The Gold Coast seat of Broadwater is held by the ALP by a margin of just 2.2%. The seat is considered crucial to the LNP ending the ALP’s 20 year tenure in government in Queensland in the March 24 election.
Yet as important as Broadwater is to the prospects of the LNP forming government on 24 March they have just installed the third candidate to be indorsed to stand for the seat in less than 3 months.
The first candidate indorsed to stand for the seat was Richard Townson who was disendorsed after allegedly returning a breathalyser showing he was over the legal driving limit. Fair enough driving with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit is an offence and that sort of thing doesn’t stand well with the electorate.
Enter Gold Coast solicitor Cameron Caldwell.
Caldwell wasn’t even a member of the LNP until he submitted his nomination to stand for the seat. He applied, he nominated, he was indorsed.
Now it has emerged that Caldwell and his wife, Caralee Caldwell, had visited a nightclub on the Gold Coast which was a swinger’s club. Caldwell claims that he and his wife attended as guests three or four years ago, had a drink and left and that nothing inappropriate or salacious happened whilst they were there.
However, Caldwell’s lawful social activity in which he participated with not only the knowledge of but in the company of his wife has resulted in his dumping from the LNP ballot in Broadwater. In any other profession, employment or calling dismissal for lawful social or sexual activity is grounds for a claim for discrimination and unlawful dismissal but not in politics where considerations of the perception of the electorate must be taken into account.
The trouble now of course is, how many other political candidates and indeed sitting members have so called skeletons in their closets which run contrary to the values with which the parties which they represent seek to identify themselves?
Among the members of State Parliament I would warrant that very few would pass the standards applied to the erstwhile candidate for Broadwater. The Parliament is filled with, by definition, political animals. Political animals are, as is plainly evident on the federal scene, the people who make deals with faceless men and who sell their souls to interests unnamed in order to get where they wanted to be – the top.
So, in disendorsing Cameron Caldwell the LNP has shown itself to by just as hypocritical, just as hollow and just as out of touch as their opponents. They also appear to be better organised and lack the tarnish or patina of remaining in power just that little too long.
Will this stop the LNP avalanche that is set to engulf the ALP on 24 March? No. Will it stem the bloodletting the electorate looks set to unleash on a government wracked by internal machination and division on every level? No.
But when the change does come don’t expect too much to change because the values the next crop of politicians will bring with them will be the same self-interested values the old ones left behind and the cycle will commence afresh.
Why worry? It’s only politics.