tip off

A dumb reshuffle puts spotlight back on Gillard’s woes

Is this the most nonsensical, craven, plain dumb reshuffle ever devised by a prime minister? It’s hard to recall a worse one. There was one of John Howard’s when he gave Wilson Tuckey a junior ministry — but Howard was a prime minister with authority, political nous and a firm grip on his party.

Julia Gillard has none of those things.

A bare two weeks ago, Labor had real momentum. It had finished the parliamentary year on a high with the Slipper coup and the mining tax bills through the House of Reps, put the seal on Gillard’s “year of decision and delivery”. Attention was turning to Tony Abbott’s relentless negativity and his need to change his tactics over the summer break. Some were talking about the need for a reshuffle of the Coalition frontbench.

But in that time Gillard has brought Labor’s momentum to a halt and wrenched the political spotlight back onto her tensions with Kevin Rudd and her own lack of authority and judgment.

All of it has been unforced and unnecessary. No one made Gillard omit Rudd from her conference speech. No one forced her into being rolled by her own faction on gay marriage. And Nick Sherry’s departure could have been dealt with via a minor redistribution of responsibilities. Instead, there’s yesterday’s mess, only necessary if you ignore the 700 words of pointless blather about the economy from the prime minister with which she introduced the reshuffle yesterday and agree this is all about rewarding Bill Shorten and Mark Arbib and punishing those considered less than enthusiastic Gillard supporters.

There are a couple of good points. Shorten will do a better job in industrial relations than Chris Evans. Shorten has improved in parliament since he was first promoted into the ministry, when every trip to the dispatch box induced chortling mockery from the opposition benches. Business might find that its incessant bleating about the need for IR reform, untainted by actual evidence of any kind, meets a sterner response now than it did from Evans. Nicola Roxon probably can’t be much worse as attorney-general than Robert McClelland. Mike Kelly is back in Defence where he belongs.

But the creation of a super-portfolio of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education under Greg Combet — because Shorten couldn’t get something without Combet getting something — is unbalanced and unlikely to improve the government’s focus on any of those portfolio issues. Arbib has been given significant additional responsibilities despite displaying no remarkable talent as minister for sport. Robert McClelland’s make-work cabinet portfolio of “emergency management” is risible. Were they even trying when they came up with that?

Then there’s the treatment of Kim Carr, hitherto the key minister on the most significant domestic economic issue facing the government, the impact of the resources boom on manufacturing. Despite his own strong views on industry assistance, Carr oversaw measures that avoided the blatant protectionism now being espoused by the opposition and the government interventionism being demanded by manufacturing unions. His reward after a difficult year is a humiliating demotion, dispatched to the outer ministry with a bodgied-up role as minister for manufacturing and defence materiel. He’ll probably come into the ministerial wing one day and find his office has been moved down into the basement.

Shabby stuff from Gillard.

But what impresses about the reshuffle is not its ineptitude and grubbiness so much as the lack of authority displayed by Gillard. This is so obvious, she may as well have created a ministry “for ministers I can’t sack” and stuck McClelland, Carr and Evans in there. Peter Garrett too, according to rumours. Having decided to wield the knife, Gillard appears to have been discombobulated when ministers declined to politely turn their backs so she could stick the blade in, or their factional protectors intervened. The result is a bloated cabinet of 22, permanent testimony to Gillard’s lack of authority.

Nor does the reshuffle address the government’s two long-term problems – the tension between Gillard and Rudd, and its inability to convince voters of its economic credentials. At the centre of the latter is Wayne Swan’s lack of cut-through, despite being an excellent treasurer. When Lindsay Tanner was finance minister, he could play the attack role traditionally required of the treasurer. Penny Wong is a nonentity in the role. The only threat she poses to opponents is putting them to sleep. Together, Swan and Wong mean the opposition — despite being frighteningly incompetent on economics — is winning the argument right from the start.

Nor is there anything to cause Rudd to lose any sleep in yesterday’s events. If anything, he’ll be encouraged by a display of fragility and poor judgment from the prime minister.

