhardt and a greens candiate. Infiltrated by a crook and the greens should be smart enough to judge potential greens candindates. Thats what has happened to Labor – rotted from within by corrupt deal makers for self interest.

    If Barry doesnt get it right this time Im going feral.

  11. Alice
    March 22nd, 2011 at 20:54 | #11

    And people blame Bob Carr and Egan for putting Labor off track in NSW with all this privatisation neo liberal wrecking policies? Wrong – they sure as hell contributed but the person who can cop all the blame for Labors woes is no less than Paul Keating an his “deregulation business model”.
    So now we have an ex employee of “Boston consulting group”‘s wife (KK) that is Premier recommending we sell thousands of schools and sack thousands of teachers.

    For gods sake go KK. Go back to neoliberal land where she came from. She is a yankee plant (more of the same that has wrecked the US economy).

    You know for someone born here, I am sick of being treated like a US citizen.

  12. David C
    March 22nd, 2011 at 22:01 | #12

    Thank goodness we have optional preferential voting. There is no way I’ll be wasting a preference on the LNP or Labor.

  13. SJ
    March 22nd, 2011 at 22:11 | #13

    That’s last comment was pretty much spot-on, Alice.

  14. March 23rd, 2011 at 04:28 | #14

    Alice I share all of your disgust and anger with the way the ALP has developed in the last 20 years. The social conservatism and neoconservative economic policies are almost as bad as much of what the Liberal Party ideology involves. I also am outraged by the links between NSW Labor and developers, and the almost total disregard they have for the environment. But if you have hopes of O’Farrell as a gentle small-l liberal issuing in a new dawn then you haven’t been paying attention to the right wing nasties at the core of the Liberals, nor to the policies of the Nationals, nor to the far right little groups that will be controlling the Upper House. Hope you have your feral gear ready!

  15. CJ Morgan
    March 23rd, 2011 at 08:23 | #15

    I’ve said for quite some time that the best thing the Bligh government has going for it is the shambolic Opposition, but these latest shenanigans are remarkable even for the LNP. I suspect it will get worse for them once the apparently dire financial straits of Campbell’s Brisbane City Council come to light…

    While I’m quite enjoying the schadenfreude, this development underlines the problem with Queensland’s version of ‘democracy’. No upper house, optional preferential voting, single member electorates and a bumbling excuse for an Opposition all add up to the Government being able to do what it likes and still get away with it.

    While I generally share David Horton’s sentiments, I find the Qld ALP government appallingly ‘conservative’ politically – but the way the electoral system is set up it is far more difficult for e.g. the Greens to be elected to parliament than in other States.

  16. Scott
    March 23rd, 2011 at 08:39 | #16

    Ah, Queensland politics. Where Dodgy Bros. Politics reigns supreme.

    I am currently dwelling in the Canadian province of British Columbia, which has a political culture which is quite as daft and insane as Queensland. Here, we have a new Premier elect, who was elected leader of the ruling BC Liberals by the rank-and-file members (both major parties in BC lost their leaders late last year, and had long rank-and-file members elections). Anyway, our new Premier elect, Christy Clarke, had the support of one (1) member of the BC Liberal caucus, and has yet to find herself a seat in the legislature; she was a Minister but resigned in about 2005 to pontificate on talk-back radio.

    (BC Liberals are the conservative side of politics in British Columbia; a fusion of the federal Conservative and federal Liberals, united in the goal of keeping progressive party the NDP out of government, in what to my Australian eyes feels like a throwback to 1900′s Australia.

    But Queensland politics is the show that just keeps on giving. I will watch this space.

  17. Fran Barlow
    March 23rd, 2011 at 09:48 | #17

    @David C

    Nor I. At least in this election, I will be able to vote Green and make it count.

