Goal near for ‘ fa­ther of Se­nate’

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT

ONE of the stay­ers of Queens­land pol­i­tics, Ayr- based Lib­eral Sen­a­tor Ian Mac­don­ald, marked 25 years in Par­lia­ment this week, declar­ing he was in sight of achiev­ing his pas­sion for se­cur­ing poli­cies on north­ern de­vel­op­ment.

How­ever, at 69, and now con­sid­ered a “fa­ther of the Se­nate” given the sheer length of his ten­ure, the man once de­scribed by a po­lit­i­cal op­po­nent as hav­ing a pro­file “lower than a snake’s belly” told the Bul­letin he was not think­ing about bow­ing out.

He said he had “at least” another five years of his term to run and he in­tended to serve it out.

Se­cur­ing poli­cies for north­ern de­vel­op­ment has been his long- term aim.

“The fu­ture of our na­tion lies in North Queens­land and North­ern Aus­tralia,” Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald ( pic­tured) told the Se­nate in 1990.

Last month, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­leased its White Pa­per on north­ern de­vel­op­ment and Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott an­nounced Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald as the chair­man of a G o v e r n m e n t c o m m i t t e e formed to over­see its im­ple­men­ta­tion. While he stressed the need to en­sure the prom­ises “ac­tu­ally hap­pen”, he said he “al­most” thought he had achieved what he set out to do.

“Money has been made avail­able and prom­ises have been made,” he said. “I’ve got to make sure they are not just politi­cians’ prom­ises but they ac­tu­ally hap­pen.”

Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald has led the Se­nate ticket for the Lib­er­als in Queens­land in five suc­ces­sive halfSe­nate elec­tions. How­ever, when it comes to min­is­te­rial clout, he has been in and out of favour, hav­ing been sacked from the front­bench three times.

Sen­a­tor Mac­don­ald con­ceded that not be­ing a “game player” had not helped his cause.

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