It’s as if, having stoically endured all manner of adverse conditions throughout the year without flinching, Gillard has stumbled the moment the pressure finally came off. Abbott must be unable to believe his luck.

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  • 1
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Your usual anti- Gillard rant Bernard! Been having a bottle or two of
    good red with Dennis Shanahan have you?

  • 2
    Chris Graham
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Excellent analysis from Keane as usual. One addition: The leaking of the ALP report to damage Rudd was the beginning of the new slide for Gillard. So very, very stupid. In fact if I didn’t know better, I’d suggest Rudd himself did it. That’s how dumb it was. After the carbon tax and the mining tax, I’d thought Labor had finally started to gain some momentum, and the spotlight was shifting to Abbott and his gargantuan failings. No more. This government is dead in the water.

  • 3
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Again I believe you exagerate Bernard and like too many journos are too close to the action. This and the Slipper stuff will be forgotten by the electorate by next January and this was the time to make changes.

    It’s a relief McLelland as AG has gone-he was a shocker-but Gillard couldn’t have demoted or promoted just one without bad feeling. A re-shuffle was the only option.

    This government will not rise or fall on just one minister like Carr.

    Again the media is obsessed with matter that are of little interest or importance and ignores major stories of importance like John Howard’s disgraceful promotion of a dodgy anti-climate change propaganda book aimed at school children which if the left had done in his day would mean all hell would break loose.

    I despair that every movement Labor makes in office whether important or insignificant is examined in the minutest detail while we have an Opposition leader who worships at the feet or Howard who could one day be PM.

  • 4
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I understand that balance and bias is in the mind of the beholder - even Maurice Newman acknowledged this in remarks upon his departure from the chair of the ABC board. But I would have thought that this would have been even more obvious to Crikey posters who one day criticise Keane for being anti Labor while forgetting that yesterday he was criticised for being anti Abbott.

    Keane’s point is all too depressingly true. However, universities are pleased that research and higher education are returned to the same portfolio and vocational educationalists are pleased that vocational education remains with higher education in the tertiary education portfolio.

  • 5
    PK93
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    More anti-gillard self-righteous scribbling from Bernard Keane

    It’s as if, having stoically endured all manner of adverse conditions throughout the year without flinching”

    Wow! Can you point me to the columns (rants?) throughout the year you’ve acknowledged that?

  • 6
    Tricot
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Take a pill and have a lie down sport. Two days in a row with this huff and puff and you are about to burst a boiler.

    I can’t remember a time in living memory when a PM with such a paper-thin majority had “authority”. Talk about state the bleeding obvious. You get paid for writing such insightful comments like that?

    You really think 99% of those out in voter land either know or care?

    I am happy to make a prediction that in two (one) day’s time, this “dumb reshuffle” will be resonating along with the Peter Slipper matter wrapping up the rubbish for the bin.

    PS - Kim Carr is on the lips of every voter - not!

  • 7
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Comrade Carr may not be well known in the electorate but he was a very effective minister for science. It is the loss of Carr’s engagement, commitment and skill as minister of science that will be missed.

  • 8
    HB
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    oh Bernard - if it wasn’t for the dog I would seriously consider leaving you

  • 9
    The Pav
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Oscar,

    For example when Misty Rabbit accuses Gillard of backstabbing none of the compliant journos ever ask the question on how he got to be Leader of the Opposition. The obvious question to Abbott is that if he thinks Rudd is after the PM why doesn’t he give a few tips, after all he’s an expert

    I am very anti Abbott. Not because I am pro Labour but because I want to vote Liberal but the party has been taken away from moderates like me. The simple articles of decency, fairness & reasonableness no longer exist in the party and a culture of if you’re not for ne you’re against me exists.

    For some crazy reason they have taken the Rupublican Right as a model.Gawd help us

    I feel the press do not challenge Abbott & his cohorts for fear of being branded “lefties”. The current leadership of the Liberals and their supporters regard balanced commentary as that which totally supports them.

    Look how often Crikey is branded leftist yet strong articles rebuking Gillard such as this one are legion.

