Two things LNP needs to do to win next election
Back in the old Bjelke-Petersen days, the National Party was the best political fighting machine in the country. Led by the wily Sir Joh, they were unbeatable until Tony Fitzgerald held an inquiry that found widespread political and police corruption.
In the 1983 election, the National Party - a party founded in the bush to represent people on the land - remarkably won six Brisbane seats. Seats such as Aspley, Mt Gravatt, Wynnum and Toowong went to the Nationals and they followed that up three years later in 1986 by winning 47 seats, including half a dozen in Brisbane, enabling Sir Joh to rule with an iron fist.
The then state secretary of the Nationals was Mike Evans, surely one of the sharpest political brains in Queensland. Now nearly 80, he believes the key to the renaissance of the current LNP is to recapture Brisbane, where the Labor Party has been dominant since 2015.
The key to winning seats in the state's capital is to convince voters that the LNP is the best bet for private enterprise. "Joh was all about being an advocate for private enterprise, whether you lived in Cloncurry or Coolangatta,'' said Evans.
"People trusted him to deliver for them and he did. Small business swore by him.''
Mr Evans said if the LNP wanted to win the next election in 2024 it had to do two things. Firstly, it must appoint people "from all walks of life'' to its policy committees so that MPs knew exactly what they wanted. Secondly, it had to put a broom through the state executive and appoint someone like Sky News host and former federal Minister Gary Hardgrave to the presidency.
"I think (Lawrence) Springborg would be great (for president) but he's got a fair bit on his plate and (former premier Rob) Borbidge needs to be there in some capacity,'' he said.
"But Hardgrave gets the city narrative and is well liked in the bush. He's the best bet.''
Hardgrave was expelled by the current state executive after criticising the party when he was 4BC's drive host. He's been told his nomination to rejoin the party won't be accepted. It's understood he is keen to be part of any new leadership era. Evans knows his stuff. He was appointed in 1970 to head up the organisational wing of the Nationals at the age of 29, overseeing seven straight poll victories.
There are many conservatives like Evans who have reached out after the Courier Mail-Sunday Mail-Sky News investigation into the toxicity which has enveloped the current LNP administration. These are people with a deep and abiding passion and commitment to the conservative cause, many of whom have been expelled or suspended for expressing views that are at odds with the party powerbrokers.
Even Springborg, the architect of the LNP merger, was axed as an LNP trustee after questioning the leaking of sensitive polling against then leader, Deb Frecklington. Springborg, along with Borbidge, are regarded universally as the two most respected figures in Queensland conservative politics.
If the top brass are so autocratic and fragile that they have no problem kicking Springborg to the kerb for expressing a view, imagine how they treat others? Acting LNP president Cnthia Hardy has described Borbidge, Springborg, former deputy premier Jeff Seeney, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Hardgrave as "cowards'' for going on the record to criticise the current LNP establishment.
She has also described as a "work of fiction'' my three-part series which characterised the dysfunctionality and toxicity between the headquarters and the parliamentary wings of the organisation. This is despite conducting 44 interviews, many off the record, for fear of retribution, all portraying a party in crisis and in denial.
Ms Hardy, who I'm told is a lovely woman, has demonstrated an appalling naivety and lack of understanding of the party she purports to represent. By burying her head in the sand to the problems facing the conservatives in Queensland, she has disqualified herself from being president.
Politics is brutal. There are no second prizes. The Labor Party knows how to beat the Tories at elections and while the current senior executive team remains at the LNP, they will continue to win. When a jockey puts in a bad ride, the trainer sacks him or her. To use a racing analogy, the LNP has been four wide the entire the past 30 years.
New LNP leader David Crisafulli needs all the help he can get. He needs his team of MPs firing, backed by an organisational wing and enthusiastic volunteers who are committed and ready to take up the challenge. Right now, the party is divided and the grassroots are angry. They are angry at the way the state executive has allowed itself to be out-manoeuvred and out-gunned by Labor.
The fact is the leadership of the state LNP organisational wing is delusional and it either can't or won't accept the reality that it's time is up. At the LNP's upcoming state conference, there must be a massive and enduring broom put through the leadership.
Unless the members demand and insist on change, the LNP will be in Opposition for the next 50 years. Queensland does not need - or deserve - that.
Bench this one
RUMBLINGS among the cops towards a magistrate who is refusing to sign arrest warrants against certain individuals.
Even worse, the magistrate won't sign domestic violence orders after hours, saying he's in a 9am-5pm job.
Violent partners don't do their thing during business hours. Tell that to a domestic violence target.
This magistrate, well known for such an attitude, should be benched.
Josh feels fit
IT SEEMS Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is fit for office. He's lost seven kilos working out on the stationary bike. "I try to do it every day now,'' he said.
Sri defies poll
MORE on plans by Cr Johnno Sri to establish a dog off leash area at James Warner Park, Kangaroo Point. Last week, residents met with Cr Sri to outline their concerns after a Courier-Mail poll showed more than 70 per cent of people were opposed to the plan, from about 1200 votes.
Many local residents say they are bewildered and confused with Cr Sri's decision-making process and angry at his refusal to place any weight on legitimate community feedback.
HOW many more racehorses need to break down before something is done about the Eagle Farm surface? The promising Wuddashoudacudda is now out for six months after jarring up on the flint-like track. The reluctance of some trainers to speak up is tragic.
A PROBE has been launched at Ipswich City Council into the alleged use of a creek as a dump site.
Council was advised five times yet no internal investigation has revealed anything, says a local.
The material includes up to 10 cubic metres of oil.
LIKE Twitter, LinkedIn is removing sensitive content and blocking accounts.
Originally published as Two things LNP needs to do to win next election