Sections of the Liberal National Party (LNP) who are unhappy with Queensland’s representation in the Turnbull Government’s ministry are aiming to send a message with an unlikely push for a separate party room in Canberra. North Queensland-based Coalition senator Ian Macdonald wants Queensland MPs and senators to sit apart from the Liberal and National party rooms.
Although a motion at next month’s state convention does not appear to have enough support to pass, and was also voted down at a recent state executive meeting, it is a sign of growing dissatisfaction after Queensland delivered 21 seats out of 30 for the Government at the election.
“Queensland has extraordinarily well for the Coalition and always does that but the significance Queensland makes to the national Coalition never seems to be reflected in the portfolios given to Queenslanders,” Senator Macdonald said.
“This is a view I’ve held for some time. I spoke to Tony Abbott about this after the last election; I’ve spoken to Malcolm Turnbull about this.
“Clearly that’s made no difference.”
Matt Canavan was promoted into the ministry but Senator Macdonald said that was not enough.
“Queensland actually went back one in the ministry this time,” he said. “New South Wales that lost five or six seats went forward.”
Brandis plays down separation
Senator Macdonald was in the shadow outer ministry in opposition but did not receive a promotion when the Coalition won in 2013.
The ABC understands other senior figures in the LNP are also angry at the positions, and hope the push for a separate party room will at least be seen as a gesture of frustration.
However another Queensland senator, Attorney-General George Brandis, played down the unhappiness.
“People will always wish their state to have more representatives in the Cabinet,” Senator Brandis said.
“That’s part of the day-to-day of politics but I wouldn’t over-interpret the disappointment of some that Queensland doesn’t have even more representatives in federal Cabinet.
“At the moment, of the 42 positions on the frontbench, eight are held by members or senators from Queensland… and there are now four Queensland Cabinet ministers.
“That is a historically, an equal high.”