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Is Andrew Barr’s push for the top job on?

By johnboy - 30 July 2009 31

In CityNews Michael Moore is speculating that a full blown leadership run is underway from Andrew Barr and the so called “right” of the ACT ALP.

    The manoeuvring has now begun for the first right-faction government to take power in the ACT.

    Unlike other parliaments, the Chief Minister of the ACT is not just the leader of the majority party but is elected by vote on the floor of the Assembly. However, the structure of the parties and the voting system still put a right-faction Labor member as favourite in any vote for Chief Minister.

    However, it may be assumed that Hargreaves understands the election process used in the Assembly for choosing a Chief Minister. He can be pretty confident that the Greens will not vote for the Liberals. Therefore, any right-faction candidate put up by Labor will be elected. And the right faction does have the numbers within Labor’s parliamentary caucus. Katy Gallagher and Simon Corbell are from the left and Jon Stanhope non-aligned. The other four are from the right faction – Mary Porter, Andrew Barr, John Hargreaves and Joy Burch. The time is right for them to ask what chance they have at the next election of improving their position with Jon Stanhope at the helm.

Others have noticed that for the first time in the nearly eight years of Jon Stanhope’s long rule that the Chief Minister’s media release page is no longer a comprehensive collection of the public utterances of his ministers.

Andrew Barr’s last media release there was on 17 June. Over on Andrewbarr.com.au however, he’s been very busy with 11 announcements made since that time.

I think it was about two months ago that RiotACT’s all seeing eye had to be tasked with keeping a lookout on Mr Barr’s page as well as the Chief’s. Something that has never been necessary in eight year.

What’s Your opinion?


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Is Andrew Barr’s push for the top job on?
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RayP 6:46 pm 31 Jul 09

It seems to me that far from simply being able to assume that the Greens would support Labor, the need for support from the Greens may be the critical factor in the Labor leadership and Barr’s future.

Its been apparent since the election was declared that the right had the numbers in the Labor caucus, and so, if that was all that mattered, then the right would have taken the leadership with the likely options being Hargreaves or Barr.

The critical constraint on that is that Labor does not have the numbers in the Assembly and so it needs the support of the Greens. And it seems that the Greens may not be willing to support Hargreaves or Barr.

If this is the case, then the critical factor in Barr’s future, at least between now and the next election, is not what numbers he has in the Labor caucus, but what the Greens think of him.

My guess is that if the Greens decided they were willing to support Barr as chief Minister, then it would happen very quickly. This is what the numbers and the realities of politics suggest.

I would have expected then that if Barr wanted to be Chief Minister, that he would have been building his relationship with the Greens and perhaps making compromises to achieve their support.

But I have not seen this. Barr continues to make decisions which the Greens do not like. For example, see Le Couteur’s recent criticism of Barr over the lack of an EIS for the Lower Molonglo developments.

Without the support of the Greens, given the numbers in the Assembly, it’s hard to see how Barr could be Chief Minister.

And it is also difficult to see how Barr could be Chief Minister if he is not willing or able to build support where he needs it to have the numbers in the Assembly.

Perhaps I am missing something here but these seem to be the stark realities given the numbers in the Assembly.

Unless someone wants to suggest that the Liberals are about to support Barr for Chief Minister.

housebound 4:46 pm 31 Jul 09

It’s the ‘pretend to hold Labor accountable’ that I have trouble with. You could guarantee they would hold the Libs accountable, which is why a Libs-greens alliance would have been better. I personally would like to se the Greens doing more, and they could really throw their weight around at the libs.

Currently, labor take their ‘good friends the Greens’ for granted, and therefore also the electorate.

Pelican Lini 1:53 pm 31 Jul 09

Shouldn’t generalise of course but Don Dunstan was one of the best modern-day era premiers.
I think Ms Gallagher is a spunk, which is usually enough for me to support a candidate (I voted for Kevin ‘cos of his nice hair).
It seems from some of the comments here, however, that she may be lacking in CM potential, which should certainly be considered by her colleagues (although some of them shouldn’t even be there).
Our current (Belconnen-centric) CM seems to be the type who would never willingly contemplate that it was time to move on (like JH), so I think it’s healthy that someone else is positioning themself for “glory”.
I could imagine News Ltd (and some of their readers) getting very hot and bothered if an openly gay man were to lead ACT and it would certainly give some outside critics new material for jokes and jibes.
But I say “raise the Barr”.
Thus ends Pelican’s political punditry.

