February 04, 2004

Rogue Liberal Candidate puts a ceiling on Coalition vote

First let me put my conflict of interest forward. I was in a small way responsible for Pauline Hanson becoming the member for Oxley. I voted for her in her preselection. There is a mitigating story there which I’m sure you don’t want to hear, but I would contend that everyone is entitled each election to one Pauline Hanson. But only one. The Coalition campaign has been plagued by not one, but three.

That’s not exactly correct. “Pauline Hanson” ought to be the generic name for a candidate who is disendorsed after nominations close and who therefore appears on the ballot paper with their former party’s name. The National Party got in early enough in Maryborough. They disendorsed their candidate at the last moment which meant he would not automatically remain on the ballot paper.

The National Party didn’t get their timing right with Dan van Blarcom whose Nazi Party past led to him being disendorsed. He will appear on the ballot paper and he will have National Party next to his name, and who knows what the result might be. There is a lot of anger in the seat of Whitsunday which was briefly held by One Nation.

Another who fails the Hanson test is the Liberal Party candidate for Ashgrove, Terry Mendies. Liberal Leader Bob Quinn unwisely stepped in to defend him. I’m not sure why as Mendies is no friend of his and is obvious trouble. Mendies fails the test because, although he should be disendorsed, he won’t be.

Mendies is one of the main movers in Michael Johnson’s campaign team, and Treasurer of the Ryan FEC of the Liberal Party. As such he would have been a significant player in the attempt to have Bruce Flegg, one of the few stars the Liberal Party has been able to find this election, disendorsed as the candidate for Moggill.

Tonight Channel 10 News showed interviews with three disgruntled customers of his failed roof repair business – including the “little old lady” who in one interview probably did more damage to Mr Mendies than the Opposition has done to Peter Beattie in the four week campaign.

The Building Services Authority – the “ASIC of the state building industry” – is also pursuing Mr Mendies through the courts for money it alleges it is owed as a result of the failure of one of his repair companies.

Mendies – who did not hesitate to try and milk his weekend dustup with a couple of youths for all its dubious worth through the media earlier in the week – was nowhere to be seen when the television cameras arrived at his residence, leaving it to his wife to tell them (from behind a security door) he was not available.

Liberal Leader Bob Quinn, turned in only a marginally better performance, saying he did not know Mendies that well, and it would be up to the people of Ashgrove to decide. Bob, I wish you all the best. Cut this guy loose. He is an obvious example of why the Liberal Party is failing this election, and that failure will destroy all the work and personal capital that you have put into the Liberal Party.

If Quinn won’t act, it is up to President Michael Caltabiano to do so. The signs are that the Sicilian faction is about to try to hang the results of this election on Quinn. According to their argument this election would not have been so disastrous for the Liberals if Quinn had not "insisted" on forming a Coalition with the National Party. They are also saying that because most of the candidates are his, then their failure is his failure.

Mendies is not a Quinn candidate, he is a Johnson candidate and as a result of the alliance that runs the Liberal Party, part of the Sicilian faction. If he stays as a candidate that is the only reason. Quinn is misguidedly trying damage control presumably knowing that he would be thwarted by the organization if he tried to have Mendies disendorsed.

Ashgrove was never a possibility for the Liberal Party. The only question now is how low the vote will get, and how many other genuinely possible wins it will take with it?

Posted by Graham at February 4, 2004 11:10 PM

If Quinn had not insisted on the coalition, the opposition might have done slightly better overall but the Liberals would have done much worse. Despite the Nationals' problems with some candidates, they have looked by far the more professional and disciplined outfit. If they had been running in a lot of the "liberal" seats they might well have outdone the Liberals in votes. Even if this did not result in coalition wins it could have completely crushed the Liberals.

As it is, Beattie will be laughing all the way to the government benches. Not only will he have convincigly won the election but it looks as though the opposition will be even more divided than before.

Posted by: Alex McConnell at February 5, 2004 08:24 PM

and whom pray tell is El Duce going to appoint leader if he knocks off Quinn?

Thanks to the Sicilians, Quinn & Flegg may
be the only Liberal MPs after the next election!

Posted by: A Liberal at February 5, 2004 05:23 PM
Graham Young
John Black
Mark Bahnisch
Michael Lee