parliamentarian called a colleague gutless, pathetic, stupid, childish,
completely beyond redemption, warped, off the planet, juvenile,
politically inept, deliberately treacherous and possibly a liar? Not
Iron Mark. He doesn’t even make the grade in the invective stakes.

your mind back to July 2002, the Democrats implosion, and some late
night comments from Brussels from Andrew Bartlett about his colleague
Andrew Murray in an interview with ABC Radio:

LINDA MOTTRAM: Senator Murray has exposed a profound and
deepening crisis in the Democrats, triggering open warfare amongst the
Party’s senators. In Canberra, our reporter Matt Brown spoke to another
Democrat Senator, Andrew Bartlett.

it’s just completely gutless. He’s absolutely never had the guts to say
anything like that directly to the leader’s face or to the Party room.
He waits ’til the leader’s out of the country and then drops this sort
of rubbish in a quite deliberate and obviously calculated way to cause
maximum damage. It’s pathetic, it’s politically stupid and it’s
disgracefully gutless.

MATT BROWN: Andrew Murray says he’s
concerned about the way the Party’s being perceived, that the
perception of the Party, the way the Party is positioned in the public
mind isn’t working, and that that perception has altered since Natasha
Stott-Despoja became the leader.

Murray himself knows that he wouldn’t even be in the parliament now if
it wasn’t for the fact that the leader has changed and he has conceded
that privately to people. If he says otherwise, he’s a liar. He
wouldn’t even be in a position to be a senator and make these comments
if he didn’t have Natasha as leader which makes it all the more utterly
pathetic and utterly childish and, you know, completely beyond

MATT BROWN: He did preface his comments by saying that he didn’t want to be overly personal about it?

BARTLETT: Look that’s just a joke. You know, how stupid does he think
everybody is? It’s just furthering their obvious deliberate agenda to
try and cause maximum damage to the Party for whatever strange, warped
or bizarre reason that they have for doing so.

MATT BROWN: What do you believe is the end gain here? What’s going on?

ANDREW BARTLETT: Who knows. With people that far off the planet and that juvenile, you can’t try and reason with people…

MATT BROWN: They’re also experienced politicians and this is destabilising your Party. What do you think they’re aiming at?

BARTLETT: They’re probably out to destroy the Party or else provide
sufficient mechanism for them either to be kicked out or have an excuse
to leave so they can do what they want to do. It’s pretty sad that the
Party that’s got them where they are, they’re quite happy to trash and
destroy from a great height.

You can relive it all here
– but what else is out there? There were plenty of heated words from
Liberals during the Gorton years. Anything older subscribers want to
remind us of? What other quotes make Iron Mark look like a wimp?
Suggestions to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey