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I have been rather underwhelmed by the current state election campaign up here which I put down to my having read too much of the left wing wishful thinking that imagines there being a return to government of the ALP but just this morning while I was listening the radio I got the strongest feeling “in my water” that the Newman government will indeed be returned and that the ALP’s very negative campaigning will not see them in office. On the other hand the LNP has run a positive and far more professional campaign which is far more inspiring than the negativity and fear mongering from the left and the minor parties.
One factor that always needs to be remembered about Queensland elections is that we have optional preferential voting up here and that requires a conscious decision to locate a second preference to avoid a vote being quickly made irrelevant when you are voting for a minor player, this innovation was introduced by the too clever by half Peter Beattie because he thought that it would give him an advantage against the then separate Liberal and National parties. Now that its the Left that is more fractured the irony that this piece of political gamesmanship is coming back to bite them should amuse my fellow conservatives a fair bit come election night.
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)
I have been greatly bemused by the instance from the Gillard cheer squad that Gillard’s misfortunes are all down to the hostile media in the thrall of both Rupert Murdoch and Gina Reinhardt they insist that even the ABC has become an instrument of the evil right wing conspiracy to oust their heroin(e) from the lodge. Gillard’s low standing is , they insist all because nothing she does is reported clearly and honestly without the efforts of the evil media overlords. Its desperate ranting the most of it and full to the brim with denial of the simple fact that we are being governed by the worst administration on living memory. It is a party that has lost every shred of its dignity and I just can’t help but think that Gillard is working from precisely the same script as the one that was so diligently used by the unlamented Anna Bligh.
Like Bligh we have had the economic incompetence (who can forget Labor’s billion dollar stuff up of the Nurses pay system? ) and the undignified attempts to smear an ascendant opposition leader. None of which resulted any rise in the standing of the incumbent, if anything media stunts like Gillard’s “misogyny speech” only spoke positively to the most devoted of her acolytes the rest of the nation just went “ho-hum” and wrote it off as more undignified whining. The very final act of desperation form Bligh, in interlay begging the voters not to give Campbell Newman too much power worked so well for Labor that in opposition they have been reduced to a mere eight seas in the Queensland parliament and total irrelevance to the political process here.
Federally that is the prospect that Labor faces as well, to be frank I thought until recently that federal Labor might just fare better that Bligh at the next election but now I think otherwise. They seem likely to loose most of not all of their seats up here in Queensland, Rudd may be the exception because he has done a rather effective job of self promotion, Swan on the other hand is widely derided for his incompetence and I don’t think that he can survive the swing to ride the roundabout of opposition, why would eh want to anyway? If he were to hold his seat I don’t think it would be long before he found an excuse to retire from politics even though the seat would likely be lost in a subsequent by election.
Then we have the joys of western Sydney that Gillard has been partaking of during the last week, boy what a great success that has been for Labor Julia Gillard and her minders have managed to get just about every thing arse about as Mungo MacCallum points out:
It is hard to believe with hindsight, but Julia Gillard’s safari to the western suburbs of Sydney was not really such a bad idea.
After all, this is – or at least has been since time immemorial – Labor territory, and in the present circumstances it needs a bit of tender loving care. It may be too late; the patient may be beyond recovery. But Gillard had to make the effort.
And if it was always going to look more like campaigning than governing, to quote her own rather artificial distinction, well, so what? Given that Tony Abbott has done nothing but campaign for the past 40 months, she can hardly be blamed for playing a bit of catch-up.
The mistake was to confuse campaigning with slapstick. Almost the only good thing that came out of last week’s fiasco was that it made the perfect scenario for a textbook on how to lose friends and influence people – to vote against you. It must have taken real dedication to cram so many errors, gaffes and downright embarrassments into a single expedition.
Even the normally sympathetic Fairfax press this morning ran a piece by Alan Stokes that can only be described as the cold hard light of reality reminding the Age faithful that Life under an Abbott government will not be the sum of all of the Latte sippers fears as the left’s denailists have repeatedly insisted:
Amid all the scaremongering, it’s easy to forget this: Labor and the Liberals tussle mostly over the middle ground. Most government decisions emerge from consensus or compromise between two fairly similar world views. Cynics might even say modern politics is all about power and not world views anyway.
