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Monday, 5 March 2001
Page: 24908

Mr RUDD (1:52 PM) —One of the irritating things about the Ryan by-election, which is to be held on 17 March, is just how totally unnecessary this half-a-million-dollar by-election is. The people of Ryan had been to the polls on 17 February in the state election, they are off again on 17 March and in six months time they will be back in a general election. It is as if the Queensland Liberal Party have an attitude that the people of Ryan have nothing better to do with their time other than to present themselves at polling booths in the western suburbs to exercise their democratic obligations. The big question, however, which remains unanswered in the public debate is: why are we having this completely unnecessary by-election? The answer is the Prime Minister and the former Minister for Defence have had a personal spat. The Prime Minister said he wanted the member for Flinders to become the new defence minister. The former Minister for Defence said, `Well, if that's the case, Prime Minister, then I'm out of here altogether.' What is the result of that? A half-a-million-dollar by-election—an unnecessary half-a-million-dollar by-election—one which the people of Ryan are most upset about. Maybe half a million dollars just represents a bit of loose change for the Liberal Party establishment in Brisbane. After all, their historical attitude to Ryan has been a bit like the inheritance of the family estate in the Scottish highlands—the sort of thing that you pass on from one decent chap to another, elections being a mere inconvenience occasionally occurring every several years or so. However Labor's candidate Leonie Short polls in that by-election on 17 March, it will be as a result of hard work, not a sense of entitlement. (Time expired)