Christian
Kerr writes:

What’s
the betting Brendan Nelson has been photographed in a tank – or at the very
least a flight suit – by the end of the week? The unequalled political harlot
has been portrayed as the big winner in the reshuffle – but as we pointed out
earlier in the week, every Howard Government defence minister has gone on to
retirement.


Alarm
bells are already ringing over Dr Brendan’s appointment. The Australian Defence
Association’s reaction was terse.

Critics
who compared Nelson’s performance in higher education with that of David Kemp
have pointed to how he pursued a more bureaucratic agenda. That would be a disaster
in any of the issues facing defence – from procurement to the effectiveness and
accountability of security agencies. And much, much more money is at stake in
defence. Much, much more is at stake, generally. Dr Brendan should remember two
of his predecessors, Ian McLachlan and John Moore, didn’t even leave Parliament
for plum postings overseas.

It’s an
interesting sideways step for Eric Abetz. He’s lost his grip on electoral
policy to move to Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation – and launched himself
into his new portfolio with a hilarious go at Bob Brown in today’s Hobart Mercury.
But what will happen to the electoral law changes Abetz has set in motion? Will
they be as rigorously pursued?

Amanda
Vanstone might like to talk about how the Liberal Party doesn’t need
affirmative action programs – but she should also consider joining Emily’s
List. It appears that being a woman in the Senate can sometimes come in handy.
Andrew Robb should be an effective and decent Parliamentary Secretary in
Immigration and Vanstone should expect to be somewhere else come the next
reshuffle.

And we began
by talking about the Prime Minister’s sense of humour. Malcolm Turnbull
deserves his new job. He’s already got under the skin of an archaic-thinking
water bureaucracy in NSW – and no doubt will find knocking state heads together
comes quite naturally to him. But
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister! It will gag him – but
when he speaks, it will be with the authority of the PM. Poor Peter.
Again.

Peter Fray

72 hours only. 50% off a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

Our two-for-one offer with The Atlantic was so popular we decided to bring it back.

But only for 72 hours.

Use the promo code ATLANTIC2020 and you’ll get 50% off a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year of digital access to The Atlantic (usually $70). That’s BOTH for just $129.

Hurry. Ends midnight this Thursday.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

Claim Now