Still, the measure of a caring nation is how it treats its most vulnerable. So we cannot ignore the dangers of changing to Abbott. But we can be realistic. The awkward reality for middle Australia is usually that what’s lost on the political roundabout is gained on the swing.
Australia now also effectively will have a press licensing system. Any media outlet not signed up to a government-endorsed media regulator will lose journalistic privileges such as exemptions from privacy laws.
This will force media groups that are not presently members of bodies such as the press council to join, and is a powerful threat to existing members that they must not leave. It will be virtually impossible to run a media outlet in Australia without being under the supervision of government-appointed bureaucrats.
The last time that media outlets were subject to press licensing in the English-speaking world was 1693. What was too tyrannical for the English in the time of William and Mary is apparently acceptable in 21st-century Australia.
I can’t for the life of me imagine that Conroy’s scheme will be anything other than a distraction rather in the mould to the Gay marriage push of recent memory. In one sense its clever politics to push this issue because its bound to raise the passions of the devoted to Gillard crew and help cement that siege/victim mentality about the “MSM” however for the general public it will be even more evidence of a government a drift in a sea of its self made troubles. The requirement for the endorsement of the Greens and Independents means that Labor can float this grand scheme, have it shot down by Oakshott, Wilkie or Windsor and still claim that they have “tried their best” to the faithful while not having to deliver on what is a rather bad idea. For those of us who are fans of the game its a totally transparent play and even if by some confluence of political(bad) luck Labor does mange to get this up it has no chance of surviving a change of government. So its futility is very clear indeed.
None of this will add to the dignity of the Labor party and without some dignity no amount of stunts and political manoeuvring will save the Federal Labor Party from a rout of Queensland or West Australian proportions. Will Gillard realise the futility of her position and seek the good grace that she has squandered with the likes of her misogyny speech, or will we see an ever changing parade of more desperate nonsense like Conroy’s announcement yesterday? Going on the Labor record I expect the latter.
- Life under Abbott: don’t panic (theage.com.au)
- PM attacks ‘vicious and personal’ (smh.com.au)
- ALP ‘faces massacre under Julia Gillard’ (bigpondnews.com)
- Labor leadership – it’s not just about September 14 (crikey.com.au)
- PM has to go, urges Rudd camp (smh.com.au)
- PM announces election (smh.com.au)
- Attacks on PM ‘vicious and personal’ (theage.com.au)
- Public heckle Gillard in parliament (dailytelegraph.com.au)
I have an eclectic sort of mind so I sometimes see connections in the most unlikely news items. As such I can’t go past today’s announcement that they have definitely identified the remains of Richard III from an archaeological dig beneath a Leicester car park and the new speculation that Rudd may be getting close to the numbers for on final last tilt to wrestle the leadership back from Gillard.
