Christian Kerr writes:

Former Labor Senate leader and leading light of the left John Faulkner preached the perfect obituary for Mark Latham’s career when he launched Bernie Lagan’s Loner back in June.

Shame the same can’t be said about his Tenterfield oration and analysis of factionalism in Australian politics this weekend.

There’s plenty of good material in it. The opening’s a cracker: “In Australia today there is a dangerous indifference to politics accompanied by a simmering resentment of politicians. Citizens who haven’t enough interest in the democratic process to stay even vaguely informed of the issues of the day have only one profound political conviction: that politicians can’t be trusted. Politicians show reciprocal cynicism in an electoral climate where a lie about mortgage rates has more impact than the truth about lies.”

He’s right about Iron Mark’s naïve and simplistic advice for Australians “to turn their backs on organised politics because ‘social problems require social solutions’.”

He’s also good on what we long-ago labelled Rodentism: “John Howard’s self-serving soft-focus reassurance,” the trust me message of a Prime Minister “who invented the ‘non-core’ election promise” and “is using taxpayers’ money to fund advertisements telling us things are good and getting better.”

Then he talks about factionalism. “It is a dangerous moment for our democracy. I hope it will be the impetus for renewal,’ Faulkner says.

Er, right, John. Actually, not right. Left. Have a look at Faulkner’s CV. The bloke has been a full time faction hack himself for quarter of century, from starting off as the Left’s Assistant Secretary in the NSW branch of the party in 1980, to filling a casual vacancy in the Senate created by the retirement of the left’s Arthur Gietzelt in 1989.

Marks for the analysis, Senator – but where are the solutions?

Peter Fray

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