Keep the chaos out of parliament

Voters should not support individuals and minors who have a proven track record of disrupting

POLITICS is a game of numbers. You either have them or you don't. If you have them, you are probably the government.

If you don't have them, you are probably the opposition.

If you are the government, then it probably means that more voters wanted you on the basis that they were attracted to your policies and programs.

Some cynics of course would argue that voters simply disliked your mob less than the other mob.

In any event, it doesn't matter - the party with the most seats is mandated to govern for a term.

Seems simple enough?

As a general rule, our State and federal systems of democracy are simple enough at first glance and they seem to operate fairly efficiently when compared to other models.

However, there are two exceptions to this rule.

The first exception relates to bicameral government (those with an Upper House or Senate) that do not have the numbers in their Upper House and have an opposition or crossbench that are generally hostile to its program.

Think the current Abbott government on July 1 last year.

The second exception is where there is a hung parliament in which the balance of power rests with a minority cohort of independents and/or minor parties (in either a unicameral or bicameral legislative model), where again they support a government on matters of confidence or supply, but reserve and exercise the right to adopt any position they like on other aspects of the government's legislative program.

Think the arrangements of the Gillard government in 2010.

Both these exceptions to the rule make for an unstable, chaotic and mostly unpredictable environment for the operations of the duly and popularly elected government of the day.

After almost five years of this at a federal level, this is just the sort of thing that business and our general community don't want to see at State level.

After the machinations surrounding the formation of the Gillard government five years ago, with political independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter, some political commentators declared the 'hung' government was the 'will' of the Australian people!

Imagine that. Fifteen million voting Australians had cleverly decided to break the one hundred and fifty federal seats into almost two equal halves before socially engineering three independents to take command of the country.

The suggestion was mathematical nonsense.

Whilst it may well have reflected the intention of the voters in those three federal divisions where the independents were elected, it most certainly did not represent the intentions of the nation.

So, we must ask ourselves, why should Queensland be interested in this?

Again, the answer is simple.

Queensland featured in the difficult electoral circumstances confronted by both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott thanks to Bob Katter and Clive Palmer.

Both men have heavily contributed to the stifling political environments for these governments.

Both have caused many of the headaches as these governments confront extremely challenging economic times.

Bob Katter achieved nothing during the incumbency of the Gillard government other than to extend the length of time of Gillard and Rudd's tortured terms.

These terms will be remembered for leaving our nation with deep, long-term structural economic challenges.

Clive Palmer's Upper House team, along with Senators Muir and Lambie, continue to co-ordinate with the federal opposition to oppose many of the Abbott government's fiscal reforms.

This only serves to postpone the ability of that government to address the inherited economic declines we confront following six years of a Labor government held to ransom by a gaggle of independents.

So now we must fast forward to Queensland State election campaign 2015.

From watching the disorder in the federal arena, voters now have a sound idea of the contributions that a 'Katterite' or a 'Palmerite' may make to the functions of our State government.

Can you imagine what level of co-operation would exist if an LNP government were returned with the Palmer United Party (PUP) in the chamber?

Bob Katter has already demonstrated a blinded willingness to support the Labor Party, both whilst it is in government as well as through preference deals during election campaigns.

The end result would be chaos.

Queenslanders need to carefully consider their vote on election day.

The true value of their vote rests with electing a local representative that they think will be part of the team positioned in the engine room of government.

Voters should not support individuals and minors who have a proven track record of disrupting the machinery of government, irrespective of their political persuasion.

We have had a taste of the Katters and the Palmers in situations where they have both artificially found themselves in minority power positions and the thought of that situation being duplicated in my beloved State of Queensland causes me to break out in a cold sweat.

Irrespective of who wakes up to take responsibility for government in Queensland at the end of this month, they will have a big fiscal repair task in their lap.

With those prevailing circumstances, it is clear to any considered thinker that Katter and Palmer, along with any other independent, will simply make that enormous task impossible.

Remember this. A balance of power is a balance of power.

Accordingly, I would not want the future of my State’s fortunes in the hands of people who have a proven political track record of contributing to our nation’s economic woes in the first instance.

A Katter or Palmer vote is a vote for chaos.

Barry O'Sullivan

Barry O'Sullivan

is a Queensland-based Senator for the Liberal National Party
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


John Niven
24/01/2015 8:56:18 AM

Here we go again. The sky didn't fall in when Gough Whitlam was elected anymore than when John Howard was elected.
24/01/2015 8:38:17 AM

Agree with you on this Nico. It is one of the quirks of democracy that we can ,and do, end up with govts being elected with a total vote less than 50%. Good reason to have more than just 2 major party's. They of course squeal about 'being held to ransom' but that is crap. They have to learn to live with the decision of the majority ie 50% +1 vote. This often means having extremes of a party being brought undone which they interpret as 'chaos'. We are long overdue for a system of CIR ( Citizen Initiated Referenda) to find out what the voters want on particular issues.
Farmer Joe
24/01/2015 8:27:39 AM

Well stuff me, I thought Government was supposed to serve the whole country not just the people who voted for one Party.
23/01/2015 3:58:27 PM

Talk of chaos from O'Sullivan after his behavior at QLD Inc, let alone his expletive ridden parliamentary speech in Feb of last year is hypocrisy.Callide has been a safe LNP/NP seat since 1998,Jeff Seeney as MP. What has party politics done for Callide? As a safe seat we are ignored and taken for granted. Cancel the school buses, try and close our little hospitals.MP Seeney does not even attempt to pretend he is in the area wooing voters.He has shown up once since the election was called.Why not think Independent or minor, they might do something for us
23/01/2015 2:16:39 PM

It's a fairly simple-minded version of democracy that Sen. O'Sullivan wants us to admire. Real life is different. Very often, the party which forms government has received fewer than 50% of the vote. They may have won the race - but more people voted against them than for them. This is hardly a "mandate". A multi-party system (plus independents) means that issues have to be stated, understood, and debated, and passed by a majority of the votes of the parliament. There is no reason why democracy should be "stable" (that is, inert.). Democracy should be alive, passionate, and well-informed.
23/01/2015 1:19:23 PM

So Big Bazza wants to tell us who we can vote for - yet his constituents cannot get him to vote how they want him to.
Bushie Bill
23/01/2015 11:10:28 AM

Actually, Qman, it is both.
23/01/2015 9:50:07 AM

You either have will, and the guts to use your numbers, or you don't. The Nationals haven't used their numbers for more than a half century. I'm not sure if it's because they don't have the will and the guts. Or it's because they are too stupid to even realise they have the numbers. Unfortunately I suspect it's the latter.
Bush mattersBush matters - LNP Senator Barry O'Sullivan tackles the issues facing Aussie primary producers and people across rural and regional Australia.


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