Sunday, October 31, 2004

Coalition self-destruction watch, part II

In an earlier and highly perceptive post: Bad news for the Liberals: they control the House and the Senate... I offered the view that the Coalition would find control over the Senate less than fulfilling, mainly due to the fact that it would allow internal divisions to come to the fore.

And barely had the electrons dried on the AEC’s computerised election score card when this was reported:

While the Government will from July 1 next year no longer be forced to
negotiate with minor parties to pass legislation, newly elected Queensland Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce declared he wanted public funding for abortions stopped and restrictions on the market share of retail giants Woolworths and Coles Myer in return for his controlling vote.

The demands come on top of warnings from Mr Joyce and two of his four other Senate Nationals colleagues that Telstra service levels in the bush were not yet up to scratch and could stand in the way of the full sale of the telecommunications giant.

Mr Joyce, who with Liberal Russell Trood snared the last two Queensland spots in the declaration of the poll yesterday, insisted he was not obliged to toe the Coalition line.

’I will be a senator for the Queensland National Party first and foremost and it's the policies of the Queensland Nationals that I'll support,’ Mr Joyce said.

Jeez, the guy isn’t taking his seat for 8 months and is already laying down (politically very difficult) demands.

Nevermind the fact that Joyce is only part of a fourth-term governing coalition because of the Prime Minister’s amazing political acumen (love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit, he knows his stuff), he apparently believes that being the 39th confirmed Coalition Senator entitles him to behave like a bizarro world Bob Brown.

Can civil war and a breakdown of the rule of law be far away?

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