Hillary Bray = great columnist. Nuff said.

Liberty 1, Health Nazis 0! From the wires: “The Federal Health Minister, Kay Patterson, says a newspaper report which claims the Federal Government is considering banning takeaway chains from offering cheap deals on large meals is untrue.”

Forward into the past with Simey

Poor old Slimy Simey. The sun didn’t shine on his triumph for even 24 hours. By Monday morning, there on ABC Radio in Hobart was Ken Wreidt, the former Whitlam minister and Tassie Labor leader (and the father of Crispy’s education minister), raining on his parade and saying he thought up the reforms over a decade ago:

HOST: Ken, are you surprised at this change being adopted?

WRIEDT: Not really, it’s a bit of nostalgia for me to be truthful. Back in 1985 when I was Leader of the Opposition here, and on the national executive of the party, I endeavoured then to initiate the very same thing, but I must have been some years ahead of my time.

I hear it being referred to as a great victory for Simon Crean. I don’t see it in terms of victory at all. I see it as a step forward; it’s not a matter of putting one side of the party down at the expense…up at the expense of the other.

PS Hillary keeps hearing the name “Wayne Swan” whenever the Labor leadership is discussed.

Bali blast rocks Labor

The Bali terrorist blast has played right into the Government’s hands. Once again, the Prime Miniature has got a political gift.

Simon Crean has said Australia must commit itself to hunting down those responsible for the Bali bombing – but he and his party are going to come in for an almighty kicking with Parliament back tomorrow.

This what the ABC is reporting his foreign affairs spokesman – and wannabe leader – Kevin “The Ego has Landed” Rudd as saying on Sunday afternoon:

“This seems to have been the direct result of a terrorist attack, more fundamentally this seems to be the first occasion on which Australian civilians have been the target of a terrorist attack in the history of our country, and this is an appalling, appalling set of developments.

“Security now is a global fact, it is something which affects events in other parts of the world and it affects what happens in this part of the world as well.

“There is no longer a neat divide between foreign policy and domestic policy, between foreign security and domestic security.”

But what was Rudd saying on Saturday? Here’s another grab from the ABC:

“We argue that the time has come for the Prime Minister to take the Australian people into his confidence and make a full and complete statement to the Australian Parliament about the precise nature of the terrorist threat to this country. The people of Australia want that.”

Specifics won’t matter much now, Kev.

Bob Brown can also expect to be tackled after his criticism of terror warnings and statement that “the federal government should not have warned of a possible terrorist attack unless there was a specific threat against Australia”.

Stand by for our great war leader to do everything he can to turn anger and horror over the Bali blast into support for an attack on Iraq – and Labor.

Sons and daughters

Last year we published the Conservative Nepotism List – a guide to second, third and even more generation Liberal and National pollies.

It was sparked off by the Mad Monk’s claim that Labor was the party of dynasties – and while it’s fairly clear that they flourish in most parties, Labor nepotism has certainly been in the news of later, what with Laurie Brereton looking after his big sis and all that.

So let’s go with the Labor Nepotism list. Send ’em in to [email protected] and let’s see who’s who in Labor – and, more importantly, who their parents, siblings and rellies are.

Drivel-proofing Australia

As we go through the environmental and economically disastrous fantasy of “turning the rivers around” and “drought-proofing Australia” yet again, Crikey readers will no doubt have better things to occupy their minds with. Here’s one.

Why not ask yourself:

a) Is there a company better placed to build the irrigation pipes other than Richard Pratt’s Visy; and

b) Is there a company that owns more of the land set to benefit than Kerry Packer’s pastoral division?

PS Hillary has been checking the works of one of Australia’s greatest sages, a man on the land, to see what they have to say on the matter. The details are here.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Brian Greig mightn’t be Democrat leader, but has his friend John “Porn Star” Davey been left crying in a corner? No, not at all – because he has signed up with none other than Helen Cross, the ACT MLA just expelled from the Liberal Party.

Indeed, Saturday’s Canberra Times revealed that “when he and Mrs Cross met they realised they shared similar views.” Be afraid, be very afraid”

Paranoia stalks the WA Dems

Was it the bit last week about the membership figures? Something’s got the Western Australian Democrats paranoid indeed. Just have a dekko at this motion:

“The [WA] Division Executive, in order to protect the Party from actions that would bring it into disrepute or result in the public disclosure of sensitive information, invokes its right to adjourn all subsequent meetings of the WA Division Executive under Section 8.12 of the WA Constitution and move them ‘in-camera’ until further notice. All financial members of the WA Division can be invited to attend the re-adjourned ‘in camera’ meetings, except [name deleted].”

Is it those intolerant fundis running rampant again? Uh-huh. Andrew Murray forces are in the ascendancy in the West this week.

But is peace at hand?

The recent Adelaide Uni student elections saw Meg Lees’ stepson, Steven Mitchell, run on the Democrat ticket. Does this mean a reconciliation is at hand?

Can’t buy me love

I don’t care too much for money cos money can’t buy me love – but Steve Bracks is hoping spending other people’s might just win him a few votes. The Victorian taxpayer – AKA Melbourne Major Events – is shelling out the smackeroos to further pad the already comfy Paul McCartney retirement fund and underwrite the wrinkly former Beatle’s sole Australian concert, to be held in the Gloomy City on November 23. Jeff would be proud – and it sorta tells you all you need to know about the timing of the state election.

