Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes Part 2

Holy Flaming Shitballs, Queensland! The LNP has won the most astounding victory most of us can remember. In a house of 89 seats, it's looking like 76 seats will belong to the LNP, with a couple more from their conservative cousins in Katter's Australian Party. It doesn't get much better than this-just ask Clive Palmer, the LNP Godfather. He couldn't contain his excitement, referring to the humbled ALP as "gutless wonders".

It can't be all plain sailing for the LNP though. They have some mountains to climb, and with a mandate like this, the expectation will be enormous. That said, their emotional journey will be vastly different to that of the ALP. It's more akin to the situation that Kevin Rudd's team faced in 2007. We all know what happened there.

Since claiming victory last night, Campbell Newman has repeatedly pledged that his government will act with humility, grace and dignity. Sixteen or so hours in, he has kept that pledge, Clive Palmer notwithstanding.

Newman is wasting no time; he's already held a meeting with his key people, or at least those who were in Brisbane this morning. With the long months of campaigning, and polling solidly in the LNP's favour, they would have had a transition team in place, handling all those details.

Now, take a breath, close your eyes, and imagine the biggest success you can imagine. You and all the people you work with and all your friends get to walk out of your offices and into the executive offices. It's yours. 

It's a crazy, heady thing. Those people who to work up there are vacating their offices in grief and shock. The ground is moving under them. Human decency demands that the LNP allow a little space for the old team to packing their bits and bobs into archive boxes and leave the building. Time is impossible when you're pulsing with triumph, adrenaline, and a mandate for drastic change.

The next few weeks will be a series of balancing acts for the new team: the LNP is forming its first government. Who gets the key ministries? (Mr Newman is announcing a few of those as I write this.) Almost 80 people will form the parliamentary team, along with their assistants, staff, egos and agendas. Newman's military experience should come in handy; those guys know how to form functional teams.

And what about the Public Service? Some will go with the Government Restructure - John Bradley, Director General of the Premiers Department, has already been punted. I can't imagine Greg Withers, Assistant Director General of the Department of Climate Change, and Anna Bligh's husband, would be likely to hold onto his job.

And what are the priorities? What can wait? Now versus later. Regional versus state. Liberal versus Nationals. Surety versus doubt. Confidence versus inexperience. Just working out where to start is an overwhelming task. The Government may be new, but the state isn't. Countless projects are underway, and some of those aren't on the LNP's To-Do Lst. Plough on, or abandon projects half-finished?

And what should the new government do about the status of the outgoing team, given the likelihood that the ALP won't win enough seats to be a legitimate Opposition under the Queensland Constitution? Frankly, the idea of such an incredible majority, no Opposition and no Upper House doesn't seem to be in the spirit of democracy. 

As an Organisational Change specialist, I can only hope that the new LNP Government gets this right. As we saw last night, Queenslanders can be unforgiving.

But firstly and above all else, on behalf of the newbie-MPs, someone needs to find the loos.

Update: Outgoing Queensland Premier has announced her resignation from public life, forcing a by-election in her seat of South Brisbane. Campbell Newman has confirmed that the LNP will field a candidate in this by-election.

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