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How Canberra became Wayne’s World

What political silence?

Dr Richard Di Natale, Greens Senator for Victoria, writes: In Bernard Keane’s piece yesterday “Cost of living delusion runs deep at the political level” (yesterday, item 2) he says that that all politicians keep pandering to the notion that voters are doing it tough despite the fact that the opposite is true. He finishes by saying “at some point a brave politician has to come forward and tell voters the truth.” He obviously hasn’t read my first speech. It’s not a question of bravery, just a willingness to say it as it is.

From my first speech, July 2010:

It is now a political mantra to talk about how tough life is for ordinary Australians. Of course some Australians are hurting. Some are trapped in an entrenched cycle of poverty.  Some people have lost their retirement incomes because gamblers have speculated on the market with their savings. Some have a gambling problem of their own, supported by State governments whose own addiction to this revenue shows no sign of letting up.

But the reality is that by almost every measure, whether it is income, housing, education or health, most Australians are doing better than the citizens of almost every country on earth and far better than at any other time in our history.

At a time of global turmoil, our economy is one of the world’s shining lights. When almost half of the world’s people continue to live on less than $2.50 a day, we have experienced a prolonged period of economic growth, low inflation and low unemployment. Our nation has never been better placed to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. This is precisely the time for courage and vision, to lead rather than follow.”

The power of Wayne:

Robert Jensen writes: Re. “The Power Index: why Canberra revolves around Wayne’s World” (yesterday, item 1) I think Bernard Keane is the only journalist that gives Swan any credit for being a good treasurer — thanks for that.

It’s easy to be a great treasurer in the good times but it’s in the hard times that they truly have to show their metal. I think Swan and Rudd deserve a lot of credit (though they won’t get it) for having the guts to go hard with the stimulus when the GFC hit. It couldn’t have been an easy decision but it saved lots of jobs and more importantly for the long term — businesses.

And those people who think that 2012/2013 surplus is purely political should read the article “Keynsians in the recovery” that Swan wrote for the Australian Fabian Essay.

Also, in the next few years productivity will increase as a result of the current restructuring of businesses resulting from the high Aussie dollar and the training measures put in place by the government. Unfortunately, Swan won’t get the credit as Abbott will probably be in power then.

Finally, I think people under-estimate how much influence Swan had in getting the carbon price up. He was committed to pricing carbon into the economy after he met Stern. Although, the short term politics aren’t good on this one the long term economic benefits to Australia will be immeasurable.

The Gillard v Walladge war continues:

Hugh McCaig writes: Something has to be said to bring Luke Walladge’s (comments, yesterday) all out attack on PM Gillard (now twice) down to earth. It has become an unrecognized reality that the economic safety which our country has had is in fact down to the Labor Government led by Julia Gillard and her Cabinet colleagues. Looking around the world this should be acknowledged. The fact that it isn’t, is down to the constant negativity of the Media pack in Canberra  working almost in a lock step march to denigrate the Prime Minister and Government.

Walladge must surely be aware of the Fairfax and News Ltd’s appallingly biased opinion pieces which ultimately influence the public — and for some months the ABC has joined in. Like others I have written to the media outlets seeking some balance in the reporting of politics but little has changed. Where has there been any scrutiny of Tony Abbott regarding his policies for Australia’s future, or his Treasury spokesman. Surely it’s beyond time for that.  Then there is the appalling disrespect shown to the PM, the most recent from the former close aide (Morris) of John Howard, and there have been too many others before based on personal criticism of appearance, dress and matters of no consequence.  How would the press and public have reacted if such unacceptable comments been expressed regarding John Howard as PM A letter in The Age (1 May) from Heide Robson is well worth his attention. This note reminded the readers how the female public seems unwilling to favor women leaders. Frankly I found Walladge’s comments sadly disappointing in his unwillingness to widen his observations.

Les Heimann writes: Luke Walladge, Labor campaigner, staffer and activist makes a case not only that Gillard must go  — and we all agree on that, but as to his view on what Labor values are and who should take her place, most old party hacks, like me, will disagree.

The description by Walladge of Labor being social conservatives, workers representatives is bullshit.

Labor is not a mirror image of 1912 style forelock tugging downtrodden British workers who knew their place in the social order, worshipping the royals and content with a pint at the local; these really were social conservatives.

No wonder Walladge picks Stephen Smith as Gillard’s successor — his sacrificial grey man — and no wonder he says no to women.

The trouble with Labor is that the Walladge view of Labor is that of the NSW right faction and the old Victorian Labor Unity mob — now cosying up to the religious right — they all actually believe this crap and have scant regard for the “worker”.

