Somehow we knew that yesterday’s sledge
at Stephen Smith and list of key Labor strategists would generate
controversy. Not, of course, that Crikey ever seeks to be controversial
for controversy’s sake.

“Your piece on Stephen Smith was more
than a bit rough,” a senior bruvver wrote. “The reason the ALP in WA
had to sell off its assets was a direct result of the mess that the
spivvy Brian Burke left the party in. With his brother getting some 25%
of all fund raising and issues such as the ownership of a valuable
stamp collection, the ALP was left with a substantial debt due in part
to legal costs and a tax bill. None of this was Smith’s fault. He and
Chris Evans had to ‘clean out the stables’.”

Yours truly was in
the old Labor building in North Perth a couple of months ago. It’s not
as glamorous as Centenary House. There’s more dazzle in some of Labor’s
backroom boys (girls don’t seem to get nominated), though. Here are a
few more nominees for the list of the opposition’s top strategists:

  • Nathan Dal Bon, only real economist in the show.
    Dedicated to true policy and rational thinking. No-one better on
    economic policy. Understands the middle ground better than anyone. The
    only bloke on the three Ps agenda.
  • Jack Lake, adviser to Beazley, formerly on Senate side
    with O’Brien and others. Very level headed, hard working and
  • Antony Sachs, dedicated, rational and on the case in
    the environment. Doesn’t believe in the bullsh*t and truly wants a
    Labor government – unlike those jokers who prefer a job in opposition.
    Expect big things on the environment policy.
  • David Williams, adviser to Senator Chris Evans,
    formerly with Faulkner. Almost as experienced as George Thompson.
    Expert at Estimates.

Some subscribers beg to differ with the nominees. Here’s a (politely) edited version of some of the feedback:

Michael Cooney: “A seagull adviser. Flaps wings, cries and
grunts and then craps over everything… Will back whoever he reckons
will give him his seat in Canberra… If he is doing OK in Beazley’s
Office it’s because in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king.”

Tim Dixon: “Tim who?”

Matt Lindon: “A Swannie clone.”

And an industry source clearly hasn’t been impressed by their dealings with Silvana Catalano from Julia Gillard’s office:

Silvana is the best thing in Gillard’s office. With
competition like Lesley Russell though, that would hardly be difficult.
In the dying days of Crean’s leadership, the deal was done that none of
Crean’s staff would lose their jobs. Latham came in and the ‘central
policy unit’ in the leader’s office was disbanded and its staff placed
in Shadow Ministers offices. Unfortunately for the ALP’s health agenda,
this included Gillard being saddled with Lesley who has done nothing
but whittle away the public’s natural affection for the ALP on health
policy. She has worked in the US for a long time and ‘doesn’t
understand what health stakeholders complain about, the system here is
fantastic’. Who needs a government when Gillard’s chief adviser can’t
seem to find any improvements in the disgraceful mess of the Australian
health system. (More’s the worry, she’s now advising Gillard in her
capacity as Manager of Opposition Business – one of the most tactical
advisers positions in opposition).

And – who woulda thunk it – there’s the “plague on both your houses’ view:

Either the advisers are ignored – in which case the state
of the party is not their fault but they should be sacked for their
lack of drive – or, if their advice has been taken then it was so
dreadful that they should be sacked anyway. Get rid of the lot of them
and employ a goat. Its bleating might make more sense and it would be
much cheaper.