Sunday, 25 March 2012

LNP will suit Queenslanders nicely

No more hoity-toity mucking about.
Campbell Newman's election victory speech, during which he thanked the people of Queensland - sorry, thanked Queenslanders - for backing him was eerily downplayed in true Howard style. It was an exceptionally good example of what a humble leader should do if he wants to avoid annoying those he depends on. Howard was masterful at appearing statesmanlike and grovelling simultaneously, and Newman has taken a good few leaves out of the Howard playbook tonight. How many times did he thank voters? Hard to say until a transcript of the speech appears online, but it was a lot.

But that's not all he has in common with Howard. Listen to Newman in his opening sentences setting out the agenda that will dominate Queensland politics for the next three years. It doesn't take long. In just a few moments you clearly get the gist of the new realpolitik in the Deep North:
We said all along that this election was all about you - the good hard working people ... the people who work hard every single day to raise their families, to support their community, and to grow our economy.
The keywords are "work", families" and "community". It's just a short hop to "working families", the Howard-style soundbite from, say 2004, and a solid dose of libertarian social values. For the rest - the single women, the shiftworkers, the minorities, the gays, the Aborigines - it's going to be a while before the tide comes in. For the moment they are marooned above the high-water mark.

This LNP victory feels right for Queensland which, finally after so many years of progressive policies mucking up the good life north of the Tweed, can expect to be flattered in its down-home bloody-mindedness. Queenslanders love a scrap with the wowsers from Down South and even go one better on occasion, like banning smoking in the Queens Street Mall. But in the end they are more comfortable with no-nonsense, common-sense conservatism. Because of this, and because there's a progressive government in Canberra to hate, I don't think that the result in Queensland reflects badly on the federal Labor Party. This is a different game. Queenslanders have had enough of southerners' hoity-toity bullshit and they just want to wallow in good, old-fashioned reaction for a few years.

Maybe give it a decade.

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