Meanwhile, if the new Liberal leadership team of Robert Doyle and Phil “Bodie” Honeywood are going to live up to their name of The Professionals, they shouldn’t be crowing about Bracks’ failure to win the support of two independents for his upper house reforms in the Legislative Assembly. If anything, it creates a clear case for an early election plus the grounds for a “who governs Victoria” campaign that can only paint them as the party of reaction.

Liberal strategy revealed

Last week, we told how head lice will be the Victorian National Party’s secret weapon in the upcoming state election. Last week, we got a glimpse of what the Libs have hidden up their sleeve – in the Geelong Advertiser, of all places:

“LIBERAL Party members could be urged to sign up for a stint in the armed forces.
That’s the proposal the St Kilda branch will put to the party’s State Council in
Geelong this weekend.

“Specifically, resolution 32 asks the council to `’encourage more Liberal Party
members to do voluntary service in the Australian Defence Force (Regular or
Reserve)”.

“A summary of the resolution argues the move is needed because the ADF has only
51,000 regulars and 23,000 reservists, with vacancies for about 6000 regulars
(Army, RAN and RAAF) and 4000 reservists.

” ‘During our initial Timor deployment Australia had little, if any, Strategic
Reserve and even now is very extended in various deployments overseas,’ the
summary reads.

” ‘It is important that more Liberals are prepared to serve when some in other
parties may be seen as cowardly and unconcerned.”

Yeah. And war with Iraq proving to be a real vote winner too, isn’t it.

A working class souffle is something to be

The buzz down the Sydney Road says that Australia’s pre-eminent advocate of Juche theory Phil Cleary hopes to be an MP yet again – this time in the Victorian Parliament. Brother Phil has set his sights on the new seat of Brunswick, taking in the southern portion of his former federal seat of Wills.

If Cleary’s concentration span holds to election day, this will mean that sitting member Carlo Carli (by all accounts amongst the most amiable and dull of ALP dead wood) will be challenged by two of the far left’s most colourful characters.

Cleary, who brought the language of ultra-macho feminism and class-war back to federal parliament and spoiler politics to the republican movement will no doubt work closely with Greens candidate Pamela Curr.

Curr’s recent credits include accompanying Mr Baktiyari in has quest for political asylum at the German embassy, ambushing the Prime Miniature’s national address giving justifications for war on Afghanistan, angering socialist demonstrators and ACM guards alike by delivering van-loads of toys to the Woomera detention centre and coming within 4 per cent of unseating Lindsay Tanner at the last federal election.

The stage seems set for a most interesting contest.

Website dries up

Hillary is wondering if the National Party has sacked its webmaster, or perhaps they have just gone on holiday, and the horny-handed toiling sons of the soil left at head office don’t know how to drive the web publishing software.

With an election looming in Victoria, it seems odd that there has been nothing new put on the state National’s website since 4 September. In NSW, there has been nothing new since 29 August. There appears to be only one recent update to the federal site, a John Anderson national conference speech in 15 September. Even the normally separatist Queensland branch has gone strangely quiet since mid-September.

Perhaps it’s all the fault of Telstra, and if the government would just give the Nationals another bucket of money, the bush would be better informed.

PS When is the Victorian Liberal Party going to update their website with the names of the new seats and Liberal candidates? Not long to go until the election now guys.

Morris scratched from secretariat race?

It’s looking more and more as if the race to replace Lynton Crosby as Federal Director of the Liberal Party will be a two horse race between the Prime Miniature’s Principal Private Secretary, Tony Nutt, and the party’s Victorian Director, Brian Loughnane. The name “Grahame Morris” scarcely rates a mention in discussions.

Nimbys nobbling Nori

Things are going from bad to worse for the New South Wales ALP in the inner-city seat of Port Jackson, with sitting MP Sandra Nori facing fire from all sides.

The Greens have high hopes in the seat, Liberal strategists have declared it winnable and internal ALP polling leaked to the local nimbys at the Save Callan Park committee puts Labor’s support on just 31 per cent. Liberal leader J-Bro has been fanning the flames and got a rousing reception at one of their functions – and even in these yuppified days, Leichhardt, Lilyfield and Annandale don’t cheer Liberals.

At the same time, eyebrows were raised when Deputy Premier and Planning Minister Andrew Refshague turned up unexpectedly to a meeting of Nori’s Callan Park Master Plan working party at Parliament House last month. Is Malthus sending the Doc in to operate in a bid to save Nori’s political life?

Jesus, Maria et Josephus!

From the Crikey mailbag:

“I am with News Weekly (see www.newsweekly.com.au) the publication started by the late BA Santamaria.

“We are concerned about the full sale of Telstra. Privatised it will not provide equal coverage for those in regional areas compared to the metrolpolitan areas.

“Would like to talk to you to see if we could cooperate on a campaign on this issue.

“If interested, could you call me on 0438 — —”

If anyone is interested in pushing for the social and economic policies held by the right of the ALP half a century ago send in an e-mail and we’ll pass on the number.

Feedback to [email protected]

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW