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Nicholls toppling Springborg lays bare the still-uneasy marriage of Queensland’s Liberals and Nationals

Chris Salisbury writes in The Conversation (6.5.16) about the dramatic change of leadership in the LNP, where Tim Nicholls deposed Lawrence Springborg in a party room vote. He claims that the change reflects the perception among many Queensland conservatives that only a city-based ‘Liberal’ can lead the party back to government.

‘Tim Nicholls, treasurer in the Newman government, has replaced Lawrence Springborg as leader of Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP) following a Friday partyroom spill.

‘Fifteen months after the last state election, Nicholls’ victory reverts to the pre-eminence of “urban Liberals” over the merged party’s rural and regional representatives and constituents, as it was under Newman’s premiership.’

‘… More than rumblings over sliding polls for preferred premier, the LNP leadership spill indicates continuing disquiet over which “partner” should dominate the party, and which personality should head it.

‘It follows the conventional wisdom that an election can only be won if enough Brisbane seats fall in behind a leader palatable to voters in the state’s southeast corner – in other words, an “urbane”, city-based former Liberal MP. The question now is whether Nicholls will prove such a viable alternative.’

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