Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Another Star drops off the Stick

After a flurry of mixed messages from the political punditry, it now appears increasingly likely that former ACTU inamorata and sitting member Jennie George may become a victim of "Super Saturday", as the ALP production-line preselection slaughterhouse has become known.
As late as yesterday, most commentators were smugly opining that dead-cert Greg Combet would be slipping comfortably into the Green Room to further extend the ranks of ACTU retirees, but some are not so sure. The surprise inclusion of Ms George's seat of Throsby in the Saturday list, and that nothing approaching a ringing endorsement of her has come from former factional allies, seems to suggest that her days may be numbered.
If this does happen, she will be the third female MP to be shown the door, and this must surely hit the tripwire on Labor's Affirmative Action plan.
A likely profile for her replacement? Right Wing, Celebrity, Female.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Young and the Odious

You might have assumed that the NSW Election was a point of crisis for the far-right in the NSW Liberal Party. Their endorsed leader, Peter Debnam (remember him?) was demoted and replaced by the relatively moderate Barry O'Farrell, who instantly set about making clear his belief that the machinations of David Clarke and his ilk were no longer welcome in the NSW Liberal Party, and had never been welcomed by the greater public.

It would have been nice to think that this would be the last we see of this troubling epoch in NSW politics. The powerbrokers, broken and defeated, are left to slink into the darker corners of history, tails between their legs, to allow true party democracy to be restored.

If only.

This week's announcement that the notorious Alex Hawke plans to challenge long-term plodder Alan Cadman for the seat of Lindsay was certainly a suprise - but it was a very unpleasant one. To get an idea of Hawke, I'll yet again link Chloe Hooper's article in which he plays a starring role, , and remind you that former Liberal leader John Brogden took the quite extraordinary step of personally naming Hawke, the instigator of the right-wing takeover of the traditionally moderate Young Liberals - as one of the instigators of his political demise. Hawke is at the vanguard of a very unpleasant and anti-democratic trend.

As this week's fascinating episode of Four Corners revealed, such people do not enter politics has nothing to do with the basic interest in improving society that is held by the majority of politicians; even nothing to do with advancing the principles held by a particular party - but instead, everything to do with the gaining and wielding of personal power and the serving of personal agendas.

I've said it before, and it's worth reiterating - such a trend is a serious threat to our political system. This is true enough on a State basis, but even more concerning should it spread to Federal politics. I predicted right-wing challenges on moderate MPs - the notion of challenging long-serving but unspectacular MPs in safe seats provides a much quicker path to power. It will be interesting to see whether the situation is duplicated in similar seats as further Federal preselections open.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Lieutenant takes the Mission

Todays Sydney Morning Herald carried what appeared, at first glance , to be an encouraging report on John Brogden's life after politics.
The article detailed how Mr Brogden has been able to stare down his personal demons and undertake a worthwhile public duty fronting Lifeline, and speaking candidly about recovering from the debilitating illness of depression.
However, a line at the end of the article, almost an afterthought, brought me abruptly back to reality:
"Alex Hawke, whom Mr Brogden accused of undermining him before his resignation, is a surprise candidate for preselection in the federal seat of Mitchell. The lieutenant to the Liberal right-wing powerbroker David Clarke will stand against the sitting Liberal, Alan Cadman".

This is very disturbing news.

Despite holding one of the safest Liberal seats in the nation, and being second only to Phillip Ruddock in length of Parliamentary service, Mr Cadman has struggled in the past to retain his preselection, securing it by a mere 3 votes in 2004.
One would hope that Mr Clarkes particularly noisome cadre, whose last public performance was to bludgeon to death any chance that the Liberals may have had to win the NSW election, will be denied the opportunity to present their poster-boy for election to Federal Parliament.

World's Best Practice

With so little praise lavished on Australia's immigration system, the almost-terminally punctilious Kevin Andrews must be beside himself at this item from the UK.
The somewhat tongue-in-cheek article does highlight some little understood facts about "who comes to this country, and the manner in which they come".
I can sense the palpable relief sweeping the populace that the chronic hairdresser shortage is being addressed, and finally some serious attention is being paid to skilling a workforce that can artfully turn your favourite companion moggie into a footstool.
Still, as UK Immigration Minister Liam Byrne points out, this will serve as the model for the UK system to be introduced next year, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Paratroopers suit up

Amongst the usual done deals and media puff that are part and parcel of the ALP National Conference, one under-reported decision warrants further scrutiny.

The decision to allow the ALP Federal Executive to appoint candidates to NSW seats was neither unexpected nor overly contentious, with many precedents in the recent past. Some high profile Walk-Up-Starts, notably Maxine McKew, have already strapped on the Kevlar for their drop into significant seats, however the list issued today naming those seats which are subject to nomination rather than preselection makes interesting reading.

No surprises that the seats of Blaxland, Charlton, Eden-Monaro, Fowler and Wentworth are on that list, as the overtures to the likes of Greg Combet, George Newhouse, Colonel Mike Kelly and Bernie Riordan are well documented. Two seats, however are a little surprising, they being Throsby and Hughes.
Throsby is held by former teacher and ACTU gaffer Jennie George by a more than respectable margin and has to date not been suggested as a landing point for any of the Parachute Corps new recruits. Even stranger is the seat of Hughes, currently held by the laughable Danna Vale and it is here that at least one intriguing possibility emerges.

Given the Prime Minister's devotion to cricket, is it possible that a much capped former player (and Hughes resident) has been successfully implored to pad up for ALP, and help put the PM back in the pavilion?

Into the Breach

With the venerable Minotaur charged with the task of bedding down a new Government, Pete has forsaken the working-class charm of Milltown to keep Modia Minotaur open for business.
So, with nets set, gaffs ready and crew at their posts, let's trawl the already thickening media swill for some issues worthy of comment