Modia Minotaur

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Invisible Man

Andrew Clennell's recent Sydney Morning Herald article set the tone for the election commentary with which we'll be bombarded for the next few months. Suddenly, an election that seemed quite a way off is almost upon us.

Which begs the question: Where the heck is Peter Debnam?

To my knowledge - and I could be wrong and have been in the past - he is not officially on leave. He has been doing media - just nothing very substantial. The last news story I recall that featued Debnam, some time before Christmas, was a piece of high-Silly Season puff about him donating 740ml of blood (perhaps mopped up from his Cabinet room). Nevertheless, Barry O'Farrell has made most major media statements that I've seen - not as Acting Leader, but as Deputy - and Shadow Ministers such as Chris Hartcher have picked up the slack. This is particularly odd, as it is consistently asserted that O'Farrell is not interested in challenging, and who can blame him - the same cadre that made sure he lost out to Debnam in the first place would make things extremely hard for him as leader.

This doesn't bode well for Debnam, three months away from the election. Recent polling would certainly not lend any comfort to him. Nor would anecdotal evidence suggests that some Liberal candidates are even shying away from mentioning his name in local campaigning. It's almost - almost - conceivable that he'd leave before the election. In any case, he's not likely to stick around for long afterwards.

Speaking of afterwards - a NSW Government reshuffle must surely be in the planning stages, given that the NSW Cabinet is now two Ministers less than it was this time last year and, with departure of Bob Debus, will be missing a third after the election. It's likely to be from amongst the Parliamentary Secretaries that new Ministers are drawn. Linda Burney, a former Director General of Aboriginal Affairs, is an obvious and excellent choice for that portfolio. As for the rest - well, I'll have to think about that, and so will Morris Iemma, I imagine ...

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