THE NEWS Queensland MP Steve Dickson has defected to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation — on the laughable pretext he’ll be deputy Premier — has nowt to do with “principle” and even less to do with Ms Hanson or One Nation. Despite a ridiculous excuse about legalising medicinal cannabis, Dickson is merely the latest clump of faeces with deluded ideas about his own importance and in reality, isn’t even worth a pinch of shit. Good riddance.
Nobody denies there is an awful lot wrong with conservative politics in Australia at the moment — the Prime Minister himself is walking, talking proof of it — but the one thing worse than the wrong people running the show attempting to take voters for fools is when some thoroughly unimportant speck of fly shit does it, and masquerades the act as “principle.”
I’ve heard some strange reasons for walking away from the Liberal Party over the years, but the inability to peddle dope has never been one of them, until now; the claim by LNP turncoat and general shitbag Steve Dickson — that he defected yesterday to One Nation because it would give the terminally ill access to medicinal cannabis — ranks as one of the lamest, most ludicrous and contemptible excuses for treachery and disloyalty I have come across in more than 30 years’ association with the Liberals.
Mind you, I’m not completely unsympathetic to arguments about legalising cannabis for medical purposes within a strictly regulated and controlled framework, and I too think more can be done to ease the suffering of the terminally ill, but any member of Parliament who walks away from the party they arguably owe their career to over such an issue — and to a party of the far Right, no less — either stands for very little at all and/or is simply taking the piss.
In the case of Dickson, it is arguably both.
But first things first: readers can peruse a selection of the Murdoch coverage of this issue here and here, and the Fairfax press’ take on it here and here, and my earliest reaction on hearing the news that Dickson had defected yesterday was to mentally lump him in with the likes of Martin Hamilton-Smith — whose bald ambition and pay cheque chasing saw him all but join the ALP nearly three years ago — and another LNP defector in Alex Douglas, whose gullibility was such that he actually believed Clive Palmer would make him Premier of Queensland.
Yes, people really are this stupid.
And stupidity is the order of the day in Steve Dickson’s case, for it appears he has spent some time bragging to his LNP colleagues that he is set to become deputy Premier of Queensland — presumably, that is, if One Nation were to win the looming state election.
One Nation is not — I repeat, is not — going to win a state election, in Queensland or anywhere else, and anyone who thinks it will is just as deluded as Dickson is.
It is not going to win an election in Queensland or anywhere else: not now, not ever.
One Nation could conceivably wreak havoc at a Queensland state election, and tear the LNP apart: much as it did cumulatively across the 1998 and 2001 state elections, but it will not win; rather, the greater its impact, the likelier it is that the ALP will romp home — preferential voting or not — and for a party that claims Labor is its “enemy,” the shortsightedness of people like Dickson in joining it is stultifying.
From 11 years in Parliament, Dickson boasts one very mediocre stint as a junior minister in the government of Campbell Newman to his credit; he may or may not be a half-decent local MP (and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be one of those) but for “star” quality, Dickson has none.
If anyone at One Nation has promised him the deputy premiership — not that they will ever be in a position to gift it to him — then Dickson has fallen prey to the most cynical (and cheapest) form of flattery on the planet if he thinks he can believe it.
LNP leader Tim Nicholls got it bang on the money when he said Dickson’s defection had nothing to do with medicinal cannabis, noting that Dickson had “selfishly put his own interests ahead of the good people of his electorate.”
With an additional year to run on his current term — unless an early election intervenes, which seems likely — there is nothing remotely honourable or praiseworthy about using that term, arguably obtained on false pretences and using the resources, brand and money of the party he now seeks to disavow, to benefit another party that as at today’s date has exactly zero elected authority from the people of Queensland at a state level.
However, having a taxpayer-funded electorate office to work out of, with all the taxpayer-provided resources at the disposal of a sitting MP to fight an election with, is a boon One Nation probably can’t believe it has secured for nothing more than a promise of promotion it cannot and will never have to deliver on.
If this bozo was as good as his “principles,” he would vacate his seat of Buderim and fight out a by-election for it. That would cost money, however, which I doubt One Nation is flush enough with to throw $150k at a by-election, and it would almost certainly result in his defeat.
