Barr, it was time.
Last week this humble columnist wrote a piece titled ‘Barr, it’s time’. Well, the day after Riotact published it, Barr’s time had come. The last week has been an historic and tumultuous week for ACT politics. With Katy Gallagher announcing her resignation as Chief Minister and her candidature for one of the safest senate seats in the country, yesterday Barr was elected unopposed as Leader of the Labor party. Today, a special sitting of The Legislative Assembly will anoint him as the Chief Minister of the ACT. At his old primary school this week Barr indicated that although there will be no radical changes to the Government’s agenda, there will be new priorities which he will outline today in the Legislative Assembly. Simon Corbell has been elected unopposed as deputy Leader. Perhaps federal Labor could take note of the ACT’s track record of smooth power transitions. Good to see The Riotact ahead of the game.
New MLA comes with conditions
As per the ACT’s Hare-Clark Electoral System, Meegan Fitzharris will nominate to fill the casual vacancy created by outgoing Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. In the 2012 ACT election Fitzharris received 2626 primary votes on the Labor ticket, which was approximately 700 votes more than newly elected Deputy Leady of the Labor Party Simon Corbell – who pretty much forgot to campaign during that election. Aligned with the party’s Right faction, Meegan Fitzharris is an experienced political operator. Currently, Fitzharris is Andrew Barr’s Chief of Staff. She holds a Bachelor in Commerce and completed her Masters in International Development. They don’t come much more Labor (well, new Labor) than Fitzharris. Yet having worked for the ACT Government and the Commonwealth Parliament, having been a director of the ACT Labor Clubs Group, along with a development manager and lobbyist husband, Fitzharris has ruled out taking a ministerial portfolio. She is known for her wide-eyed smile and would obviously be more than capable to take on a junior portfolio. Perhaps she’s a little bit shy, but I’m sure Barr is encouraging her to reconsider her position.
Jeremy Hanson and Brianna Heseltine on 2CC
Self-appointed Mr Fluffy super hero Brianna Heseltine and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson sparred this week on local radio station 2CC. Heseltine needs a taste of her own medicine. A combative, aggressive, and downright petulant Heseltine demanded an apology from Hanson within the first few minutes for not communicating with her since it was revealed earlier this year that she had joined the Australian Labor Party and tried to conceal the fact from the public. Hanson stated clearly that he simply didn’t trust Heseltine anymore, and that he determined that the fact that she tried to conceal her political ambitions compromised her position as a bipartisan spokesperson. No matter which side of the political fence you’re on, it’s fairly clear that all sides of politics have acted in good faith – the problem being, of course, that the ACT got a raw deal from the Commonwealth with a $1 billion loan. If I hear Brianna remind me again that she is the mother of two small children, I think I’m going to be sick. It is obvious that Heseltine is using the Mr Fluffy issue for her own political ambitions. And it is time for a senior member of the Labor party to tap Heseltine on the shoulder and put those ambitions to rest… Dean Hall?
On a federal note…
Nick Xenophon is forming his own party – a party of the ‘sensible centre’. He will face many hurdles, especially when it will come to finding sensible and disciplined candidates, let alone the funding. I’m waiting for the Jacqui Lambie Party – Now there’s a party!