Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wanted to talk about Bill Shorten and why a Labor government would not be worthy of votes and trust, but the the Liberal National Party faithful at the annual state convention in Brisbane had other priorities.
While Mr Turnbull set out to paint the Liberals as the party of aspiration, compared with Labor’s “party of grievance”, rank and file delegates were keen to urge the adoption of nuclear power, reduced immigration intakes and support for coal mining.
A fired-up Mr Turnbull accused Mr Shorten of being “weak” while pushing his own Coalition government’s ability to lead the nation, with an eye to the Super Saturday by-elections on July 28.
“We are the party of aspiration, of enterprise. Labor has become a party of envy, negativity, pessimism and grievance,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Mr Shorten is a liar,” he added, emphasising every word at the climax of his fiery address.
Outside the conference anti-Adani protesters took a costumed swipe at the Coalition, Mr Turnbull and his arch-enemy Tony Abbott.
“It is so against that fighting Australian spirit. No wonder people are turning away from Bill Shorten, and saying we don’t want your lies.”
The membership were not shy about letting their voices be heard, arguing for a number of resolutions, in particular a call for the federal coalition to consider the feasibility of nuclear power in Australia.
Several members spoke against the resolution, on the grounds it would be a distraction at the by-elections and the federal election, but those for it argued nuclear power was still 20 years away and this would merely start the process.
The resolution narrowly passed.
Other resolutions passed on Saturday included a call for the federal government to own and operate the rail line servicing Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, as well as a broader resolution for the federal coalition to support building more coal-fired power stations in Queensland.
A resolution to call on the government to review Australia’s immigration intake failed on the basis the government regularly reviews the intake levels already.
Mr Turnbull’s address followed party president Gary Spence’s focus on the 10-year anniversary of the merged party in Queensland.
“Ten years of a centre-right party that is as committed to the values of our forebears as we are committed to delivering a better Queensland for generations to come,” Mr Spence said.
“It is no accident that the theme of this year’s state convention is celebrating the membership.”
The convention will conclude on Sunday, with the members still to debate resolutions around abortion and euthanasia laws, and protecting Christmas.
The LNP’s parliamentary wing is not bound by any resolutions considered at the convention.