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Brother Number One, the Gillard experiment, and the then the second coming of the former Dear Leader
MALCOLM FARR makes an interesting observation about the plethora of books being written by Labor has beans
That will bring to nine — by one calculation — the number of books from her and former colleagues on roughly the same subject.
Plus, there are books by former cross bench MPs Tony Windsor (House of Windsor) and Rob Oakeshott (The Independent Member for Lyne).
None will have the weight or influence of journalist Paul Kelly’s epic-sized Triumph and Demise which no doubt will become the definitive account of the period.
And there is one player missing from the potential complete set of Labor records, the big K-for-Kevin kahuna.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has given no indication he wants to write a book but so many people are commenting on him — and often critically — he might understandably feel he should write his own side of the story.
But that might be some time off. Like former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans who this week — 15 years after he left Parliament – will launch his diary from the Hawke/Keating days, Mr Rudd might wait a while longer.
Others, however, seem to have started dictating their first chapters on Sunday September 8, 2013 … hours after the election.
The nine books by Labor figures, from 2012 to the present are:
• My Story, by Julia Gillard;
• The Good Fight, Wayne Swan;
• Power with Purpose, Lindsay Tanner (2012);
• Hearts and Minds, Chris Bowen;
• Diary of a Foreign Minister, Bob Carr;
• The Fights of My Life, Greg Combet;
• A Letter to Generation Next, Kim Carr;
• Tales from the Political Trenches, Maxine McKew (updated 2013);
• Glory Daze, Jim Chalmers (former Swan adviser now an MP)
I can’t help but think that at this rate there will be as many books about this ill-fated period of Labor government as the number of bills that Gillard apologists claimed were passed during her time in the big chair. I can tell you one thing though and it is that even when they are to be found on the bookshop remainder table there will be none of them coming home with me to Chez Hall after all as someone who followed the sad and sorry tale Brother Number One, the Gillard experiment, and the then the second coming of the former Dear Leader in real time as it unfolded I don’t fell at all inclined to waste my limited reading time pouring over the entrails of a government that promised so much but ended up delivering so little of value and consequence.
We live in a secular age and in this country we expect that there should be a well defined separation between church and state, however when the government of the day “gets religion” which encourages them to set up a huge edifice to promote the tenets of their faith who would be surprised that the shear cost of the instrumentality and its lack of any immediate benefit for the billions it is costing should lead them to consider shutting it all down to help a budget bottom line that is in a rather perilous state for a plan due to be delivered just prior to the next federal election:
The thing that I find amusing about this is that it actually a wise move politically for the government to contemplate this sort of departmental pruning on a number of different levels.
Firstly the staff in this department will not be missed by the public because the work they do is pointless anyway
Secondly you can bet that as a recently created instrumentality that the majority of the staff are employed on short term contracts which would make them easier to sack/dispense with
Thirdly those public servants have been on notice since the rise of Tony Abbott that they are going to be gone as soon as he gets the lodge so being sacked by Labor won’t be much different to what they were expecting anyway.
Fourthly Most work in Canberra which is a solidly Labor town so their votes would still be mostly delivered to the government anyway because you can bet that most who work in the department are likely to be Greens supporters.
Fifthly it will save lots of money on the expenditure side of the Ledger which is desperately needed to try to balance the budget to recover Wayne Swan’s economic credibility.
Then on the other hand the Coalition must be delighted at the prospect of the Gillard government wearing all of the political pain for doing that which they will be planning as one of their first items of business after September 15. They will be able to achieve the abolition of this monument to leftist hubris with out being blamed or daemonised for doing so during the election campaign. The beauty of it all just sends a shiver down my spine , further it lends a fair bit of weight to my prediction that in a post Gillard parliament a very much chastened ALP will not oppose any bill to dismantle the Carbon Tax et al because they will be so despairing about the issue that they will just want to get it behind them and move on .
As for the Greens, well I expect that they will be rather like that Shakespearean storm, all sound and fury signifying nothing.
The more traditional game for the politically involved is Chess but as a cipher for modern democratic politics it is not really the best fit, the game is after all analogous to conflicting monarchies. Democracies have a very different dynamic. All of this is a rambling way of getting around to my view of politics as a game. Now I can just imagine that the howls of objection will begin and suggest that to see politics as a game is to not take it seriously, however as any committed sports fan will tell you there is nothing more serious than sport.