Like the mythology of Richard III, Rudd faces a rather desperate and grim battle not only with in the ranks of his own party , but also against an ascendant opposition that is 12 points ahead in the opinion polls. While my dear friend Ray holds out some hope that Rudd may be able to swing an unlikely win at the election I tend to think that the best that Rudd could hope for may well be a slightly less chastening defeat, now if only he could possibly get someone to give him that horse…
The other news item that has had my imagination in gear has been Campbell Newman’s call for a rethink about the way that we rebuild after natural disasters . To may mind it beggars belief that we have for years rebuilt infrastructure destroyed by flood events in precisely the same place and to the same standard as that which was washed away. The sensible and logical thing to do would be to change the sorts of things that we build and allow in the riverine flood plains upon which so many of our cities and towns are built. This speaking of good sense from Newman resonates with me and I have no doubt that it will resonate with most of my fellow Queenslanders. It helps that we have had two flood events in rather rapid succession and that the latest one has washed away a substantial amount of the repaired infrastructure that has only recently been completed. If only we could more easily follow the example set in Grantham where, under the otherwise woeful Bligh government the whole town was essentially moved to higher ground we might just avoid repeated flood “disasters”. Of course in a rural circumstance it is easier to do when there is both the undeveloped land and fewer people to relocate than is the case in a bigger city or town but isn’t it more sensible to try than to put it into the “too Hard” basket and just hope that the heavens will be kind for a while? The other thing about this disaster and the central role being played by Newman in the coordination of the rebuilding efforts is that it has already banished the negative image of the Queensland premier from our news media. “Newman is governing and doing the job with drive and purpose” has replaced “Newman the sacker” in the minds of the voting public which is bound to blunt any of the so called “Newman factor” that has been been giving hope to the Labor party federally. Which brings us back to the dire situation that vex Labor true believers like Ray. Just what can they do in the face of the impending electoral doom? You could go into total denial like the more rabid left who are so fearful of an Abbott government that they trot out any old tat that convinces them (which is a a low bar to clear) while denying any fault or shortcoming in the Labor government. Its amusing to watch and I even had a bit of fun pointing out the flaws in their arguments but they can’t handle the truth there is a sort of watching a train wreck in Slo-mo quality to the federal government at present and I am at the same time both revolted and delighted by the sound a fury of it all…
- Rudd’s support for a challenge growing (smh.com.au)
- Flood-hit Queenslanders may be moved to higher ground (abc.net.au)
- Numbers shifting back to Rudd (theage.com.au)
- Swan denies withholding disaster funds (bigpondnews.com)
- Relax, says Gillard, it’s not about Rudd (smh.com.au)
- Floods cause havoc in Qld and northern NSW (news.theage.com.au)
- Newman asks voters to plan future of Qld (bigpondnews.com)
Yes Robert another entirely pointless and very expensive talkfest at Rio which of course brings this song to mind:
Rather as I expected the Rio +20 summit on sustainable development has closed without advancing the practice of sustainable development by one jot, one title or one iota. The forests will shrink as they are plundered in developing countries, the seas will become deserts as they are shorn of life and filled with what billions of humans no longer need, and the greed of every interest group attending the summit set the scene: talk was cheap, the begging bowl was held out and commitment to anything was somewhere else. The only sustainable thing that has emerged from this Rio+ 20 summit is that there will be another summit in Rio again. That at least is self sustaining.
As a supporter of Civil Unions for same sex couples I was a little concerned that the declaration that a LNP government would scrap the hastily created Civil Unions act in Queensland because it seemed to me to be a wrong decision. Fortunately as it turns out Newman has found a way to amend the legislation to create a compromise that we can all live with.
Of course the so called “equal love” zealots like Rodney Croome or our learned friend are going to be horrified and they will see this as a retrograde step but they don’t really like the realities of democracy anyway. No, putting the the zealots to one side this decision is a sound and sensible one that protects the interests of couples without offending those of us who believe that marriage is a profoundly heterosexual institution that does not need reform. Well done indeed Mr Newman
As regular readers will have gathered I actaully like the craft of writing, In this craft, like all forms of creative writing, you learn what works to get your message across and you learn that by having a direct interaction with your readers, rather than having what you write filtered through an editor or a publisher. You see what I am circling around is the issue of “literary awards” and their role in the writing landscape. I have been inclined to think about this because Campbell Newman has just announce that he is scrapping the Queensland Premiers awards with an annual saving to the budget of nearly a quarter of a million bucks. Of course the response to this from the literati has been to denounce this as the act of a philistine:
Personally I think that poetry per se is very over rated and that apart from aspiring members of the literati nobody reads poetry at all these days. The exception is of course the poetry of songs and songwriters. I bet that if you ask “Jane Bloggs” on the street to recite a poem from memory you will draw a blank but you ask her to tell you the lyric to a popular song and she will be close to word perfect. Of course the cultural elites look down their noses at mere popular music yet that would have to be the only form of poetry that makes any kind of an impression on the people or makes quid these days. So perhaps we should acknowledge that Campbell Newman is doing we Queenslanders a favour by scrapping the awards and allowing a rather useless forms of literary expression slide into the obscurity that it so richly deserves