On the other hand the left of the ALP; excluding the loony left who were discarded long ago, are the true believers — with intelligence, respect for people not classes, genuinely belief in reform so as to enshrine “fair go for all and help the those who need it”.

Here’s the thing — the Left have all but been destroyed — many just giving up in disgust and many joining the Greens.

Walladge shows fear of the Greens; it’s fear of his old foes in the ALP really, those who would have not agreed with things like sale of public assets, loss of control of infrastructure, user pays and lots of genuine social issues.

Real Labor people are those with conviction, those who are not afraid to really make a difference and will support climate change legislation, and be against middle class welfare and lower taxes for the rich and screwing the poor.

Gillard has sold out, Walladge is an apparatchik. I too am an old Labor war horse and have been through the mill holding many positions and even being a candidate once (didn’t win though).

What’s wrong with Labor ? Hasn’t got a story any more, stands for nothing because those of us with fire in the belly, those who would really stand up to greedy unfettered capitalism — you know the system that gave us the GFC — have been discarded by piss weak urban cowboys and girls.

Who should be our new Labor leader? Lindsay Tanner; please bring him back, please.

Matt Davies writes: Re. “Labor man: if she won’t resign, caucus must remove Gillard” (Tuesday, item 10). Luke Walladge’s article was certainly inciteful if not exactly insightful. After setting out his own Labor Party “credentials” and calling not once but twice for the Prime Minister to be removed. He proposes his party walk away from a major piece of legislation mere weeks before it is due to come into effect.

Among his supporting arguments is this gem “… Exit polling showed 69% of all voters in Queensland considered it “very important” when casting their vote. The WA Premier, Colin Barnett, is facing a protest vote next year on the issue. Labor cannot claim the mantle of working families while it ignores their primary concern and implements a carbon tax …”

I re-read this a number of times (how many West Aussies actually stopped reading at this point?) and can only conclude that Walladge thinks WA has a Labor government run by Colin Barnett. Any credibility he may have had is absolutely dissolved at that point.

I wonder how this passed even Crikey’s sub editorial process and wonder even more that Walladge was given another go in yesterday’s comments without this point (which I pointed to in the comments on his original article) being corrected.

Colin Barnett leads the Liberal party in WA in Government with the Nationals. He may well face a protest vote but it will have nothing to do with the CPRS.

Please correct this and please end the Luke Walladge trolling excercise … although I will admit, it was fun.

3
  • 1
    Simon Mansfield
    Posted Friday, 4 May 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Lindsay Tanner has long supported the large-scale sale of public infrastructure.

    In an email to me back in 2005 he said he supported the sale of the Snowy Hydro - as in the modern era governments don’t invest in capital assets like power stations and dams etc anymore - and instead invest in human capital - like education.

    Of course the only reason he was saying this was that at the time both the NSW and Victorian state Labor governments wanted to sell the Snowy Hydro off to raise money to balance their budgets.

    The really scary part to this was that he was effectively saying it was okay to fund recurrent costs such as the education budget with revenue from asset sales.

    Tanner was also a Rudd supporter and was against Gillard from the late 90s.

    But why let facts get in the way of a good attack against Luke.

    As to the WA premier/election - I think Luke was talking about rising utility costs in general and was not referring to the carbon tax - and all governments are facing growing anger from voters over escalating electricity, water, gas prices. State govts will try to blame the carbon tax - but as we all know from Crikey - it’s infrastructure costs that are mostly driving up prices.

    Finally, calling Luke’s efforts tr**ling is just pathetic. It’s inherent aim is to shut some down - and it should be included in Godwin’s law.

  • 2
    Phen
    Posted Monday, 7 May 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Matt Davies - considering Luke Walladge is a West Australian (or at least lives in Perth), I strongly doubt the excerpt you quote is intended to be read the way you interpret it (though it is confusing). I can only presume that he means that Colin Barnett’s vote in the next State election will end up being inflated by the very strong anti-Labor feeling being generated in the west by the federal government.

  • 3
    mattsui
    Posted Tuesday, 8 May 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    As Far as I’m concerned, regardless of how you read it, it proves he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
    The Crikey crew could surely have seen this guy coming from a mile away and it’s a fair bet they only gave him space in the daily mail in order to stir the “true believers” into a frenzy.
    Trolling at it’s finest, and not a little enjoyable for that.
    However, if this Wallage character is not an idiot, perhaps he could take some time to explain his ridiculous error.

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