Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Westminster System Bamboozles LNP

I have written before about how little our media understand the Westminster system of democracy.  Now we find that Queensland's Liberal National Party opposition doesn't get it either.

The LNP is notorious for rotating its leadership.  Most of the current MPs seem to have been leader or deputy, or tried to get themselves elected to these roles, over the last few years.  Yet despite this obvious wealth of leadership experience, they have decided to draft in a leader from outside - Brisbane's popular Lord Mayor Campbell Newman. 

Unfortunately for him (but probably fortunately for the rest of us) you can't be Opposition Leader in our State Parliament without being elected as a Member first.  So while Newman goes about the tedious business of getting pre-selected and then elected to the currently Labor-held seat of Ashgrove, Jeff Seeney will keep the seat warm for him - as he says "represent him in the Parliament".  I thought you were representing us, Jeff!

To those detractors who say that this is against all the principles of the Westminster system, Newman replies that he has done it before.  He successfully campaigned for the Mayoralty without being a Brisbane City Councillor.  If it worked once, why not again? 

This is true, but irrelevant.  The Lord Mayor of Brisbane is directly elected by the voters, not by the councillors, and does not hold a local Council seat.  You have to choose - local Councillor, or Mayor.  It is basically a Presidential system.  State politics is not.  You get elected to the parliament, then your fellow parliamentarians promote you to higher office on the basis of your performance as a local member.  You never stop representing your local electorate.  Unless you're Jeff Seeney, of course. 

Newman, with the connivance of the LNP organisation, has decided to bypass that boring local stuff.  He's running for Lord Mayor of Queensland.  Queensland doesn't have a Lord Mayor, Campbell!

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