Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Chickens, Roosters and Galahs.

It shames me to speak almost reverently about the Liberal MPs who plan to stand up against asylum seeker policy (honestly, I could never speak truly reverently about any Liberal), while making a swipe at the Federal Opposition in the same breath.

Firstly, I think Kim Beazley was unwise to invite - almost goad - the dissident MPs to `come over' and vote with the Opposition, and I certainly hope it hasn't encouraged anyone to reconsider crossing the floor. The fact that MPs are voting against their own party does not necessarily mean they are voting with Labor, only the Opposition, in the true sense of the word. I imagine the notion of voting alongside their sworn political enemies and demonstrating disloyalty to their own party pains them as much as it would me, if the shoe was on the other foot for some unfathomable reason.

Secondly - please. The stunts. They must stop.

Currently, the gambit is to label Costello a `chicken' for ending his campaign for the Liberal leadership. I've got nothing against robust behaviour in the House - if there were CDs of Paul Keating's Most Entertaining Question Times I'd be first in line to buy it - but quite frankly, this is extremely silly business (and not a particularly well chosen metaphor, given the famous labelling of Opposition leadership aspirants as `roosters').

The orthodoxy behind stunts is that they get the Opposition some publicity - any publicity. What nonsense. On a slow news day, a stunt may plug a hole between two dull stories, but little more. During a day on which important legislation is being passionately debated, stunts detract from the real issues. It would have been far more valuable to have heard what the Opposition has to say on asylum seeker legislation, or Telstra, or WorkChoices, or anything rather than see Bernie Rippoll interviewed about why he chose to bring a toy chicken into the House with him.

So there you have it, quite a bit of devil's advocacy I'm afraid, but it must be said. Schoolchildren play up not only because they dislike their teachers, but because they are safe in the knowledge that they do not share the responsibilities of their teachers, and never will do. By acting like a rabble, the Opposition risks projecting the same notion. As the last election proved, bashing Costello is a hollow exercise, and one which distracts the Opposition from its true responsibility - to articulate real answers to the problems with which the current government presents it.

As former ALP National Secretary Geoff Walsh said at the Fabian Society's forum on whether Labor could win the next election: there's one man who entertains the possibility of the Opposition winning every single election night, and that's the Prime Minister. But if the Opposition want to be a government, they have to start acting like one.


At 10:59 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Childish, yes, but I can't seeing the funny side.
Bernie Ripoll said when asked to leave the chamber "such a poultry offense", gave me a chuckle.

At 11:15 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That should read "I can't HELP seeing the funny side"

At 12:20 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

Yes, I have to admit that was cute. ;)

At 1:31 pm, Anonymous milltown pete said...

I cannot even bring myself to say "this would be funny if it wasn't so serious". At a time when Statesman-in-Waiting Beazley is getting some credibility with the electorate, and the Government is starting to fracture over refugees, IR, etc, the Opposition pulls a stunt like this and announces:
"Men and women of Australia, meet your alternative Government!"

At 2:16 pm, Blogger Zoe said...

I can understand wanting to stick it to Costello, but really, why bother? And why do it in a way that makes it so easy for the media and the public to consider you fools?

At 2:51 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

And again - why pick on Costello when you could be turning the thumbscrews in regards to any number of more important and relevant issues? It's actually quite bizzare, especially during a time when the economic climate and government itself have offered Labor so many free kicks.

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