Goal near for ‘ father of Senate’
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.