I tend to think he will be defeated anyway — the Sunshine Coast hinterland isn’t at the top of the list of regions that swung to One Nation in 1998, and any federal pointers drawn from the seat of Longman last year probably had as much to do with distaste for its puerile adolescent former MP than with anything else.
Dickson has asked the LNP, and his former colleagues, not to regard him as “the enemy.” Were I in their shoes, my only response would be to tell him to get fucked.
With media across the country noting that as recently as October, Dickson was publicly declaring himself “loyal” and a “team player,” so far as I am concerned he is no longer entitled to any commensurate respect given he has so starkly revealed himself to be neither of those things.
Dickson has probably quietly congratulated himself on being so “clever” as to give Nicholls just 15 minutes’ warning of the press announcement of his defection and, to be sure, it caught Nicholls on the hop, forcing him to return to work from his holidays early.
But to everyone else watching, it merely reinforced the grimy, opportunistic (and amateurish) appearance Dickson’s actions convey.
The simple truth is that right now, One Nation is polling 15% in reputable polls measuring state voting intention in Queensland; come polling day it may be 20%; it may be 10%. But it will not be enough to win an election.
Dickson — apparently now the champion of an issue the
Communist Party Greens have championed since their long-ago days as tree-hugging, do-nothing environmentally obsessed ratbags — has, on the specious pretext of “principle,” deserted the pre-eminent party of the mainstream right for the lunatic vehicle of the hard Right.
If he proves unwilling to adopt the anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, pro-gun catechisms of his new anti-reality friends, Dickson will soon find out that his new friends don’t like him any more than the old ones he shat upon yesterday from a great height.
And whilst compulsory preferential voting will shield the LNP to some extent from the split in the vote on the Right that may have cost it even more seats under OPV, Dickson has probably driven a slew of city voters directly into the ALP’s arms by his actions: and for that, he will be heavily culpable if Labor is re-elected later this year.
As I said at the outset, nobody denies there is a great deal wrong on the conservative side of politics in Australia at the moment, and within the Liberal Party (or LNP, in Queensland’s case) in particular.
Just as the apparent hard Right version of “a conservative party” Cory Bernardi and his acolytes seem certain to launch early this year is no answer, the false messiahs of the far Right — Pauline Hanson first and foremost — will deliver nothing constructive either.
In fact, in One Nation’s case, it is unlikely to deliver anything at all, for there is a limit to how many people can be hoodwinked into supporting such poorly contrived and ill-conceived slogans, xenophobic and anarchic as they are, that could never fulfil the requirements of government if the party were to be elected: which it won’t be.
I am sorry to labour that point, but with electoral behaviour something of a specialty, I have no qualms in stating unequivocally that One Nation will not form government anywhere in Australia at any time.
There are those who have never been involved in politics prior to their association with One Nation, and whilst I disagree with their chosen party, my next point does not apply to them.
But those who have spent years (or, as in Dickson’s case, decades) as members of the Liberal Party (or the LNP) would serve themselves, their party, and ultimately their constituents far more effectively by trying to fix their party from within, rather than taking actions that will not only trash it, but help entrench Labor in power for a generation.
This is all too hard for people like Dickson, who — like Hamilton-Smith, Douglas, and countless others like them — would rather choose the seemingly free ticket to Easy Street than do the hard work required to actually earn it.
People of Buderim, take note: Dickson has shown himself unworthy, and untrustworthy, to be given the renewed privilege of representing the 30,000-odd voters who make up a seat in the Queensland state Parliament these days.
In fact, Dickson isn’t worth a pinch of shit at all: not to the LNP, not to his new chums at One Nation, and most certainly not to the electors of the seat of Buderim.
All he amounts to in the big scheme of things is the latest clump of faeces, diabolically misled about the degree of self-importance he should apportion himself, whose expedience and nihilism is being masqueraded as principle when he has shown that he doesn’t actually have any.
It is to be hoped — to continue the metaphor — that the good burghers of Buderim flush what’s left of his political career away whenever the field trip to the ballot box occurs.