The real home of ACT – and Derek Quigley

Note: this post originally appeared on ‘Douglas to Dancing’, a blog I maintained from 2007-9 on the ACT New Zealand political party. The blog was an extension of the thesis I wrote about the Act Party in 2007, From Douglas to Dancing: explaining the lack of success of ACT New Zealand and evaluating its future prospects (PDF).

This week I’ve been in Australia and I can’t get over how much stuff in the papers there is on ACT. Much more than the Herald. The “Roger Douglas Fan Club” (as a journalist described ACT in 1996) must have definitely found a home across the Tasman, right? Well, although ACT likes to highlight its “global heritage”, I’m afraid this is not the case. For those who did not see through my feeble attempt at humour, I’m referring to the Australian Capital Territory.

But on a more serious note, former ACT (New Zealand!) MP Derek Quigley moved to the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra (where I have been for the past week) in 2004 and is currently working at ANU’s Strategy and Defence Centre, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald on 21 May 2007 (not online as far as I could ascertain, but available on Factiva):

After trying to establish a multi-party consensus on the future of New Zealand’s defence force in 2000, [Quigley]’s just published The War against Defence Restructuring, assuring us it is “not as dry as you might think”. His next books will be about the politics of Anzus, and speculating on the future relationship between the New Zealand military and other Government agencies. As a National MP he was a strong advocate of MMP but reckons now he’d oppose it. “There’s potential for a lot of compromise and it’s difficult to make the tough decisions.”

According to the report, Quigley is likely to renew his position at the end of 2007. Quigley’s biography at the ANU’s website (about half-way down the page) is worth a look, turns out that he has Irish citizenship.

Now that the Australian government is changing, I wonder if Quigley will ever find Australia less to his liking and move back to New Zealand, which in all likelihood will drift back to rule by the Right in late 2008.

Who knows, perhaps he could stand for the National Party?!

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