  • 10
    Filth Dimension
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Wow and I thought Michelle Grattan had been hitting the juice lately. Bernard you don’t have to drink the peanut gallery kool-aid.

  • 11
    drmick
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Looks like BK is auditioning for the Murdoch mercenaries in their attack on truth and balanced reporting. There is a lot of sour grapes against the PM and I am not sure whether it is jealousy , misogyny or a mixture of both. The confusing thing is that the coven that is female journalism in this country are as bitter as the dried up old men towards the PM. It is like a Jihad because she is female. Given a fair suck of the MSM sav, she could be a very popular person. Obviously she is going to have to do three times as much work as Dr No to get half as much positive press. Maybe we will never know.

  • 12
    Steven McKiernan
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Why no mention of Pliberseck?
    Why no mention of five women in Cabinet?
    Why regard Penny Wong on her mannerism and delivery rather than policy and content?
    Why regard Roxon as ‘can’t be much worse as A-G”?

    Too many ideas and no cogent theme. Struggled against the self-imposed word limit.
    Poor effort, must try harder, 1.5 out of ten.

  • 13
    Paul Huntington
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    A poor look at the politics, no understanding of the subject, went on with your own agenda regardless of reality. 2/10

  • 14
    david
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Two words for the author. Bull Sh-t

  • 15
    fredex
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Look, I’m sure Rupert has bought Crikey.
    Then again maybe its just an audition for a job with the OO.

  • 16
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree with Mike Flanagan, Bernard is becoming more and more predictable and Murdoch like.

    Bernard seems to be aruing that Shorten only got his post as a reward while also conceding he has been a good performer and will be an improvement on the previous minister.

    Combet, Roxon & Plibersek have all been good performers and deserve promotion and in a year where innovation and manufacturing will become increasingly tied to carbon pricing and climate change giving Combet a role covering all of them will junior ministers to help seems to make sense.

    This may be messy but the timing is good, no one will remember this much after Christmas let alone when parliament comes back, and getting her best communicators in roles where they will be most effective will only serve to highlight the lack of talent on the Coalitions front bench. In fact by reshuffling her front bench she may have caused Abbott try to to show that the coalition are more settled and therefore not reshuffle his front bench leaving the same old duds doing the same old shoddy job.

  • 17
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Well said Bernard.

    Every time you critique the ALP, ly-ing Gillard or the rest oif the inept bunch, the lefties here jump up and allege bias. They dont cry bias with the biased ABC.

    The lefties here are all outside Tony Kelly’s and Ian McDonalds house chanting that they should be spared or Milton Orkorpolous should be released from jail.

    They cannot admit failure, and miserable failure at that. I have said many times what I think of Abbott. I am honest.

    I was once a Labor voter, but not again with this ly-ing rabble.

    Good on Rudd sister for leaving the ALP as well. I can hear ly-ing Gillard in her office now. “Can’t there be a day without Rudd in the papers…..Bill”.

    Merry Christmas to all the lefties, it may be the last with lyi-ng Gillard at the helm

  • 18
    David Hand
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Interesting analysis, Bernard. Very good article.

    8/10.

  • 19
    ronin8317
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Let’s be fair to Gillard : the Labor Fractions determines who get cabinet positions now, she has very little say in it.

  • 20
    Sam L
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Most of the problems with the reshuffle are short term image problems which no one will care about by the end of the week. The major movements all look quite reasonable.

    The one big exception is Arbib. I’ve not heard him say a single intelligent thing in relation to any of his ministerial responsibilities, and I can’t imagine him being anything but a disaster as Assistant Treasurer.

  • 21
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    SB - Another post another prediction of Gillard’s demise, how many times have you been wrong so far? Wasn’t Rudd supposed to be in before the end of this year?

    I know it is difficult for you but how about addressing the topic of the reshuffle, which promotions do you object to and why? Which demotions?

    Also on a more general point can anyone tell me whether the “faceless men” who now sit in cabinet have been given faces with their new post?

  • 22
    McFly Marty
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    A bloo bloo bloo, seems like some people in here can’t handle the slightest criticism of the PM.

