Shaun Carney

The Age

No worries, we’re rich

With the six-week winter recess for federal parliament coming to an end
this weekend, Labor minds are drawn to a continuing problem – nowhere
near enough voters are listening to what the ALP has to say. And, says
Shaun Carney, they show “little inclination of getting interested any
time soon.” But what is it about the Labor Party – is it their message,
their leader, or something they missed? Perhaps, says Carney, it’s just
that there’s “absolutely nothing” they can do to change the perception
that the prime minister is “good at what he does and so is his
government.” Australians are now in the 10th year of John Howard’s
reign, and there’s little expectation of a recession or economic
downturn any time soon, which leaves a nation feeling like it’s doing
“pretty well for itself.” The voters might not like everything the
government is doing, but if they can hang on to what they’ve got
“they’ll cop it, just as they have for the past nine years.”
Crikey Says: Carney faces up to the grim reality facing the ALP in a forthright manner that’s rarely seen.


John Roskam

The Australian

Two grumpy old leaders

The decision of former Liberal leader,
John Hewson to join the board of GetUp! – a left-wing group that uses
spam emails to campaign against the Coalition – is a sad sight says
John Roskam. The objective of GetUp! is to hold the Howard Government
“responsible” for its Senate majority, but it’s unclear what part of
the Coalition’s agenda Hewson objects to, says Roskam. Howard’s IR
policies are far less radical than Hewson’s were in the 1993 election and
even the full privatisation of Telstra was something Hewson promised to
do. But if GetUp! was “genuinely concerned” about the accountability
of governments with unfettered parliamentary control, why didn’t they
set up comparable organisations to monitor Labor governments in
Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and the Northern Territory?
However, the parallels between Hewson’s former Labor leader Mark Latham
are striking as both attempted to impose their own radical
prescriptions on the electorate and both were comprehensively rejected,
blaming everyone in the Party but themselves. “Governments don’t change
people – people change governments,” says Roskam and next time Hewson
or Latham contemplate the tragedies that are their political careers,
they might ponder these truths.
Crikey says: Pointing out hypocrisy is one of
the key roles assigned to members of the commentariat and Roskam’s
analysis of John Hewson’s inconsistency on key policy issues is a good example.


Michael Gawenda

The Sydney Morning Herald

Unexpected ally for detainees’ rights – from the Right

“Few people in the United States care about David Hicks,” writes
Michael Gawenda, or the other 500+ detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.
The reason the Bush Administration and the Howard Government have
managed to escape real scrutiny over the issue, says Gawenda, is
because those who have been most publicly outraged by the prisoner
abuse allegations are, in general, those who were opposed the war in
Iraq. But where do “supporters” of the war stand on torture,
abuse and the proposed Guantanamo military commissions? There has
largely been silence, but recently released memos show that from early
on senior US military lawyers were opposed to treatment of captives as
“illegal combatants.” Now three senior Republican Senators, who
all served in the US military and are all firm supporters of the war in
Iraq, have introduced legislation to prohibit degrading treatment of
detainees in US custody. Their stand will encourage others to speak
out, says Gawenda, who adds it’s not a contradiction to believe the
war in Iraq is a “just war” and at the same time believe that the
Administration-sanctioned treatment of detainees is “a disgrace.”
Crikey says: Michael
Gawenda’s analysis of those who support the Iraq war but abhor the
treatment of detainess at Guantanamo Bay is an interesting departure
from the usual Left liberal critique.


Drivel Tries hard Worth reading Quality analysis Outstanding journalism

Peter Fray

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