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.