    If Labor don’t want to be scrutinized then they should disband because uh, you know, that’s what politics involves? Scrutiny by electors and the media?

    Honestly the tribalism that some of you political types show is astounding, perhaps you’d all enjoy living in Iraq circa 2006 where you can play shia and sunnis and always have god and truth on your side.

    Congrats Bernard for offering criticism of the Gillard government, we are their bosses and it’s more than fair that we offer comment as a performance reviews, don’t let the wild-eyed partisan fanatics get you down. Hopefully you made them spill their coffees and salads over their new copy of After Words, lmao.

  • 23
    C@tmomma
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I really am thinking about not renewing my Crikey subscription, if this is the quality of the bilgewater it is going to be going on with, from it’s so-called ‘Chief Political Reporter’.
    Did Bernard look through the bottom of an empty glass of the increasingly-expensive plonk he likes to drink before spewing this vomitus back up onto his keyboard?
    Not one mention of the fact that Kim Carr was demoted out of the Cabinet, and I would have added if I was Julia Gillard, “Don’t let the door hit your fat arsk on the way out”, because he had been found to be the Cabinet Leaker. And, not only that but he was part of the vanguard to replace an effective and competent, not shambolic, Bernard, leader of the government, Julia Gillard, with the megalomaniacal Kevin Rudd, which the collective amnesia of the Press Gallery is encouraging in the wider community. Why? So the Canberra Peanut Gallery can feel their oats again next year and cause another Labor Prime Minister to be deposed at their urging? Only after they have built Kevin Rudd up again, will they then use the remaining time until the next election to knock ‘Kevin O’Lemon’ down again. All the while allowing a truly incompetent bunch of duplicitous hypocrites, in the form of the self-confessed liar-led Abbott Coalition, to skate on by to victory. Which would amount to the greatest dereliction of duty of any bunch of Australian journalists in our history.
    They, and Bernard, and Crikey, should be ashamed. However, it seems that the first lesson you learn when you descend into the bowels of the Press Gallery in Canberra, is how to be a shameless liar. Just like that other former journalist, Tony Abbott.
    I repeat, I am seriously considering not renewing my Crikey subscription if standards of journalistic objectivity do not improve. And I do not mean the switch has to be flicked to tongue slobbering arsk-licking of everything the Gillard government says and does. Just a bit more scrutiny directed where it is justified. And an offer of one extra month of this garbage makes no difference to my decision-making. I can get this sort of putrescant Coalition sycophancy and Labor government automatic derision for the people much cheaper elsewhere.

  • 24
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The PAV.
    They can’t ask the questions because they don’t know what questions to ask. And that is a result of lack of being on top of their subject matter. You only have to listen to some of the questions proffered by journoes at doorstops or press conferences.
    It should be mandatatory that all journalists state their name and organisation before being allowed to put a question. Then we can identify both the idiots and their organisations to do our own censorship.
    Although Bernard shows scant respect for balance or depth I do acknowledge he puts his byline to many of his rants and rubbish.

  • 25
    cairns50
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    suzanne blake was once a labor voter ? give us a break suzanne

    perhaps you are the one who is a liar

    julia gillard has to be doing many things correctly when people like yourself bag her all the time

    as for your xmas greetings no thank you, i prefer mine from people i respect and have time for

  • 26
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    Tanya - incompetent, unprofessional, telling elderly their homes would be covered with water if we did not have the carbon tax

    Arbib - what has he done? A sneaky back room boy.

    Shorten - what has be done?

    Garrett - what has be done or not done?

    Swan - you know full when there will be no surplus, he is inept and incompetent.

    need I go on.

  • 27
    McFly Marty
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I hate to say it but Suzanne is right on Tanya. Taking advantage and spreading fear in the electorate, especially amongst the elderly, is reprehensible: whether it’s John Howard’s terror fridge magnates or Plibersek’s doom-mongering.

  • 28
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    Look at Crickey Tips and Rumours today

    How much NBN staff in their small North Sydney office spent on the bar at their Crristmas Party - please justiy that JIMMY?

