Only Sarah Palin has run a campaign as crazy as Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s and now only Rupert Murdoch can save him, writes Bob Ellis.
Only Sarah Palin has run a campaign as crazy as Campbell Newman’s. It may well be that Murdoch will save him. Certainly, the ‘undecided’ People’s Forum voters were a help. But, after yesterday, when he told Toowoombans vote for me or else, the democracy is up for sale, his task is harder now. Is there a Queenslander left who admires him? I doubt it.
Most startling is the lead over him Palaszczuk has in the latest Newspoll as preferred Premier: 46 to 36. This, for a female Opposition Leader, has only one precedent in world history, that of Aung San Suu Kyi. It derives from Newman’s sarmajor personality: shout, shout, and keep shouting — and the cowed, shuffling conscripts will do what you say.
It is likely that he lost this election, as Bligh did hers, within weeks of his victory. The first thing he did was abolish the Premier’s Literary Awards, thus saving each taxpayer one cent a week. Arnie Schwarzenegger abolishing the Oscars would have shown similar cunning. The awards cost about $400,000. The tourism generated by them that weekend would have covered it. If it didn’t, the remaining half cent a week per taxpayer was not too big a cost.
This was at the start of his administration. And now, at the end of it, we have what must be called The Toowoomba Declaration. It’s up to Paluszczuk, not me, he said, to prove she’s not a bikie’s moll and if you want any money spent here, vote for me.
It was corruption writ plain and large: this democracy is for sale and any big lie will do.
But he lost the election, probably – if he did – a good deal before that. It was when he sacked the first midwife. Better some babies die than we squander this money on these interfering harridans, he was saying. Better some babies are never born.
Ellis’s Third Law, The first sign of incompetence is charisma, is worth remembering here. The charismatic man does not listen and consequently never learns.
Newman in the Forum talked three-quarters of the time, nearly always boastfully, sometimes charmingly. But he ended up, after all that talk, in an excruciating capitulation to principles, by Tony Fitzgerald, he had earlier denounced. He denounced them because he did not, earlier on, read and consider them. He was too busy talking, laying down the law.
But it is not as if he, like Howard, had 20 years of ministerial and shadow ministerial experience at his back when he was first uplifted. It is not as if the LNP is an old party — it is a new party, which has lost at least 10 per cent since its huge landslide, with many, many broken promises and a hundred thousand disrupted lives to defend or ignore.
It is not as if they have done well. Unemployment is up, many prices are up, the doctors, nurses, police and legal officials are in uproar, and an adjacent Abbott Government is threatening old people – and there are a lot of old people in Queensland – with various gradations of impoverishment.
And Newman, yesterday, said vote for me or else. One is reminded of Woody Allen saying, in Sleepers:
"Give us what we want or the nose gets it."
He may get there, but no-one will vote for him gladly, or trustingly. The bookies have him losing his seat and it takes a special kind of politician – like Howard – to do that.
One who is out of touch and proud of it.
And we will see what we shall see.
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Campbell Newman got his brains from a half-cooked cauliflower. Google it. Prove me wrong.— Dave Donovan (@davrosz) January 24, 2015
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