On one side of the field we have team Gillard who should have the home ground advantage except that they have done a really good job of upsetting their own fans and of course they have had to make up for the lack of a full team by bringing in some blow-ins who have their own ideas about how the team should play and its those blow-ins who have been the beginning of Team Gillard’s woes and led to them beginning their first quarter with a very spectacular own goal that has haunted them ever since. Now even if you believe in climate change this betrayal of a undertaking made just prior to the 2010 poll was very bad politics and evidence of a contempt for the voters. It was bad politics because it destroyed what little good will Gillard had left after Knifing Rudd to become team Capitan. It was also bad politics because it showed just how desperate Gillard was to get a team together. A better negotiator would have walked away when the asking price was too high. That Gillard did not do so speaks volumes about her deal making ability and none of it is good.
Impulsiveness is often cited as one of Tony Abbott‘s failings there is many a critic from the left who will insist that he is prone to “brain-farts” but there can be no better examples of flatulent thinking than the coniptions that has passed for the Gillard’s ever changing pattern of denial about the folly of changing the asylum seeker regime after winning the 2007 election. Really I don’t know if we should classify this as one own Goal or many. In the first instance there was an unbelievable denial that there was even a problem, the fans did not buy it for a minute, then there was the Timor solution that not even the Timorese knew about even though it had been announced by Gillard, then came the “Malaysian solution” which failed at the first legal hurdle, finally after some furious instance that she would not have overseas processing that is what she has created. By my count that has to be about half a dozen own goals on that issue alone.
In the more recent period of play we have seen even more own goals. The spirited defence of Craig Thompson has not been her finest hour and had she not been in such a precarious position on the numbers in the parliament Thompson would have long since been forced to resign form the house and the Government would have been truly distanced from the stench of corruption. However if Thompson is the “try” then appointing appointing Peter Slipper as Speaker of the house would have to qualify as a “conversion” because the whole point was to shore up her numbers on the field and it has turned out to be a disaster from start to finish. Firstly to make a place for Slipper in the speaker’s chair she had to give the well respected incumbent, Harry Jenkins the old heave ho and then Slipper invited derision and disdain for that high office with his instance upon reviving old out dated and pretentious ceremonial processions. Add to that the simple fact that he was dodgy on his attitude to his expense accounts and the sexual harassment claims against him and the whole business easily earns Gillard six demerit points.
But Gillard is not the only member of her team who is prone to making “Own goals” Wayne Swan has scored more than his fair share it starts with the simple fact that not one of his five budgets have ever turned out even close to his predictions , well I suspect that has been the case for many treasurers but few have been made to look as much a fool as Wayne Swan has over his instance that the promised surplus would be delivered even though this claim was widely denounced by our most knowledgeable financial commentators. When it could not be denied any longer Swan did finally admit the obvious but by this time he was well over his own goal line and the touchdown was just a formality.
Of course there is no better example of Swan’s ability to score against Labor than the MRRT which has been so unreasonably celebrated since its inception as away of clawing back a bigger return to the Australian people for the mineral riches that fuels our economy. Quite a laudable aim in many ways but the own goal lays in the design of the tax and the way that it has been spent many times over before even one cent was collected. The revelations in Fairfax press about how Swan “negotiated” the deal should stand forever as an example of the way not to get the best outcome fro the Australian people .
Its not just been the front row of team Labor who have been scoring goals for the other team the NBN has been a political disaster for Labor as well. Now as much as we all want a bigger brighter broadband network the fact that the business case for such a grand scheme can possibly be excused in the name of nation building but the cost blow-outs and endless delays are far less forgivable, likewise the minister Stephen Conroy has been less than scintillating in convincing the Australian people that the project will be worth the billions this is costing us to build it. Maybe not a own goal touchdown but it does move the ball very much into the scoring contention against their own interests .
But the biggest own goal score maker has to be the ever present Kevin Rudd, this ghost of Christmas past has been haunting Team Labor since he was so ingloriously dispatched in the 2010 Coup. He is definitely not a team Gillard player even though he wears the team jersey. He clearly wants the Captaincy again but but like Marley’s Ghost he is burdened by the chains of his past sins and they may well be to heavy a burden for him to rise cream like to the top of the Labor pail. Then again if Labor is in losing big time they may just try to use him as a final all in bet.
On the other side of the field Team Abbott have played a far more disciplined game , managing to largely stay on message and focused on the prize of ultimate victory when the final whistle blows . There have been a few stumbles but overall they have managed to maintain the momentum of play in their favour. Of course many of those who are dyed in the wool Labor Fans have been trying to get the game commentary onto the topic of next season’s plays but Abbott is faced with a team who keep scoring goals for him rather than against him so he does not have to work very hard to get that winning score. Sports fans get easily bored by a game which is too one sided and they start to drift off to the beer tent well before the final whistle. They are drifting ale-wards now and unless something truly extraordinary happens between now and September 14 we can expect Team Abbott to be crowned as champions on September 15.