    Bet you cannot

  • 29
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    @ Cairns 50

    I vote in an ALP electorate, always been an ALP electorate.

    Our local member is Craig Thompson MP from Bateau Bay - heard of him?

    Outstanding MP, does a lot for the community and the Labor cause. Have not seem him for many months however, not even at local shopping centre.

  • 30
    C@tmomma
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Might I also add, going to the substance of the critque of the petit bourgeoisie political journalist who has written above and who has obviously abandoned any respect for the champions of the collective strength of the workers representatives that Unions and their champions in parliament against the might of the employers signify to him, that Bill Shorten, to my objective eyes, and after hearing his media interviews yesterday and today, has been promoted based upon his achievements, not in getting the PM to where she is today, but in putting 12% Superannuation for all in place, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme front and centre of the national agenda. Something I’m sure that the Coalition will starve of funds as soon as they get their duplicitous derrieres into government, via the aid and comfort ciphers such as Bernard Keane provide. Or hive off to their mates in Private Enterprise to make fat profits out of for minimal service, at the taxpayers’ expense. What would Bernard care though? His child isn’t disabled, as mine is. He’s too busy playing the sport of ‘Tear down the Labor Party’.

  • 31
    Archer
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    in a year where innovation and manufacturing will become increasingly tied to carbon pricing and climate change giving Combet a role covering all of them will junior ministers to help seems to make sense.”

    Yep, it’s all happening next year, get the government cheque books ready. Damn, climate change research is going to cure cancer, can’t wait for all the innovation to kick in. Considering the glacial speed at which climate change takes place I can’t see it bursting out of the starting gate.

    But you do know what historically has always guaranteed a warp speed jump in technology and innovation? A damn good war!

    Only joking….about having a war that is.

  • 32
    The Pav
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Dear SB

    Re”How much NBN staff in their small North Sydney office spent on the bar at their Crristmas Party -please justiy that JIMMY?”

    I am willing to bet that Jimmy won’t be able to justify as it would appear that english ( like honesty) is not natural to you and I am not talking about the typos that make your post unintelligible ( hardly surprising really since you are so unintelligent)

    Still haven’t recanted the lies you spread about the Finance Minister of the year thing yet have you but then what else should we expect fro a wing nut like you

  • 33
    C@tmomma
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Suzanne Blake,
    Why don’t you get a job? Your glorious Tories might get suspicious of you if you’re still around when they’re back in government, you spend so much time here on the Crikey blogs. They’ll be watching, and taking names.

  • 34
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    SB - The bar bill, couldn’t give a stuff! How much was it by the way? How much per head? Did you see the private firm that paid for their workers to go to the whitsundays for Christmas on TV? Is that a scandal too?

    As for the reshuffle you name Swan & Garrett who were not involved in the reshuffle and Swanis a solid treasurer, Plibersek you criticise for stating a scientific fact that sea levels will rise due to climate change, Shorten has been great in both disabilities and super and solid as assistant treasurer and Arbib I haven’t really followed much but how much can you do in Sport?

    My point is all those of were promoted are good communicators (maybe with the exception of Arbib) who have done well in their previous portfolio.

  • 35
    Jan Forrester
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I can feel the the Xmas Party coming on at Crikey, let go of nuance and get out the hammer. ALP does need better sellers of the message. And we need journalists who can make some other contribution than the lazy one of the Rudd/Gillard contest. Some of those promoted have been good performers. The observation of Nicola Roxon’s capabilities is trite. Arbib: well, what can I say, the spirit of old Sussex Street, the ghost of things that will not change in the ALP organisation.
    However, where this piece is a total letdown is the lack of critical look at the ministries and the overall push of the government in 2012 that this reveals (or not). Why aren’t the creative industries (otherwise known as the Arts and more important to Oz in the future than the mining industry - if you believe in the term ‘creative’) in Combet’s portfolio rather than the Ministry for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Minister for the Arts (with an acronym that sounds like a gargle).
    Why is the education sector split, surely there are other ways to link business and education in practice. Where does childcare fit? Too many bits broken up, need a Dog cartoon to help us work them out.

