Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Jackie Kelly - Dancing on Thin Ice

Jackie Kelly - now there's a strange case. They think Barnaby Joyce is a tad fractious, but Kelly has, since leaving the Federal Cabinet (largely on the basis of restrictions on childcare that her own government were responsible for), spent more time battling her own side than the Opposition. Indeed, her comments on childcare issues a few months back essentially agreed that the Opposition's policy on this issue is superior to that of the Government.

Today, it's her description of Peter Costello as `a toff' who perpetuates the image of the snotty Born to Rule Liberal that has been attracting attention. Now, I'm not one to suggest that people intimately involved in political parties should keep their mouth shut when they think things are wrong. This is how we stop things like Groupthink from occurring. But Kelly's comments are quite bizzare - you might say non-strategically combative. Every man and his dog knows that Costello will take the leadership if and when Howard finally buggers off. Kelly has said she would resign if this occurred, but would she? And if she did, how would her constituents regard such a move?

What I'd be very interested in is exactly how Kelly is perceived in her local electorate, the marginal seat of Lindsay - one of the seats that make up the much-overstated Liberal takeover of Western Sydney. Such bombast may be interpreted as the actions of a Joyce-style maverick, scorning the minutiae of the parliamentary process to Fight For the Little People. However, it may also be interpreted as a pollie going a bit flaky. Kelly complains about her party being interpreted as `pearls and twin set'. Well, what do you expect, Jackie? This is a party which would sell its own mother if an economic rationalist argument could be found for it. If you want strong social policy, you're going to have to join another party.

Kelly happily admits to having no respect for the party room process, and only attending party room meetings intermittently. She is still, to my knowledge, planning to continue her stint on `Dancing on Ice' rather than return to Parliament this week (someone who watches this godawful piece of guff should feel free to correct me - perhaps she's already been voted off). Perhaps this does bring her closer to her electorate. We all know more attention (and respect) is paid to winners of reality shows than to politicians. Yet these same constituents should realise that while Kelly talks the talk, she doesn't appear to want to walk the walk.

And yet, she has stated her intention to run for the next election. It's all very odd. Here's hoping that a decent Labor candidate is chosen to run against her. To make the first of the Federal election predictions - I'll eat my hat if she manages to hold on to this seat.


At 10:10 am, Anonymous milltown pete said...

"To make the first of the Federal election predictions - I'll eat my hat if she manages to hold on to this seat."
I'll make the second - the power base of the Libs is now Sydney. Note that the only "other" leadership contenders (Nelson, Abbott, Turnbull) are from Sydney's Money Belt and there is not longer any need to pay lip service to the Melbourne Club. Costello will bugger off BEFORE Howard and Turnbull will lead the Libs after 2007.

At 10:59 am, Anonymous Guy said...

Pick a tasty hat - speaking from personal experience out there she really has rusted herself on. She is going to be difficult to remove almost regardless of what she does, and the likely candidate has been beaten on a couple of previous occasions now.

At 12:34 pm, Blogger Zoe said...

I heard an interview with Julia Baird around the time she released "media tarts" discussing how Kelly had crafted an image within her electorate of being "tracky dacky Jackie"; there were also her (Kelly's) comments about constituents not wanting to go to university. I see it all in that vein, and in the success of "aspirational workers" where being a self employed skilled worker - not being a toff - can make you very bloody comfortable.

At 2:29 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

I'd heard that she was rusted on too, Guy. The question is - how much longer will she get away with portraying herself as Matriarch of the Battlers and misrepresenting what her party stands for while WorkChoices, Welfare to Work and all the other policies that give her constituents a kick in the rump come out of the party of which she's a member?

At 7:38 am, Anonymous milltown pete said...

The way that Kelly won the seat in the '96 by-election after the Court of Disputed Returns tossed out the election result, shows how volatile that area can be. She picked up a 5% swing in the 7 months between polls, when the "Aspirationals" decided the Libs could make them rich.
It remains almost unaffected by the redistribution, and has always been a favourite "jumping on" point of what has become the classic aspirational voter. Remember that this demographic is not necessarily wealthy, but desperately wants to be, and if she is seen to be unable to deliver that wealth, the reaction will be rapid and massive.
She is VERY vulnerable, and hence the cow-eyed support for the icon of the aspirational voter, John Howard.

At 1:35 am, Blogger Minotaur said...

Too true. I'd forgotten about the disputed returns. According to Antony Green's website she last won on a margin of 5.5 with a small swing to Labor. Take into account the redistribution and you think - surely, she's decided to go out in a ball of flames?

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