Queensland Liberal and National parties move towards becoming a single party

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Liberal and National parties in Queensland have moved towards unification following separate meetings today. In most states of Australia and at the federal level the two parties co-operate with each other to form a coalition.

The coalition is generally led by the more dominant party, which in other states and at the federal level is generally the Liberals. In Queensland this is reversed.

If the Queensland proposal is successful it will create a single conservative party in the state. Many see it as the only way to challenge Peter Beattie's Labor government, which holds a 31-seat majority in Queensland's lower house.

The idea was originally floated by Queensland Nationals leader Lawrence Springborg two years ago but was rejected by most Liberals who feared such a merger would disassociate them from the federal Liberals. The idea was also unpopular with National party members.

The new party would be led by Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg, currently of the Nationals, with Liberals leader Bob Quinn as his deputy. Liberal State Director Geoff Greene said that the party would follow a Liberal-style structure with branding to be "negotiated".

The news has made big shockwaves in Canberra with most of the fedreal National party with Mark Vaile strongly against the move and Queensland senaton Banabry Joyce saying he would sit as an indepent.

Mr Geoff Greene said that there would be discussions held in Canberra over the coming days. It is believed that Liberal Prime Minister, John Howard will be involved in the discussions. If the parties merge, both will need to make changes to their constitutions.