  • 36
    Jenny Haines
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Bernard, I usually like your stuff but on this occaision I believe you are being too hard on Gillard. If you are going to reshuffle, what better time? The new ministers can read up on their briefs over Xmas, reshuffle their staff, and get ready for a new year. There were some rewards for mates, eg Shorten, there were some promotions for those who have not always been mates eg Plibersek in Health, and demotions for old mates eg Kim Carr. She is no doubt trying to build what she thinks is her best cabinet running up to the next election, or the challenge from Rudd. No doubt the latter will come first.

    What I am disappointed about is that she did not move Bowen and make a new start on refugee and asylum seeker policy. And McClelland, what was that all about? He was doing a great job. A good section of the NSW Right will never forgive her for moving McClelland.

  • 37
    rossco
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the merits or demerits of Gillard’s reshuffle, and who really cares, it is streets ahead of Abbott’s non-shuffle. His ambitious young back benchers must be thrilled to see he prefers fossils like Bronnie and Ruddock on his front bench. Oh, and has anyone heard or seen Hockey, Robb or any other senior shadow minister lately. Maybe Abbott is delberately keeping them hidden.

  • 38
    Mark from Melbourne
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I am by nature a liberal voter but Howard and now Abbott ensure that I remain conflicted. Just declaring my interests…

    Gillard just cant win with the broad media, who as far as I can see are quite able to argue black is white today and the reverse tomorrow.

    Evidence of this:

    1. On one hand, BK and others has spent all year saying Gillard’s government cant sell their policies but these changes which are acknowledged as promoting better skilled “cut through” performers is seen as weak and a mess. Cant win.
    2. Quite a few of these promotions are seen as being promotion for well performed players on one hand but weak and a mess on the other. Cant take a trick.
    3. Quite a few of these moves are seen as moving people out of their weaknesses and/or to their strengths
    4. And big deal if some of these reward loyalty or punish disloyalty. This is the real world guys and that’s what happens.

    I have to agree with some of the comments that about the press gallery going out of it’s way to over analyse every move and the vindictive and just plain nasty nitpicking of a PM who is handling a very tough job made remarkably difficult by the nature of minority government pretty damn well.

    I know why Mordoch press hates her, but what Gillard has ever done to Michelle Gratten or BK I hate to imagine.

  • 39
    Margaret Kerr
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Obviously she was doing an end of season tidy up/clear out. Why all the fuss?

  • 40
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy

    The bar bill was $15,000 and there is a staff of 72 in their head office. Assuming all were there and were drinking, thats over $200 a head.

    Beer $5
    Spirits $7
    Softie $3
    Cocktail $12

    Thats a lot of drinks

    The sea level is NOT rising, its lower than it was in 1901 - 1910 in Sydney, proven that one before here

  • 41
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Archer - “Considering the glacial speed at which climate change takes place I can’t see it bursting out of the starting gate” It’s the price on Carbon that is going to kick in in about 6 months that will drive the innovation not the actual change in the climate. Avoiding paying a tax usually drives innovation very fast.

  • 42
    Jack
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully BK’s spotlight will soon shine on the dross & dregs occupying the cheap seats across the way. How can so many people inhabit so many portfolios and have nothing to say? What passes for intellectual rigour from both sides is scandalous. In thinking of why the talent pool is so shallow, I am reminded of that great Marxian quote: I would not want to be a memebr of any club that had me as a member…

  • 43
    BH
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Go, cat@momma, well put - I have been thinking the same thing about Bernard’s stuff lately when I find myself scrolling past it daily. What a shame. Where is the balance, Bernard. Have you joined the groupthink of the Press Gallery?
    Shorten deserves his place because he has worked his butt off since 2007. I’ll reserve judgment on Arbib altho the story is that he is a worker. Plibersek and Butler deserve credit and promotion and Roxon will do a far better job of AG than McClelland ever did.
    Manufacturing needs 100% involvement so now Kim Carr will be able to give his time to it and make sure Defence procurement is done correctly - no more Howard Govt. type stuffups, we hope.
    The PM said the rumours of Garrett and McClelland resigning were false. Why even mention some beatup story from the Daily Telegraph.
    This piece is not good enough, Bernard. We don’t pay subs for trash. We want decent discussion of policy and the renewed energy/vision each new Minister will bring to his/her jobs.
    Give Labor the balance you choose to give to the Greens.

