After seeing how swiftly Swan was able to use Ronald Reagan’s death
to demonstrate Dubya’s drubbing from last week is irrelevant, our
National Affairs Editor Hillary Bray has been taken aback.

“The Australian alliance and the relationships between Australian
political leaders and American political leaders have been great over
the years,” Swan said on Sunday Sunrise. “Take the relationship between
Bob Hawke and Ronald Reagan – it was a very strong relationship. They
had their differences. The American alliance is much bigger than
individual differences over individual policies.”

Just for good measure, he added that Australia’s relationship with the
US would remain strong under a Latham government. If Labor keeps on
spinning as smoothly as that, Hillary says, they’ll be home and dry at
the next election. Perhaps they can win one for the Gipper.

Barry Bananas on a new book by Wayne Swan

By Barry Bananas, who has come out of cold storage for another observation on political life north of the Tweed River.

Hillary Bray seemed a little taken aback, perhaps mystified even, at
Wayne Swan’s stroppiness and fury at the Centre for Independent Studies
recent paper on taxation in Australia. Now Hillary, as those of us who
know and love him best could have told you, Swannie doesn’t need a
special occasion to come over all vitriolic, any old excuse will do.

But in this case, the CIS arguement that the rich pay more than their
fair share of tax might have been a hit rather too close to a pet Swan
project of the moment. Queensland’s gift to Federal Labor and the
political leader of Bill Ludthug’s AWU faction has been hitting the
keyboard and the fruits of his literary loins will hit the bookshops in
August.

Apparently to be titled “Postcodes”, the book is out of the Pluto Press
stable and is an analysis of the growing inequalities between rich and
poor in Australia as examplified by income disparities according to
place of residence. So the last thing the lad would have wanted was a
study from the CIS undercutting his whole arguement by suggesting that
the tax system is in fact benefiting the poor at the expense of the
rich.

A couple of questions do arise about the book. First of, is there one
in the subject of the different lived lead by Australian’s living in
different postcard areas? It’s a regular enough newspaper feature,
trotted out from time to time to show that the egalitarian lucky
country where jack was as good as his master has gone the way of the EH
Holden and fibro holiday shack.

The second is, why would Swan feel the need to have a book on his CV.
It’s only conjecture mind, but this lean and hungry lad has long seen
himself as leadership material, and had hoped to get there through his
efforts to build a formidable right-wing machine in Queensland in the
early ’90’s.

That started to go pear shaped when the Goss Government was booted out,
and then was all but destroyed as the Shepherdson Inquiry gutted AWU
ranks and exposed some of the methods used to build its powerbase.

So, with a lot of caucus enemies these days after two attempts to
return Kim Beazley to the ALP leadership and with nothing much else to
fall back on, perhaps Swannie noticed the political titles on Latham’s
CV and decided that maybe this book caper is a way to stamp yourself as
a man of ideas and vision.

Maybe Crikey should run a sweep as to how many copies this one might
sell and how long it will be before it hits the remainder table?

Hillary Bray can be contacted at hillarybray @crikey.com.au

Peter Fray

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