Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Monday, March 06, 2006

As The Victorian Wait ...

Well, the local vote has been held, and as Labor MPs Gavan O'Connor, Maria Vamvakinou, Ann Corcoran, and especially Simon Crean wait for the result, everyone who is interested in this whole shermozzle should, if they did not see it yesterday morning, read the transcript of Bill Shorten's interview with ABC's Insiders, his first major interview since frontbencher Bob Sercombe dropped out of the race for pre-selection for Maribyrnong, allowing Sercombe a free run. Shorten's clearly as self-confident as a sparkling young Peter Beattie, has about as many new ideas as a sparkling young thing with not particularly many new ideas (and certainly not enough to sustain his `next Labor leader' tag), but the section that troubled me most about this interview was the following passage:
BARRIE CASSIDY: Do you want to see Simon Crean re-endorsed?

BILL SHORTEN: I think that Simon Crean and Martin Pakula are going through the same process that Kim Beazley went through, that I went through, that Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Costello went through.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Put it this way, though, if he wins the local ballot today and tomorrow, should he then be re-endorsed?

BILL SHORTEN: I think the local ballot is very important and I've been on record saying that. I don't want to pre-empt any outcomes, but I do think that's an important component as is the central component.

BARRIE CASSIDY: So you think the central committee should be persuaded by the local ballot or influenced by it?

BILL SHORTEN: I have no doubt the central committee will take into account all of the outcomes of all the local ballots.

BARRIE CASSIDY: You have a vote on the central committee. In fact, you probably control quite a few votes?

BILL SHORTEN: Not as many as perhaps people would claim. I think what is important is we'll see what happens today and tomorrow.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But you might be influenced by a strong local vote for Simon Crean?

BILL SHORTEN: There is no question. Strong local votes for Martin or Simon will be influential.

To suggest that the votes of the Labor rank and file should merely be a vague indicator of how the committee should vote is really a sad indictment of internal democracy within the party - internal democracy that one MP has fought harder, at more risk to himself, and for less credit, than most people realise. That MP? One Simon Crean. And a lot of good it appears to have done him. I'll say this, though - I'd rather have ten Simon Creans in the ALP than one Bill Shorten. Constitutionally, the local vote must count for 50% of the final vote (which will be held this Thursday). Should Crean - or any of the sitting MPs - receive a strong local vote and the Victorian central committee then turn around and smack them down anyway, it will only be proof of what this process is really about. Crean himself had more to say on the matter in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

The bumbling way in which the whole situation has been handled has not done Kim Beazley any favours, and it is notable that while the Victorian pre-selection has gained so much media attention - though the media does love a good old Labor bloodbath - the fact that much the same thing is occuring in the NSW Liberal Party attracted almost none. The NSW Opposition are currently a hopeless, incompetent rabble, and the worst thing they could possibly do this close to an election (yes, it's a year away, but in political years that's about a fortnight) is keep fighting amongst themselves. Today's Daily Telegraph reports that the Prime Minister's head henchman, Big Bill Heff, has been sent down to straighten them all out. A number of Liberal frontbenchers are reportedly on the chopping block, including Michael Richardson and Andrew Humpherson, as well as long serving backbenchers Wayne Merton and Malcolm Kerr. This is all couched in the rather bizarre story that John Brogden is planning to return to politics - triumphantly winning back his old seat of Pittwater in the process - and, it is implied, ousting Peter Debnam from the leadership! Not with the Right controlling the state executive he won't ...

Meanwhile, Hef's bound to be cracking his knuckles in anticipation of the renewed battle for Petro Georgious's seat. The persistent rumours that an impatient Alexander Downer will attempt to vault a sluggish - and uncomfortably leftish - Peter Costello for second place on the leaderhship ladder - also appear to be growing. All I can say is: folks, remember 1987 ...

8 Comments:

At 12:00 pm, Anonymous Guy said...

That the central committee exists at all is a sad indictment of the Labor Party. It's not democracy if the democratic process can be vetoed by "faceless men".

 
At 4:06 pm, Blogger Zoe said...

Nice post. The transcript left out the pause after "Not as many as ..." which was long enough for me to shout "I'd really like!" at the teev.

The "we want to be in government to Build Big Stuff" is a pretty sad old line too - I can't see it shifting many people outside the old style union boys anyhow.

 
At 11:09 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

Heh - that's a good point about the pause ...

 
At 11:18 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

Oh - speaking of the `process Malcolm Turnbull went through', I wonder if it's true that branch stacking and other assorted hijinks wer so bad that at one point, 25% of all members of the NSW Liberal Party lived in the electorate of Wentworth?

*snicker*

 
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