Yesterday I was a man on a mission off to the wilds to pick up an engine and a gearbox for my Morris project, these are not the parts that I will actually use in the car, rather they are just parts that I have borrowed from my long suffering brother to work out the mountings and other details of the installation in my car. Anyway it was that away mission that found me missing out on the Peter Beattie chapter of the sad and sorry saga of the Federal Labor party yesterday . Unlike my other regular commentators I know Beattie pretty well, in fact when I was a student he used to be a regular at the Mexican restaurant that I worked at in Milton. So I can honestly say that I have known of him well before he even rose to star status up here in Queensland. and to be honest I have always thought that he is a “good bloke”. So when I heard on the radio that he was going to stand in Forde for the ALP my initial reaction was to think that he could be a good man to have in the parliament.
Then I gave the matter some thought and I was a little less sure. You see I began to remember that this good bloke had made a few rather big calls that were less than wonderful. Things like privatising electricity distribution which promised a new era of lower energy prices (my current bill in next to me on the desk ere and its twice what it was this time last year ) I remember too that while he was a competent Premier he steeped down so that Anna Bligh could become premier and she was a bloody disaster creating the financial mess that Campbell Newman is working so hard to fix even though it is at the cost of his popularity. Then there is his famous “water grid” a net work of pipelines pumping stations and water recycling systems that was built during the last big decade long drought that we endured. The idea may yet prove to be of value should we have another long dry spell but now that the weather has swung back to its more normal rain fall levels its hard to see the whole thing as anything other than a global warming hysteria white elephant, which, like the mega expensive desalination plant at Tugan on the Gold Coast just sits idle.
Beattie is without doubt a consummate media performer he is an utter and unashamed “media tart” who can play the “chooks” with the sort of talent that most political candidates enviously aspire to. He even leaves the would be Labor Messiah Kevin Rudd for dead in his ability to play the media to his political advantage, however he does have one very obvious “tell” when what he is doing is a bit less than sincere and that is his tendency to crack the biggest toothy and undimable smile when he is playing the media game. Its like some part of him is self-conscious of t he stunt and he then over compensates in trying to sell the contrived message. That “tell” was very much in evidence yesterday at the media appearances that he put in with Rudd. He was trying just a bit too hard to prove how much he endorsed the new again Dear Leader even though it was only a matter of a couple of months ago that he was dressing Rudd down for destabilising Gillard.
What it boils down to for me is that while at an emotional level I like the man, and I even respect him for his time as premier I just don’t think that he is as sincere about his enthusiasm for federal politics. You know how I see politics as a game? Well deep down I think that Peter Beattie does as well and he is playing this move for all that its worth. He may even win the seat but if he doesn’t then I think that he will still enjoy the journey , if he does win Forde then The ALP may benefit from having a “good bloke” in its parliamentary ranks but I can’t see the faux friendship with Rudd lasting long into either Government or opposition after September 7.
- Kevin Rudd confirms Peter Beattie will run as Labor candidate for Queensland seat of Forde (abc.net.au)
- Abbott flags Beattie-Rudd leader rivalry (bigpondnews.com)
- Peter Beattie to stand in election, report (news.theage.com.au)
- Beattie bombshell: a ruthless captain’s pick (smh.com.au)
- Beattie to stand for Labor (smh.com.au)
- Peter Beattie enters federal election (bigpondnews.com)
- Labor brings back Peter Beattie to contest seat of Forde, dumps pre-selected candidate Des Hardman (abc.net.au)
- Beattie returns to play politics (thesourcenews.com)