LG 1:51 pm 31 Jul 09

RayP said :

But a Liberal – Green coalition in the ACT could break the ice and perhaps have dramatic effects on Australian politics.

There was a Liberal – Green coalition in Tasmania. Didn’t work but then neither did the Labor – Green coalition (also Tas).

I don’t see the current Greens siding with the Liberals as it might mean they’d have to take on some actual responsibility. Didn’t the Green turn down a Liberal offer for a ministry or two after the elction to back Stanhope, so they could stay ‘independent’?

Clown Killer 1:03 pm 31 Jul 09

I agree Ray.

The underlying philosophy of the Green movement has always been an extremist one that naturally sits more comfortably with the authoritarian far right. On the other hand, the current crop of Greens in the ACT Legislative Assembly are only there because of the votes of people disenfranchised by Labor but incapable of voting Liberal – Whether they like it or not, their mandate is to exclude the conservatives from forming government and to pretend to hold Labor accountable.

I don’t see this changing whilst the greens persist with the same recruitment model as the big parties – selecting party insiders over competent candidates.

peterh 12:38 pm 31 Jul 09

RayP said :

I don’t know why it is so easily assumed that the Greens would support the Labor party and whoever they put forward as Chief Minister.

From a quick google search, there are reports on developments in Germany where the process seems to have moved on from coalition governments at the state level to the prospect of a national conservative – green coalition government.

Of course this is controversial with benefits and risks for both parties.

But a Liberal – Green coalition in the ACT could break the ice and perhaps have dramatic effects on Australian politics.

And it would be consistent with the kinds of developments and possibilities which are being explored in Europe.

Those who assume that the Greens will always support Labor may have their eyes closed.

being only able to base our opinions on the track record to date, future govts may well be green / liberal, or libs only. it depends on how much damage the greens have done tothemselves, siding with the labor party this time around.

RayP 12:18 pm 31 Jul 09

I don’t know why it is so easily assumed that the Greens would support the Labor party and whoever they put forward as Chief Minister.

From a quick google search, there are reports on developments in Germany where the process seems to have moved on from coalition governments at the state level to the prospect of a national conservative – green coalition government.

Of course this is controversial with benefits and risks for both parties.

But a Liberal – Green coalition in the ACT could break the ice and perhaps have dramatic effects on Australian politics.

And it would be consistent with the kinds of developments and possibilities which are being explored in Europe.

Those who assume that the Greens will always support Labor may have their eyes closed.

Skidbladnir 11:55 am 31 Jul 09

I think RiotACT could appreciate the story when\if the headlines started referring to to “Raising the Barr”, “Labor Barred Up and Raring for an Election”, etc…
😀

housebound 10:52 am 31 Jul 09

Barr did a very excellent job _on_ school closures, no arguments there.

I hope he never does a job on me or any of my interests.

peterh 10:35 am 31 Jul 09

Thumper said :

Its not like he personally caused the problem or allowed it to develop (Katy was the Education minister), he just got to deliver the bad news

And it had Stanhope’s money grabbing hands all over it as well.

Considering that he got the poison chalice from katy, what else would she drop him in if she was (shudder) CM?

He would be a better person for the job – approachable, and actually listens when you speak to him – his eyes don’t glaze over when you are talking… Don’t get me wrong, i fought the school closures, but at least the discussions i have had with him have been positive, I wasn’t dismissed out of hand.

Clown Killer 10:33 am 31 Jul 09

Barr did an excellent job on the school closures – effectively managing a difficult project in the face of a shrill and hysterical self interest minority. Gallagher on the other hand has never missed an opportunity to demonstrate her incompetence and in fact will often go the extra yards just to prove she’s a twit.

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