  18. Jill Rush
    March 23rd, 2011 at 10:44 | #18

    The politics of Queensland and NSW are symptoms of the way that corruption occurs on both sides. The problem with Alice’s solution is that it is likely to change one form for another. Voting Greens will probably not result in a Green representative in parliament but it may and that is what is needed people who are outside the two party structure and put those parties on notice. It should have happened after the last NSW election but it seems that the damned spots stayed the same despite the electoral warning given at the time.

  19. Michael
    March 23rd, 2011 at 11:29 | #19

    @Fran Barlow

    Fran, there isn’t a Federal LNP – its purely a QLD disease.

  20. Jim Birch
    March 23rd, 2011 at 12:50 | #20

    Truth is stranger than fiction. The LNP must think they’ve had the nod from God to even contemplate this. Newman must think he’s Superman. The phrase “leaps off tall buildings in a single bound” comes to mind.

  21. Freelander
    March 23rd, 2011 at 15:05 | #21

    I suppose all this goes to demonstrate “Never underestimate the size of a politician’s ego”.

    Difficult to see how Campbell’s ‘selfless’ act will help their chances.

  22. Freelander
    March 23rd, 2011 at 15:14 | #22

    The opposition leader pro tem will be able to convey Campbell’s twitterized thoughts to the parliament for the time being. Don’t see how it won’t work?

    Unless in the meantime someone else outside the house dramatically nominates to be leader after the next election.

  23. Fran Barlow
    March 23rd, 2011 at 15:49 | #23

    @Michael

    Nice catch … ;-)

  24. Freelander
    March 23rd, 2011 at 16:09 | #24

    The drama unfolds after a new, out of house, entry into the leadership race…

    Opposition leader pro tem addresses the Qld parliament: “And now I convey a quick thought from leader candidate one, Campbell Newman, to be followed by a short appeal for LNP caucus support from leader candidate number two.”

  25. Freelander
    March 23rd, 2011 at 17:57 | #25

    An out of house candidates’ caucas room debate, conveyed and moderated by the leader pro tem, would be well worth seeing.

    Possible second candidates: Joe Hockey, Malcolm Turnbull (no, I don’t think he’s given up on the main prize yet), Nick Minchin, Bob Katter?

    This latest drama just shows that Queensland is still haunted by the ghost of Bjelke-Petersen.

  26. March 23rd, 2011 at 21:50 | #26

    All very funny, except that up here in cane-toad land we have a serious problem.

    The ABC is literally in bed with the Murdoch press. The Murdoch press has a monopoly.

    The Fairfax media is fatally compromised by attempting to beat the Murdoch mob in that (ABC/Murdoch) demographic.

    Scott Prasser from the Catholic University seems to be QLD’s only political analyst when it comes to feeding the feeble-minded with the opinion of what to make of all this.

    Upshot is: go to the shop, the pub or the local school and you will find that the great unrepresented swill are now already talking about voting “Labor” or “Newman”.

    Sad, but true.

    For what it’s worth: Blighty was going to lose anyway, if she goes early it will be a landslide. If her crew wasn’t in on the joke she’d be best advised to just sit back and make Campbell Newman and Campbell St, Bowen Hills (the Rupe nest) do all the hard work for the next 12 months. Like KK in NSW, she can continue to destroy the State for her neo-con masters in the meantime. Easy.

    PS: Hilariously, the gov is trying to make miles out of the idea that Feeney isn’t independent but is taking his orders from elsewhere! Whereas Bligh’s team on the other hand is…..?

  27. Freelander
    March 23rd, 2011 at 22:14 | #27

    @Megan

    Yes. I suppose you’re right. Qld does tend to have more of red-neck and knuckle-dragger demographic. Maybe you are watching the birth of [a] (not another one) nation, but of another Joh. Maybe Kylie will sing “We can be so lucky” at Campbell’s swearing in.

  28. Alice
    March 23rd, 2011 at 22:24 | #28

    ha ha – not another one nation! Hang on – Tony Abbot has been secretly trained by the redhead (not that redhead) for years. He now has a chip on hs shoulder.

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