Modia Minotaur

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Life Without Tinkerbell

NSW Shadow Attorney General Andrew Tink's decision to quit politics has come as a surprise - and perhaps an unpleasant shock to some of his Oppositon colleagues. It comes a matter of weeks after the Sydney Morning Herald's Jonathon Pearlman's panegyric on the big man's parliamentary skills. Pearlman suggested that Tink - nicknamed `the chainsaw' for his style of delivery - was a much needed attack dog for an Opposition bereft of effective performers, and that`the party relies on Tink as a rallying point.'. I think there's a lot of truth to this. Don't forget, also, that Tink was the man John Howard nominated as his preferred choice to lead the NSW Liberal Party. To have gone from this to retirement in a matter of months is quite astonishing.

But now, the NSW Liberals have lost another undoubtedly effective frontbencher - and what's left? A lot of naysayers mumble darkly about the current government and what they are and are not doing, but frankly - to cast an eye over the Opposition benches is not a promising prospect. Peter Debnam - installed by the right wing factions that have over-run the NSW Liberal Party - is about as exciting a parliamentary performer as a cold trout. Barry O'Farrell seems barely allowed to speak anymore, silenced as he is by these same factional warlords (yes, the Liberal Party has them too). Tink has attributed his exit from politics to stress and a recent bout of illness, but it would be an awful outcome, not only for his own party but for Australian democracy in general, if he too has become fed up by the factional brawling that dare not speak its name within the NSW Liberal Party.

If you should think I'm being too soft on the Liberals, I'll let the man generally agreed to be Parliament's current best performer, Labor frontbencher Carl Scully, have the last say:
Even Scully has acknowledged Tink's flair for theatrical debate, in a tribute to his opponent at the closing of Parliament in December. "Andrew, I know I have often said that you are one of the best actors in the House," Scully said. "Your feigning of indignation is just terrific. The raised chin, the props, the puffed-out chest, the thumping fist - it is a performance to behold.

"I do not know whether anyone sees too much of it on the video, but you ought to make sure that one day, when you are an old coot getting around with a walking stick, you say to your grandchildren, 'There I was."'

Seriously - it's a shame whenever anyone retires in sad circumstances, so I wish Tink all the best.


At 11:43 am, Anonymous Guy said...

Interesting times eh. The Libs are seemingly doing everything they can to stay in opposition.

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