*for team Abbott ;)
- I’m Kevin … and I’m from Brissie (smh.com.au)
- Rudd ‘will be PM again’ (smh.com.au)
- Swan seeks to deflect tax attention (abc.net.au)
- Labor ‘may shift back to Rudd’ (bigpondnews.com)
- The little book of big Liberal lies (cafewhispers.wordpress.com)
- Rudd … will he be back? (theage.com.au)
- Gillard can’t escape her ghosts – Rudd is too visible | The Australian (rajcairnsreport.wordpress.com)
- Labor MPs circulate anti-Rudd email (abc.net.au)
- Gillard’s not-so-merry band of has-beens and hacks (abc.net.au)
- Planet Kevin serves up revenge (smh.com.au)
I was going to write about the failure of the Labor government to come anywhere near its expectations for the MRRT but instead I post a Joe Hockey news conference where he is right on the money .
- No pavlovas for Wayne and Julia, or the abject failure of the MRRT (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- PM Gillard rejects changes to mining tax (news.com.au)
- Mining tax takes ‘massive hit’, raises $126m (news.com.au)
- Mining tax raises $126m (smh.com.au)
- Super plan to hit low-wage earners (news.com.au)
- Swan should resign over MRRT: Hockey (bigpondnews.com)
The old aphorism about the number of chickens from their precursor eggs that should have served as a source of wisdom for Wayne Swan and his peons in treasury. The fact that he had already planned a virtual feast of omelettes, sweet custards and ostentatious pavlovas from the proceeds of his mining tax demonstrates that both he and his mistress in the lodge really haven’t got a clue about the difference between their wild imaginings and the reality of the economic environment.
Only The ALP under the leadership of Julia Gillard can create a tax with such fanfare and then have it collect no revenue at all. Frankly there is one simple upside to this and that is the abolition of this badly designed tax will actually improve the government balance sheet because the commonwealth will save on the administrative costs that it has created and there will be no revenue losses to be made up elsewhere because this tax collects no revenue.
At every possible level its a very big Labor fail
The next leader of the opposition, or could Brother Number One rise again from the ashes of a Labor defeat?
Well this comrade has awoken in 2013 in good spirits having had a reasonably (for me) good night’s sleep and as no alcohol passed my lips last night I probably feel a bit better than most hangover sodden creatures this morning. As is my usual practice in the morning I was checking out the mumbling in the Fairfax press when I cam across yet another piece that was off their usual pro Labor message. I know its the silly season but if they keep this sort of thing up they might even be on the road to the sort of situation that sends shivers down the spine of every latte sipper. They might even achieve some more balanced reporting in their opinion pages .
Yes I know that normal transmission will resume shortly but allow me the indulgence of enjoying what is being presented now and the the further indulgence of wondering just who will lead a dispirited, dishevelled and much diminished Labor opposition. I won’t be Gillard or Swan because if either retain their seats they will try to hide from the world on the back bench until they can quietly resign their seats and leave politics. Frankly I think that Combet has all of the charm of a depressive undertaker and Bill Shorten is just a bit too smarmy to be viable. That just leaves that long time favourite of this blog Brother Number One (Rudd). You see I think that he has a big enough ego that he would want to be remembered as the man who twice saved Labor from the electoral wilderness and I also think that he would be up for the challenge because unlike the other contenders he is already on the reserve benches and therefore being leader of the opposition will be a step up rather than down for him.
My Good friend Ray, being a confirmed Ruddite will be delighted, OK maybe not delighted that Labor will have been defeated, but at least hopeful that under the risen Brother Number One Labor will be at least able to see the edge of the wilderness and the path to resurrection. It won’t be much comfort but a small comfort is far better than total despair that will be the lot of so many Labor supporters after the next election.
- The serious stuff dance off (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Voters not so pessimistic: Newspoll (bigpondnews.com)
- Swan on the nose with Press Gallery (dailytelegraph.com.au)
- Gillard promised the world and delivered a handful of nothing (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Union corruption, Gillard and the Labor party (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- The Gillard government, a belief in Santa Claus and the joys of Christmas (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- Gillard maps out priorities before polls (bigpondnews.com)
- ‘Aggressive’ tactics used on Gillard (smh.com.au)
- Essential: Labor ends the year well adrift (crikey.com.au)
- Labor ends year with a slight rise: poll (news.theage.com.au)
The Gillard government has announced a new dental scheme and of course they just had to make sure that I knew all about it :
I’m not sure if I’m proud of this announcement at all to be honest, I am concerned that what seems like a worthwhile benefit to the community is unfunded and not due to start until after the next election. So this thing falls very much into the election promises arena and it would be very remiss of me to remind readers of another election promise from Labor…
So the question is can we believe this one?
On their record I think not.