Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Musical Chairs II

It seems the word `preselection' had only just slipped out of my mouth, and yet the phones of the powerbrokers have clearly already been running hotter than a Sussex St Chinese meal for weeks, given today's news that a number of long-serving NSW MPs could be sacrificed to the great god of Party Renewal before the next election.

Despite this week's cabinet promotions overwhelmingly going to figures on the Right, a gentleman's agreement has apparently been reached between the Left and Right, wherein for each member of the Left to be bounced, a member of the Right will also agree to go. Bryce Gaudry is amongst those who has reportedly already agreed to step down, while Marie Andrews is considering her future. Ian Macdonald - a relatively low profile minister but a senior Left powerbroker - is amongst those on the other side whose pre-selection is reportedly threatened, as is that of longtime activist and Upper House MP Meredith Burgmann. Such a move may prompt Burgmann - already the Duty Senator for Bligh (or Sydney, as it will be renamed by the time of the election) - to announce her intentions to challenge Clover Moore for her Lower House seat, as has long been rumoured.

As Simon Crean is currently learning in Victoria, `party renewal' can be about more than just clearing the decks for new talent. To paraphrase The Byrds (not to mention a contentious little tome called `The Bible'), there is a time for moving on, a time for assessing one's legacy, but also a time for passing on that legacy and experience to younger MPs whilst still in office. I have said before that legacy is one of the Labor Party's richest assets and most important weapons. Relied on too heavily, it is also one of its weaknesses. But to discard its legacy - and the people who created it - can be to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let's hope the one-for-one policy will ensure that the process is fair, that the people who go are ready to, and most importantly, that the new candidates that are pre-selected as a result justify what can be an extremely painful process. In short - let's hope this truly is about party renewal, rather than personal ambition.

7 Comments:

At 12:39 pm, Anonymous Naomi said...

The Herald reports today that Luke Foley has said that McDonald is safe from challenges. Hope that's also the case for the good doctor, although she would be great in Bligh.

 
At 7:23 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

So I hear. I also think it would be a great shame to see Meredith Burgmann lost to the movement - and I can't see her going without a fight. Jason at Stoush makes a good point though. Who says who is `safe from challenges' and who isn't? If this business about one member of the Left going for every member of the Right who goes, is it fair that Macdonald is protected and others aren't?

Another good doctor, Dr Carmen Lawrence, had some very smart words to say on the topic of the democracy of preselections - or lack thereof - during tonight's `PM' (she was discussing the Simon Crean situation). As soon as the interview comes on line, I'll post a link to it.

 
At 11:03 am, Blogger Minotaur said...

Here tis.

 
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