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Archive for November, 2007

New Leadership

Meet Team Rudd.

Meet the Next John Howard – except that I don’t think this one will win government.

Meet the Next Peter Costello – except that I think this one will have the guts to challenge his new leader.

And it’s going to be Bishop vs Gillard on IR. Given that these are the current and previous education ministers as well, it will be interesting to see whether Bishop will confine herself to the new portfolio or will try to match Julia across the board.

In general, the Labor Cabinet seems to make pretty good sense. Rudd had a fair bit of talent to squeeze in there, but he seems to have handled it pretty well. Now we’ll wait and see how the opposition chooses to match up in the rest of the portfolios, and to what extent Nelson opts for renewal (and attempts to wipe clean the Howard hierarchy).

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Deed Poll

I’m going through a pseudonym reassignment process. I’ve dropped the ‘P’ from the front of my name – it was an obscure reference to Terry Pratchett (while another such reference exists on the ‘About’ page for this blog), and people keep reading my name as ‘phobias’ instead.

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John Howard might be gone

but John Howard’s Australia isn’t.

We saw the same attitudes behind this attack at the earlier protest against the school.

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A clever old bloke

Paul Keating should just get his own talk radio show. While he certainly puts his own place in history in the most favourable possible light, his assessments of others are pretty much always right on the mark:

The reaction for me was, as I said in a piece in the Herald this morning, was not one of happiness. Some people said, “oh you must be happy”. I said no, I was just so relieved that the toxicity of this government had gone, you know? That this dreadful, vicious show, which had been around for all these years, you know, the active disparagement of particular classes and groups.

You know, John Howard said to Miranda Devine in the Sun Herald a week ago that his great achievement he said was to, you know, turn over political correctness. In other words what he thought was really good was to be politically incorrect, you know, to be able to sling off at someone’s colour or their religion, you know. And in a country of immigrants, this is poison for this society, poison for us.

I mean now, you know, look how cautious people have got about, you know, this omnipresent government with its viciousness, you know? When it left it was like a, I felt like, you know sometimes you see people at factories, they’ve been in a plant that’s got toxic stuff on them, they get hosed down later? I felt on Saturday night I’d been hosed down.

The Howard Government was poisonous – all of the economic prosperity in the world cannot change the fact that they did nothing to bring Australia together. Keating has captured exactly how I feel now as well.

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Leadership vacuum expands

Now Vaile is going to the back benches.

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Which election were you watching?

Is Brandis commencing a double dissolution suicide mission?

“This is the mandate theory that I don’t particularly subscribe to,” Senator Brandis told ABC Radio in Brisbane.

“I think it’s a weak theory, unless it could be said unequivocally that the election turned on one issue and one issue alone.

“I myself think the overwhelming factor was just a desire for change – you couldn’t say that this election was decided on Work Choices.”

UPDATE: Thumbs up to Steve in the comments at The Poll Bludger, who dug out this Brandis quote from 2005:

Well, I think in the first place, it will mean that the government will be able to deliver on the mandate that it’s received. If you look at the legislation that’s been held up in the Senate in the past, most of that legislation is legislation for which the government has received a mandate, not once, but now at four successive elections, most notably the industrial relations legislation. Now, I’ve lost count, honestly, of the number of times on which that package of bills has been knocked back. Last time I counted, I think it was about 17 times. That has been a manifesto commitment of the government at each one of the last four federal elections, but our Labor opponents, under the Whip from the trade unions, have knocked it back. We’ll be able to pass it and so give effect to the people’s expressed wishes at the election. Can I broaden that point to make a different point? Just because the government has a majority in the Senate, where does the notion come from that that’s un-democratic? I remember in years gone by when Mr Keating and Mr Hawke and before that Mr Whitlam were the Prime Minister, the Labor Party would say, “Well, how undemocratic can this be, that the Senate is holding up legislation which we the Labor Government committed to at elections?” When the boot’s on the other foot, somehow the argument changes.

Yes, somehow the argument does change.

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The people who brought you this:

are now whistling a different tune:

Mr Gailey said despite the concerns during the election campaign about the power of union leaders, he was not worried about the government dominated by newly-elected union identities such as Bill Shorten and Greg Combet.

“We’ve worked successfully with Labor governments in the past and I don’t see any issues in terms of the people who will be part and parcel of of that government and that we won’t be able to work with them,” he said.

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GG or OG?

The greatest unanswered question after Team Howard’s defeat is not who will lead the Liberals. It is the question of whether the Australian will be a mouthpiece of the Government or a mouthpiece of the Liberal Party. Government Gazette or Opposition Gazette – what will it be?

From Shanahan’s first column under the new regime, it’s a bit hard to tell. He seems to make a good attempt at treating Rudd as a deity, much as he did John Winston Howard. But there are also some potential barbs in there. He seems to be setting very high expectations for Rudd. He is also claiming that the economy is cruising along smoothly, when growth is in fact more of a problem than he makes out. And there is a rather sad claim that John Howard had to “rebuild an economy” when he took power, which is rubbish – the most substantial work on adapting the Australian economy was out of the way before Howard arrived, but he was lucky enough to take credit for it (and Dennis is silly enough to give it to him).

It seems to me that the Murdoch outlets are likely to remain conservative mouthpieces, the Australian included. But given that Labor has a leader who is perceived to be considerably further to the right than any of his predecessors, I am interested to see how they will treat him.

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Charming

and completely misguided:

Mr Howard, who almost certainly has lost his seat of Bennelong, said nothing publicly yesterday. His only duty was a private function for staff at Kirribilli House. As the Liberals drowned their sorrows on Saturday night, one former senior Liberal adviser blamed the result on “the f—ing Chinese”, an apparent reference to Asian voters in Bennelong turning against Mr Howard.

That comment demonstrates the hubris and stupidity of so many who have been involved in the Howard Liberal Party. First, the entire country turned against you – the election was not lost because of Bennelong, but the loss of Bennelong was part of the national movement. Second, the election was lost because the voters rejected the Liberal Party’s policy platform – WorkChoices in particular, but on other issues such as education and health as well. Third, this type of statement highlights exactly the type of racism that has underpinned the divisive Howard regime – and if voters from a non-English speaking background turned against Howard, then perhaps Team Lindsay deserve a bit more of the blame than “the f—ing Chinese.”

We are well rid of this government and the arrogant, racist thugs who cheered for them.

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Didn’t get the memo

It looks like Tip didn’t fill his press secretary, the Poison Dwarf, in on his plans:

Despite Labor’s depiction of Mr Costello as a “living smirk”, he’s a gregarious, funny and self-deprecating person. This side will be on show as opposition leader.

And, despite speculation he might not want the job after almost 12 years as treasurer, Mr Costello has already taken the decision to accept the challenge of the opposition leadership.

In this respect, he learned a lesson from former Labor leader Mark Latham’s early departure from politics.

Mr Costello considers politics to be his vocation and does not want to repeat Mr Latham’s mistake – abandoning his career too early and living the rest of his life wondering “what if”.

Latham at least stepped up and took the leadership when there was a chance to grab it. Tip’s mistakes are all his own.

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