There are political junkies out there who have been relatively starved over Christmas for things to criticise, speculate over or of some carrion feasting.
But this week has given us a glut of issues to rip into.
Starting local, we had Minister Joy Burch stand aside from the new Barr ministry after being belted from one end of the town to the other, over months, perhaps years for issues largely out of her control. Perhaps if they had been in her control, things may have been different.
As someone with a modicum of experience in being accident prone in the political battlefield, I know the symptoms of a political death by a thousand cuts. I watched it happen with Joy. Her non-nomination for the ministry after the spill of positions in the Caucus of last week was the right decision, made a little later than was probably a good thing for all, but the right thing for Joy and her family – not to mention the Barr Labor Government. It also robs the Opposition of a target.
Mary Porter has announced she’s going early due to health issues, and these are real issues not confected ones. Mary has done a great job and deserves to take it a bit easy now. Enter Jayson Hinder, a lawyer with good community creds and a leg up in the new seat of Yerrabi. All eyes will be on Jayson. He should bring some depth into the Caucus. I despaired when I heard that Simon Corbell was leaving because this was a real blow to the depth and experience so needed in a Government. Hinder will fill some of that void. Hopefully, a new broom with Fischer, Maftoum, Gupta and Kulasingham will add a huge amount of freshness, expertise and experience which together with good community creds speaks well of the Labor offerings next time up. The challenge for the Libs is to find some candidates with the talent to match the new offerings from the Labor Party. I’m not blown away by the Greens offerings but let’s see the whole field. Maybe the factional heavies in the ACT Libs are dragging the chain because they haven’t got people banging down their doors for preselection.
The big surprise was the creation of another ministry taking the number to seven. Everyone’s a winner! Meegan Fitzharris is elevated in her first term (after coming in on a countback – sound familiar?) just as her old boss Mr Barr did in his first term after winning a countback. Always good when the boss gives you a leg up!
Still, when all is done, this is a new team and it looks fresh and in some cases raring to go. Contrast that with those opposite. Jeremy says that there will be no changes to his team until after the election. His team really needs refreshing. We haven’t heard much from anyone other than Jeremy and Alistair. But Alistair seems stuck on the tram issue and hasn’t offered much up in the alternatives for any other bit of public transport other than Northbourne Avenue. I have to say that the Northbourne stoush is getting a bit boring out in the ‘burbs. Jeremy seems to be constantly telling the public what he won’t do but the public need a reason to switch and he hasn’t got much time to give it to them.
The media has pretty much concentrated on Barr and Co. But Jeremy’s latest is a good one though. Use the ‘tough on crime’ stance. Whilst this is usually a good ploy, it is a bit inconsistent with his criticism of an ever-filling Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).
I often rail against the constant attention the Labor Party gets over factional politics. I have been somewhat amused to see the gnashing of teeth and the sharpening of knives by the Liberal factional heavies in NSW. Let’s be a bit even handed here. My turn…
I was a bit surprised to see Dick Smith come out and give his erstwhile street mate and fellow student in the blue ribbon seat such a flogging. Given the flogging Joy Burch got and the entreaties for her to go altogether now, where are the same comments about Ms Bishop? Interesting that Dick is putting out the blackmail saying that if Bronnie runs, so will he! But if someone younger has a go, he’ll forget it. I believe it!
And how about the bloodletting over Rowdy Ruddock, Billy Heffernan? Just to mention a couple of big names. It seems as though the Libs in NSW are shaping up every bit as nasty and manipulating as those shock jocks call Labor on. So where is Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt and that collection of fair minded journos, calling for some scrutiny on the selection process? Just who are the Preselection Committees in each electorate? Are they Faceless Men? Are they the factional bosses like Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton or Bronwyn Bishop? All the talk about the sleazy processes Labor employs pales into insignificance when compared with the dynastic approach of the Liberal Party Powerbrokers.
It’s about time the laundry got a good airing. It is about time the public saw clearly the hypocrisy of one side of politics claiming to be like Caesar’s wife when indeed they need a good cleaning out.
When the ALP preselections are on, all eyes are on the unions, the factional bosses, the Parliamentary Leader.
Well, Bill Shorten has done a lot to clean up the ALP’s act. So where are you Malcolm, me old mate? I reckon he is just waiting to see if Tone is gunna give it another go. Remember Paul Keating sitting on the backbench to Bob Hawke, John Howard doing the same to Peacock, Malcolm Fraser to John Gorton, and Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard? Well here we go again, folks.
Christmas is over, guys, bring on the elections. It just might be a better ride than anyone of us think.