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Aug 26, 2008

A-X of new senators

Read it and weep as the youth brigade take over, writes Bernard Keane.

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Fourteen new Senators were sworn in today–– they’re here in all their glory. It was going to be 15 until Robert Ray pulled the pin, allowing Jacinta Collins to get in early. For those of us into our forties, read it and weep as the youth brigade take over.

Mark Arbib (ALP NSW) 37. Kevin Rudd’s “great friend” and NSW ALP rainmaker and campaign genius. Fresh off a short but presumably rewarding stint with Bell Potter Securities. Would have to be a contender for a Parliamentary Secretaryship if there’s a mid-term reshuffle. Committees: Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Corporations and Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

Catryna Bilyk (ALP Tasmania) 49, ex-ASU and former ALP national vice-president. Recently recovered from cancer surgery. Big interest in child care, where she once worked. Committees: Senators’ Interests, Community Affairs, Migration, Parliamentary Library.

Doug Cameron (ALP NSW) 57, ex-AMWU head. Brought forward by a wormhole in time from 1973, Cameron is an old-fashioned ban-imports-one-out-all-management-can-get-stoofed unionist who will take George Campbell’s spot as Senator representing regional British accents. Economics, Finance and Public Administration, Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity and, um, Parliamentary Library.

David Feeney (ALP Vic) 38, ALP Right heavy, former Bracks adviser and campaign director. Subject of the famous death notice in the ever-alert Age in 2002. Prematurely, as it turned out. Committees: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Public Accounts and Audit and Publications.

Mark Furner (ALP, Qld) 50, ex-NUW head. On Facebook, where he counts Billy Bragg amongst his friends. Committee: Economics.

Don Farrell (ALP, SA) 54, SDA head and Catholic SA powerbroker who kneecapped first-term SA senator Linda Kirk and replaced her for her vote in support of stem cell research (and over the employment of his wife). He extends the grip of the reactionary SDA union on the Parliamentary ALP — South Australian MPs MPs Kate Ellis and Nick Champion are both ex-SDA, as are Jacinta Collins, Anthony Byrne and Anna Burke in Victoria.

Louise Pratt (ALP, WA) 36, former WA Legislative Councillor (first elected at 28), active on women’s, gay and lesbian issues. Committees: Senators’ Interests, Economics, Environment, Communications and the Arts, Treaties.

Michaelia Cash (Lib, WA), 38 former lawyer, daughter of WA Lib George Cash and staffer of outgoing (indeed, outgone) senator Ross Lightfoot. Committees: Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Treaties.

Helen Kroger (Lib, Vic). Not to be confused with the spy. Needs no introduction — Victorian Liberal stalwart, Costello supporter (he opened her office last week) and, yes, ex of you-know-who. Committee: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

Scott Ryan (Lib, Vic) 35, Ex of Melbourne Uni student politics, IPA and Big Pharma. Committees: Finance and Public Administration

John Williams (Nats, NSW) 53, from up New England way. Revels in the nickname “Wacka” (presumably to distinguish him from all the other prominent John Williamses) and knocked off Sandy MacDonald due to perceptions he’d take a more… how to put it? Joycean view of the Nationals’ role. Committees: Environment, Communications and the Arts.

Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens, SA) Aptly-named at 26. Former student pollie and still doing a degree. Has Greens responsibility for childcare, consumer affairs, education, human rights, immigration, sport, gender issues, tourism, vets’ affairs and of course water in SA. Committee: Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

Scott Ludlam (Greens, WA) 38. Born in NZ and a Cure fan. Might, one suspects, be the next star of Left politics in Australia. And yes he has a MySpace page. Will handle legal affairs, communications, housing, heritage, local government, mining, public transport and all things radioactive for the Greens. Committee: Environment, Communications and the Arts.

Nick Xenophon (Ind, SA) 49. You know the story. Would not merely turn up at the opening of an envelope, but posts them to himself as well. Has a thing about gambling, apparently. No committees yet listed but you’d reckon he might half a passing interest in Environment, Communications and the Arts.

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3 thoughts on “A-X of new senators

  1. Some of them are not so young are they. As for the cheap shot at Sarah Hanson-Young – her husband endowed here with the Young bit.

    I have known Sarah since 2002 when she was first preparing to go to Woomera to protest against that hell-hole, she went year after year and we arranged anti-detention rallies together.

    She worked for Amnesty on the refugee team after getting her law degree and she has made a bloody difference to a great number of our fellow human beings.

    I don’t always agree with or particularly like Sarah, but she has made more of a contribution than millions of people twice her age and that should be applauded.

    Xenophon is an idiot who has jumped into bed with the polluters and rich folk at the lower lakes to protect their boating industries while other people try to grow vegetables up stream to feed people.

    It’s interesting that after all the whining about the lower lakes we only learnt today that they have received 170 mms. of rain in the last few weeks – Broken Hill who are supposed to be stealing “our” water have had almost none but we don’t hear about that in SA either as Xenophon jumps into bed with the Chapmans.

    A note on Jock Veenstra – I was around when he built his first steamer in the 1960’s, the guy has made fortunes from this venture and that is all he is worried about.

    Then we have the unknown story of Robert Champion de Crespigny getting planning permission to build a 140 metre long 9 metre high damn at the top of the Hindmarsh River in 2006. I only know because I am friends with the lawyer who argued against the dam.

    When I asked the council if it had been built I was met with stony silence.

    On another note – I received and advance copy of Human Rights Overboard due for release on 1 September.

    Might I suggest everyone read it and weep.

  2. Marilyn,

    I assume you are from Qld, NSW or VIC and hence you probably do not care enough about this issue to make an effort to get any real information about what is going on in South Australia: (if you want to take some time try http://www.abc.net.au/adelaide/tag/?topic=rivers )

    “Xenophon is an idiot who has jumped into bed with the polluters and rich folk at the lower lakes to protect their boating industries while other people try to grow vegetables up stream to feed people.”

    And fair enough why should you care about people outside of your state…

    Well then that is the whole problem with the Murray river… People upstram with there heads in ther A$$…

    It may suprise you to know that there are plenty of farms struggeling to make a living in the lower lakes (ie trying to grow things for people to eat… )

    We also grow fruit in the riverland for now.. but with farmers regularly receiving a tiny portion of there water allocation it is a real possibility that the fruit oarchards will die (they don’t grow back in a season ether)

    The poluters and “Boating Industry” is tiny compared with this….

    And not to mention the Courong… one of the most amazing environments going to the $hit….

    Perhaps while defending your Sarah against “cheap shots” you should re read your post and perhaps reassess who the “idiot” is…

    Adelaide SA

    PS I did not vote for Nick X I voted green in the senate…