  • 44
    McFly Marty
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Suzanne: Don’t expect any contrition from this group of time-servers whose bankruptcy of ideas has led to the climate soothsaying that permeates their thinking, if you’re an uninspired politician bereft of ideas then a vague, nebulous enemy like “climate change” to keep the people fearful is about all you can rely on.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
    H. L. Mencken

  • 45
    The Pav
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Dear SB

    While you’re raging about the NBN Xmas show no doubt you will in the spirit of fairness & balance rail against the Howard extravagance highlighted in the same section.

    Oops fairness & balance from a lying hypocrit silly me imagine that.

    BTW NBN is a commercial activity & the commercial sector is well know for irts excess. My corporate card soaed up $1500 for the first round one year.Never gor a squeak from the boss.

  • 46
    Acidic Muse
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    For the second day in a row, we’re subjected to Bernard’s foam tinged ranting about the unfairness of Kim Carr’s demotion without any mention the elephant in the room - Carrs recent leaks to the media on Cabinet discussions around asylum seeker policy

    Kim Carr wasn’t “knifed” as Bernard boldly shrieked in his headline yesterday, he was simply demoted for what many would agree has been a fairly lacklustre performance in his portfolio compounded his recent Cabinet leaks on asylum seeker policy. Instead of any balanced analysis of this, we’re subjected to Bernard’s selective reporting of anti Gillard Canberra gossip. Whether he’s pitching for better paid a job with the Murdoch Mafia or simply playing his part in Kevin Rudd relentless attempts to destabilize this government is open to conjecture but either way this kind of shabby, hysteria based journalism does Crikey no credit at all

    Bill Shorten is an immensely talented politician whose elevation is clearly justified on it’s own merits, as is the trust Gillard has invested in stellar performers like Tanya Plibersek, Greg Combet and Nicola Roxon.

    Doubtless the more self obsessed Australian journalists will continue to pedal this dumbed down narrative of negativity around faceless men, tribal internecine warfare and midnight assassination - it requires less cognitive capacity than surgically scrutinizing the governments policy agenda in the context of our national interest and makes Australian politics sound almost as interesting as Big Brother to the brain-dead masses.

    Our only saving grace is that the steely, consensus building Julia Gillard is currently Prime Minister instead of that megalomaniac technocrat Rudd, whose obsessive narcissism would eat him alive in the face of such relentless criticism from those self aggrandising cannibal clowns who make up most of the Canberra press (peanut) gallery

  • 47
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    SB - 72 in their head office, were partners invited? Was it only head office staff there? What was the price of wine? Was food served?

    The sea level is NOT rising, its lower than it was in 1901 - 1910 in Sydney, proven that one before here” You have stated it here, proven maybe not. And does a measurement in a narrow necked harbour in one part of the world make for a comprehensive scientific study for you?

    Mark form Melb - I think you are 100% correct.

  • 48
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    @ McFly

    Yes same with Y2K, 1984, Cuban Missle Crisic, Domino Theory.

    I can recall being at UNSW in the 1970’s and seeing the East German display table near the Library entrance and seeing the plain clothed, sour looking people behind the table handing out brochures. I guess that could have been Jimmy, GoComsys or Peter Ormonde, who knows.

    They are brain washed into backing the Party / State come what may, right to the bitter end. They will not be taken alibe, I expect and take the easy option at the end, for fear of facing the truth.

  • 49
    Jimmy
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    that could have been Jimmy” Seeing as I was born in 1975 and lived my enitre life in Victoria probably not SB.

  • 50
    null
    Posted Tuesday, 13 December 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    oh dear, compliments to Bernard for his insight and balance from Suzanne Blake, surely that’s a kiss of death.

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