Word out of the Peel Street bunker is that last term’s Racing Minister Grace Grace – Gee Gee to our readers – is not keen to go around in the role again in the about to be formed new Government, and has made direct representations to the about to be re-installed Premier regarding the matter of her reallocation to a different portfolio.
Although Gee Gee is nowhere near senior enough in the Government to demand that she be moved to a different ministry, it would be a naive and unwise leader of the ALP that continued to place her in the unwanted portfolio, and by her career-defining victory in the election Annastacia Palasczuk has proven herself to be anything but wet behind the ears and unwise.
So expect an announcement next week that there will be a new Minister in charge of our sport upon the formation of the second Palaszczuk Labor Government.
Here are the contenders:
‘Pounds’ Stirling Hinchcliffe, Member for Sandgate
Has been on the outer since plotting with Cameron Dick for a post 2015 election loss Labor leadership that didn’t include Annastacia.
Stuffed up big time by his mishandling of the Qld Rail fiasco after being given a chance to redeem himself in the role of Transport Minister, and stripped of the Commonwealth Games portfolio in the wash up.
Racing Queensland HQ and the heritage listed Doomben track are in his electorate, and has been reaching out to local racing identities in recent months, so may be positioning himself to try to engineer a third (or is it fourth?) coming, and is a reasonable chance of being given one.
Given his longstanding allegiance with the Property Council (the peak body of the developers), and his general level of incompetence Pounds would be a disaster for everyone but Clip Clop, Mirvac and Nifty Nev, but that probably makes him firm in the market rather than blow.
Michael ‘the Beefcake’ De Brenni, Member for Springwood
Current Minister for Sport, Housing and Public Works.
If you threw in Local Government, Main Roads and Racing the Beefcake could become the next Russ Hinze, but he’s a real smart fella who knows that Racing is a portfolio that presents political danger disproportionate to the benefit to be gained from the role, and has the standing within the Government to be able to say no.
Racing is a good fit with Sport however, and the Beefcake is very, very able and would make for an outstanding Minister.
Leanne ‘Straddie’ Enoch, Member for Algester
The ALP has a long-standing policy of affirmative action that works in favor of equal representation by gender in Ministries, so if the cards fall the way that a woman must be appointed to the Racing Portfolio then Enoch would be the first choice.
Hasn’t put a foot wrong in the portfolios of Science, Innovation. Digital Technology and Small Business, and has proven herself one the most outstanding first term Ministers in the 1st Palaszczuk Government.
Whether Straddie has an interest in racing and whether she wants the portfolio is unknown, but has the intelligence and ability to become a huge asset to the racing industry, and her nickname fits.
Robbie ‘Romeo’ Katter, Member for Mt Isa
The joker in the pack.
Outside of war times it is highly unusual for a member of a party not in Government to be appointed to a Ministerial Portfolio, but Annastacia is likely to have learned about the risks involved in governing with a slender majority and may seek to provide her Government a buffer against defections by treacherous rats in the ranks such as Joanne Miller in the coming term by shoring up KAP support.
Romeo is the best person for the job and would be an outstanding Racing Minister with cross-political support, and if he was a member of the ALP he would be an absolute lay down misere.
His chances now depend on whether the Premier decides to play an attacking or defensive second innings in charge of the State.
Leanne ‘the Lithe Liana’ Linard – Member for Nudgee
Popular and highly competent member for the adjoining electorate to the prime racing zones, Lithe Liana would make for a reasonably safe pair of hands in the Ministerial role.
Another one who has not been known to show any demonstrable interest in racing, but the fact of her locale, gender and membership of the same faction as the outgoing and little missed Minister Grace Grace put her in with a chance.
We could do better, but we could also do a lot worse.
Glenn ‘the Friendly’ Butcher
Former tradesman and maintenance supervisor, has performed very well in his first term as an MP and won his seat with an increased majority against a uniform swing, which is a huge tick in his favor.
Friendly is a keen sportsman and long time volunteer Rugby League official who is popular with one and all, and he is known to have an enthusiastic interest in racing.
If Annastacia needs to balance her Cabinet with regional representation and the cards fall Racing’s way then Butcher is a bird, pardon the pun.
Don ‘the Capo of Capalaba’ Brown
The Capo is another hard working local member who has increased his majority against the swing, and his efforts will earn him a promotion in caucus when the Ministries are announced.
I have personally been to gallops, trots and dogs meetings with the Capo in Brisbane and in the regions, and can provide a cast in stone guarantee that he is passionate about all three codes of racing, and the fact that he is recreational rather than regular punter works in his favor, as does his passionate championing of his local Capalaba Greyhounds Club which has made him extremely popular with licencees, the club board and punters alike.
Brown is an unknown to the wider industry, and somewhat of a dark horse selection to win the Racing Minister Stakes, but the smart money is piling on by the second and I am certain he’d be a great man for the job.
Linus ‘Peanuts’ Power – Member for Logan
A party hack with a safe seat from the same Labor faction as the Premier, Peanuts will definitely win a promotion to Cabinet or a junior ministry this time around, but with the right of the ALP rapidly diminishing in numbers and influence since the retirement of party power broker Bill Ludwig, Peanuts chances depend on where Annastacia places him in the pecking order of her internal cadre of supporters.
I’d personally love the prick to get the portfolio so I could tear him to pieces, but that’s no criteria for selection as a Minister.
Or is it?
A moderate to reasonable chance of becoming Mr Minister of Racing, which simply proves the adage that oily film rises to the surface.
Joan Pease ‘Inapod’ – Member for Lytton
Has made the bayside seat of Lytton her own and has a reputation for competence inside the caucus.
A keen Rugby fan and volunteer, Pease Inapod is half a yuppy and would have cross-party appeal to the toffs, but her primary interests lie in the fields of Health and Education so it is likely she will be putting her hand up for a portfolio in one or the other of those areas, but is too junior to win them, which leaves racing as an attractive opportunity to prove her worth.
There could be far worse Racing Ministers, don’t you worry about that.
Joanne ‘Killer’ Miller – Member for Bundamba
Senior Labor figures don’r trust Killer any further than they can throw her, and rightly so given her appalling dummy spits during the most recent term.
Annastacia may wish to throw her a bone to keep her busy and shut her up, and Killer has the advantage of receiving her racing education bent over the knee of her mentor, predecessor, old boss and former Racing Minister Bob ‘Good Times’ Gibbs.
I wouldn’t pay 2 cents for Joanne Miller and wouldn’t make her a Minister if you paid me, but Labor power brokers are strange creatures and anything is possible.
Tim ‘The Toolman’ Nicholls, Member for Hamilton
Short of World war three starting Nicholls is a million to one of gaining a Ministry in Labor Government, and the longest priced winner I can ever recall is Dulcify on debut at 500-1 at Morphetville.
No chance, and only thrown into the mix so I can remind readers of what a shocking campaign the Toolman ran and what a hapless clown he truly is.
Odds: 1 000 000 – 1
A wide open field with many chances, and a race I’d probably sit out and have a cup of tea, but if you have to have a bet I suggest that if you box Linard, Hinchliffe, Butcher and Brown in your selections you’re a chance of finding a winner at odds.