Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bad history on Queensland

John Black, former Labor senator says:
"What you are seeing with the Howard demographic is a fundamental rewrite of federal political history...It is something like what [Franklin] Roosevelt did with Democrat votes in the southern states in the US. The really robust Coalition vote that Howard is getting in Queensland could translate into quite a significant long-term gain for the conservatives at the state level, in the same way that Roosevelt's strong support in the south won governorships for the Democrats in the southern states."
Dear me. The Democrats had an iron grip on the south, particularly at a state level, long before Roosevelt appeared on the scene. Roosevelt polled well in the south as you would expect any Democrat who won a presidential election during this period to do so, but the south had always been the strongest base of Democrat presidential support. if anything Roosevelt's attempt to change the Democrats into an urban liberal party endangered their southern support and the solid south cracked notably from 1948 onward. In Australia there is nothing unusual in Queensland voting different ways at the state and federal level. Since 1946 only twice in 1961 and 1990 has Queensland recorded a 2PP Labor majority at a federal election. Howard polls well in Queensland but you would expect any successful conservative federal leader to do so.

Michelle Grattan says:
It's hard to envisage how it would work in practice. They couldn't be one organisation at state level yet send two sets of representatives to Canberra. Would the Queenslanders sit separately, or be divided between the two parties? How would they fit into the formula for carving up the ministry between Liberals and Nationals?
Wrong again. It would be possible for a Liberal-National merger at the state level to send two sets of representatives to Canberra as federal MPs. MPs elected under the banner of the party could choose to caucus with either the Liberals or the Nationals. This is the case with the Country Liberal Party in the Northern Territory and was the case with previous Nationalist/UAP-Country mergers in Queensland and South Australia. Most MPs elected from a merged Queensland party would probably caucus with the Liberals I suspect. I have discussed the isssue of the National's identity here.


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