Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

George Williams for Parliament

Constitutional law expert Professor George Williams has today announced his desire to enter politics as a candidate for the ALP. He has already been involved in a number of government processes at both State and Federal level, most famously as part of the Constitutional Convention on the Australian republic. More recently, he co-ordinated the public consultation process for Victoria's Charter of Rights, and participated highly in the process that recently saw the NSW ALP commit to a similar process.

Though I'm uncomfortable with the notion of parachute candidates - we can talk all we like about what a great choice Peter Garrett was (and there is absolutely no doubt that he was), but I also lived in the seat that former ABC director David Hill was dropped into. Danna Vale's held it ever since. The notion that Williams is allegedly being courted for a NSW cabinet position is even more discomfiting. Profile or no profile, I'm a strong believer in the idea of paying your dues. Nevertheless, Williams' expertise and experience would make for a fine policy mind and a great addition to the state or, more ideally, the Federal caucus.

My bold suggestion? The recent redistribution has left one Sydney MP in a more precarious position than he would have hoped, having lost many silvertails and picked up an uncomfortably large proportion of latte lefties. Wouldn't it be interesting to see Williams challenge fellow republican Malcolm Turnbull and become the first ALP candidate since the legendary Jessie Street to have a genuine chance of winning the prized seat of Wentworth?


At 1:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on this milestone Minotaur, and it's very exciting that Williams has so openly announced his intention to have a go. Undoubtedly this openness has been endorsed by head office. He would be an asset to any parliament, and is just the sort of person the ALP needs for renewal of its thinning ranks.

As for paying your dues, well, he's been in the party a while, he's working hard and making a difference already and he's 10 times more impressive than many current occupants of party benches.

He'd do very nicely in Wentworth, indeed, but the recent federal redistribution was so radical that it reduces the hold of a number of ALP members on their fiefdoms. There's going to be space for him, but where?

Oh, and by the way, the party is now on a campaign footing, which means head office is free to N40 anyone they like, anywhere they like.

At 8:32 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

I'm certainly not disputing that Williams has paid his dues in terms of contributing to the party as a member - it's just that I'd imagine that whatever sitting member who was hoping for the cabinet position (not to mention the current holder!) would be pretty upset to think that someone can just swan in and become a Minister.

At 10:15 am, Anonymous George Williams said...

Thanks for the kind works (and the great website). I thought I should add a couple of things.

The first I heard of me going into State politics (and into cabinet!) was when the journalist rang me. There is no truth to that rumour. My work over the last decade has largely been about federal issues, and it is matters such as federal electoral and government reform, federalism, human rights and responsibilities, the republic, and education more generally that I want to pursue.

One of the things that has impressed me most about Peter Garrett is how he has put becoming a strong local member as his first priority. I may have built a reputation as a constitutional lawyer and policy advocate, but like anyone who might enter parliament I would need to leant the new trade.

At 2:44 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

George - a pleasure to have you as a reader!

Thanks for clarifying the situation - as you can see by my post, I also figured your interests would be more relevant to Federal rather than State politics. The states have recently made progress on issues of human rights and social justice (the Charter of Human Rights is a good example - unfortunately, the ACT Civil Unions bill was too). It would be wonderful to one day see this progress duplicated at a Federal level.

Whether Wentworth or elsewhere (I'd hardly blame you if you said no to that one, but it would be a wonderful contest!) I'm sure you would do very well if you do run.

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