Sunday, July 27, 2008

QLD Lib, Nats Unite

Yesterday the Queensland branches of the Liberal Party and the National Party each passed separate resolutions to unite, becoming the LNP - Liberal National Party.

There is some irony in the name: the National Party was never really about 'liberalism', at least not in the way that Liberal Party icon Sir Robert Menzies envisioned it. They have always been about the "free market", as long as there are protectionist policies, government handouts to farmers, and monopoly organisations. AWB springs to mind. However, perhaps Menzies is already turning in his grave over the damage the (rather extreme) right wing of the Liberal Party has already done to his party.

Queensland's Mal Springborg, former leader of the Qld National Party, and new leader of the LNP said that (instantly) State Opposition MP's from the Liberal & National Parties were now automatic members of the LNP. It remains to be seen if they all want that: perhaps the politically expedient desire to be re-elected will ensure they do. Not so for former Howard Government Minister Mal Brough. He lost his seat at the last election, and they found a job for him as State President of the Queensland branch of the Liberal Party. He is unhappy at the merger, and unsure of his political future. He walked out of the Liberal Party State Convention after the vote.

The Federal Coalition opposition will now consist of 3 parties. there might be a minor reshuffle if the Federal Liberal and National Parties want to exert their superior numbers. Expect further tension as some conservative Queensland MP's and Senators are asked to reflect different priorities, set by the new LNP.