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Ted Quinlan pulls the pin on his political career.

By johnboy 27 January 2006 27

ABC Online is reporting that Treasurer and voice of sanity in the ACT Assembly, Ted Quinlan, is quitting politics in March.

They expect clever clog Andrew Barr to get the vacant position.

UPDATE: Richard Mulcahy has wasted no time in putting out a media release praising Ted and questioning the competence of a ted-less Labor Government.

“In a Territory Government dominated by the high-spending members of the left faction, I can sympathise with Mr Quinlan’s frustration in being unable to manage the territory’s budget against these forces.

“I expect that Mr Corbell will be handed the role of Treasurer and it will be one of life’s mysteries as to how he will balance his propensity for high cost and ill-considered proposals such as the busway with the need to demonstrate restraint and control over government expenditure.

The Chief Minister has also paid tribute:

His departure from Government will leave a huge gap.

Interestingly there is, at this time (15.28), no statement by Ted on his page.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Canberra Times coverage is now up. Also many people are reading a lot into an old note on Mike Hettinger’s web-page in which he seems to think back in 2004 that he’s got the numbers to fill any labor vacancies. And Mike really is a rocket scientist!

ANOTHER UPDATE AND A BUMP TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE: ABC Online is now reporting Ted saying he thought he was going to lose Treasury in the forthcoming reshuffle anyway. (Also this is one story where the comments are well worth reading)

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27 Responses to
Ted Quinlan pulls the pin on his political career.
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johnboy 8:12 pm 04 Feb 06


He had a very well put together website and he put together an intelligent set of answers to the RiotACT candidate survey.

Cassandra 8:05 pm 04 Feb 06

Excuse me for asking but how did someone like Andew (never hear of outside of the ACT ALP) Barr get the kind of wraps he’s getting. He has all the halmarks of the kind of stiff that John Button wrote about in his quarterly Beyond Belief essay a couple of years ago.

A complete party hack, living entierly of the party and/or public purse.

If this is the best the ALP can come up with then god help it.

Mal 9:05 am 02 Feb 06

Areaman, this quilling is indeed a shocking depravity. It must be purged from the world’s parliaments.

Seriously, when I’ve been in the gallery, I’ve never seen MacDonald quilling. Googling her suggests that she does indeed make these things and donates them to community groups & charities for fund-raisers, so I assume she does have this hobby at least. If its the worst that can be said about her, then I think we’d cope. I suspect, like knitting or breastfeeding in the chamber, its doesn’t actually stop her from listening. If by “being involved” you mean interjecting & other yobbo behaviour, then she should stick to quilling. Besides, its not as if she’s drunk in the chamber.

athena 2:09 pm 01 Feb 06

Heard Mike Hettinger on ABC radio yesterday sounds like a good bloke… had some good things to say about sustainable transport – good to hear a pollie talking some sense in this car dependant city…especailly with such high petrol prices!!!!
Found the transcript at:

Thumper 9:11 am 01 Feb 06

Whatever the case, I think Ted deserves kudos for his effort to bring some sanity to a government that quite often appears to berift of it.

No rubbishy ideologies from Ted, just a clear view of what needs doing and when.

He will be missed, possibly more than we realise at present.

areaman 4:24 pm 31 Jan 06

It’s true, on paper, but you ever spent any time with her. She spends her time in the Assembly quilling rather than actually listening or being involved.

Plus the actual reason Hargreaves got the ministry was that he had faction support from the larger of the two rights, and I don’t think MacDonald has that.

Mal 4:01 pm 31 Jan 06

To see who might be the next minister, it might actually be worth using the criteria that the last new minister, John Hargreaves, was decided on. Last time, Hargreaves supporters online cited 1) his electoral performance (as apparent evidence of ability), and 2) that he’d been there the longest (ie experience).

On both these criteria, you’d have to give the next ministry to Karin MacDonald.

Re 1) If you look at the results on the ACT Electoral Commission website, MacDonald got the highest primary vote at the 2004 election (by total, percentage, and quota fraction) out of all the possible contenders for the ministry. This was a substantial improvement on her 2001 result, where she also outpolled all other non-incumbent Labor candidates. This increase is a considerable achievement given that, unlike Hargreaves, she has never had a frontbench position (from govt or opposition) to create a media profile from. Getting elected in 2001 in the first place was even more impressive. This was the first time a party had won a majority of seats in an electorate in the ACT. If MacDonald had not displaced Paul Osborne, or if the Democrats had won the 5th seat (as Crispin Hull was calling even after the election), then Labor and the Liberals would have had 7 seats each – and its by no means certain that Labor would be in govt at all. It seems odd that Stanhope has apparently not rewarded MacDonald for this until now, so he might have been waiting for this opportunity.

Re 2) this is of course MacDonald’s second term and brings more parliamentary and government experience and skills than the other contenders. Her bio and committee lists on the ACT Assembly websites would suggest that she’s been on every Assembly committee except Planning at one time or another. In this capacity and as govt whip, the Govt has been heavily reliant on her skills & experience in handling the uncharted waters (in the ACT) of majority govt. She’d have to be principally responsible for preventing the Liberals from using the committee system to discredit Labor ministers on several fronts, while still disproving the Liberals’ charge that majority govt would be disastrous for accountability via the committee system. It’s all very tedious stuff which bores journalists, which might explain why MacDonald doesn’t get as much airplay as her more boisterous male colleagues. But its vital for a functioning parliamentary democracy, and I suspect the Stanhope Govt would look alot sillier without her.

Of course, you could argue that criteria 1) or 2) either shouldn’t or won’t be the determinants of the ministerial vacancy. But it would seem odd if the criteria that were applied to a man weren’t applied equally to a woman. Wouldn’t it?

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