Speech made by Senator Ian Macdonald at the Declaration of the Queensland Senate Poll Brisbane, October 2, 2013


First of all, my thanks to the Queensland Electoral Commissioner and all of her professional and temporary staff for the exacting work that they have done over the past month since the election.

And a very genuine and heart-felt thanks to the people of Queensland for the confidence they have shown in me and my LNP colleagues in what has been a quite remarkable vote for our party in the senate this election.

Can I congratulate all of those Senators who have been elected today. I spare a thought for those candidates who offered themselves for election but who were not successful.

I want to congratulate the organisational wing of the Liberal National Party of Queensland and individual LNP House of Representatives candidates, whose combined work helped return three LNP Senators today almost without the help of preferences which was indeed lucky as we did not achieve too many of these!

And this I might say highlights the stupidity of the current Senate voting arrangement which must be changed as one of the priorities of the new Parliament.

I am pleased to say that Queensland has avoided the fate of most other States whereby parties with miniscule primary votes ended up being elected through deals and preferences about which most voters had absolutely no knowledge.

As we started the campaign in Queensland those of us in the LNP were concerned about the inroads the Katter Australia Party might make into the traditional LNP vote. Thanks to a good campaign by the LNP and some wonderful individual efforts like that of Noeline Ikin our candidate in Kennedy, the Katter phenomenon has all but disappeared I predict permanently.

Mr Katters decision to preference the ALP before the LNP in the Senate and in four crucial House of Representative seats was, in my view, foolish and contributed to his partys demise.

Unfortunately, so preoccupied were we in the early days with the KAP that the Palmer United Party caught me and many others by surprise. I have a view that the Palmer vote was principally from people who loathed the ALP, and wanted conservative policies but did not warm to Tony Abbott. I spent a great deal of my time during the campaign refuting arguments against Tony Abbott and I am sure that history will prove me right. I think that Tony will make a fine Prime Minister.

I am proud of the campaign that the Queensland LNP Senate team conducted.

As I have done on each occasion that I have stood for election, we have run a separate Senate campaign a move which never seems to garner enthusiasm from federal officials of the party, but which I believe does pay dividends and I believe would do even better, with a coordinated well-funded separate Senate campaign nationally.

I am pleased to note that the excellent result for the Coalition in Queensland at the previous 2010 election, has again been built upon in the vote in Queensland in this year, and in particular in the Senate.

On primary votes the LNP in Queensland achieved 2.89 quotas, which was the best result throughout Australia perhaps only surpassed if the Liberal and National Party separate votes in Western Australia were added together.

Interestingly I note that over 10,000 Queenslanders chose to go through the arduous task of completing all 82 squares on the ballot paper to indicate their own preference for the LNP Senate Team and I am heartened that so many people would make this effort to express their individual views.

I do think that the Parliament must make it easier for people to determine their own preferences in something like an optional preferential above the line and an optional preferential vote to the first six places below the line.

As a lifelong member of the LNP and the Liberal Party, it always disturbs me that there are so many people across Australia who will vote for the Liberal Party in the Lower House but then spread their vote around to other Parties in the Senate.

We particularly focused on this in this Campaign. And I am pleased to see that whereas in 2010, 115,463 more Queenslanders voted for the LNP in the Reps than did in the Senate, this year the figure was only 67,972. So this year more voters in Queensland than ever have followed their Reps vote for the Party through to the Senate. More remarkable because unlike the 2010 election, there was a strong vote for the Palmer United Party and indeed other minor parties.

I accept that many people still follow the old Democrat dictum of keeping the bastards honest, but I do think that our professional wing has to determine how to convince people that the government they elect to govern Australia is able to do that without having to compromise with votes in the Senate.

I can assure the voters of Queensland that the Liberal Party and, indeed, the Coalition, has a long history of senators crossing the floor where the interests of their constituents were not being served by the executive Coalition government, and I mention this to say that people can confidently vote for the Coalition in the Senate, knowing that Coalition senators, unlike the Labor Party, have a propensity and, indeed, an obligation to cross the floor where the interests of their state and constituents are not being recognised by the executive government.

I conclude by again thanking all of the LNP Senate team: James McGrath, Matt Canavan, David Goodwin, Theresa Craig, and Amanda Stoker for their support, cooperation, and hard work. Indeed, although only three of us have been elected from the LNP ticket, I want to acknowledge the hard work that particularly Theresa Craig and Amanda Stoker did in a situation where they knew that they had absolutely no chance of being elected.

I note with some pride that the Queensland Senate Team on this cycle comprises three newly-elected senators, none of whom resides in Brisbane and this demonstrates the geographic breadth of the party and its support and I am delighted by that.

I also am humbled by the fact that the individual primary vote given to me personally, is the highest on any individual vote given to any Liberal/National Senate Candidate around Australia and I thank my fellow Queenslanders for that.

I want to thank, as well, all those literally thousands of members of Liberal National Party of Queensland who have done their bit in helping us achieve this quite remarkable Senate victory in Queensland. On a more personal note, I want to thank my staff, particularly Scott, and my ever-patient, supportive, and some would say long-suffering wife, Lesley for her ongoing support and encouragement through my whole political career.

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