We know we should be reporting on the NSW budget, but Crikey reaches parts of the body politic that other publications just don’t reach to quench its readers’ thirst for knowledge. So let’s take a further look at last week’s spat between NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden and his loyal little Liberal leader, Alex Hawke – as reported by the SMHhere.
The spat was an interesting one, especially internally. You’re lucky in most instances to get Brogden to respond to attacks from the ALP, let alone one of his own MPs or shadows. Brogden won’t, even in staff meetings, allow criticism of his own actions. That’s why he has such a high staff turnover.
It’s something special for the Leader of the Opposition to respond publicly to someone who, despite their Young Liberal title, is just the junior staffer of a Legislative Council backbencher.
Compare and contrast his actions with those of Bob Carr when Barry Collier swapped factions. He had to be drawn on the issue by journos then muttered a couple of insignificant comments about working for the people of NSW.
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Brogden, however, let journos know he was prepared to comment on the claims of a 26-year-old staffer. He then gave a stroppy speech in the party room meeting yesterday about dissident staffers and members.
Why? Because Brogden, like many others in the party, realises that David Clarke is simply a means to an end. The end? Total control of the NSW Liberal Party by Alex Hawke. Two days later the problem for Brogden became obvious. The Right took control of State Executive with one vote off the 75% needed for fundamental changes to the party constitution.