I’ve been meaning to post on the merger between the National and Liberal parties in Queensland, pointing out that it makes no sense to have two separate parties in permanent coalition, and expressing a bit of surprise that the local parties got their act together so quickly. Now, however, it’s all off.
This is amazing good luck for the Beattie government, which has made more than its share of mis-steps lately, although I think the main thrust of policies, raising services to a level comparable with other states, and pushing the “Smart State” slogan as a counterweight to the notorious anti-intellectualism of the Joh era (and for that matter, the Nicklin and Gair eras before that – it was a Labor government that cut the number of school years in Queensland, a decision that has only just been reversed), has been sensible.
Whatever the government’s problems, it’s hard to see Queensland voters going for a National-led coalition again> I’ll repeat what I said in 2004
In the case of Queensland, Labor has an advantage that does not seem to have been remarked on. The only plausible alternative government is a Liberal-led coalition, but for historical reasons, this isn’t on offer. In fact there are only three Liberals in Parliament and of these only one is running for re-election. Instead the Opposition is in effect the National Party (there are also the remnants of One Nation and assorted independents). Even though the Nationals have held office for most of the past fifty years, I don’t think we’ll ever see another National Party premier.
Assuming no merger, I thought in 2004 that it would
take three more elections for Labor to lose. The Liberals need one to become a credible party rather than a trivial joke, a second to become the leading opposition party, and a third to beat Labor.
Having won a few more seats, and with Labor looking ragged, you could just about have said that the first of these stages had been passed, until the fiasco of the last few days.