Sacrificing the heart and soul, hands and feet. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd tried to show himself a good party man at the NSW State Labor Conference at the weekend as he extensively quoted Ben Chifley including his reminder that “the Labour movement can only be great by the united efforts of all those who believe in it”. A very fine sentiment but a very hypocritical one from a Federal Labor Leader who until he spoke had been supporting a NSW Labor Premier determined to take decisions designed to split his party asunder. That PM Rudd finally squibbed a confrontation with the rank and file of the NSW Party was perhaps inevitable as to actively support Morris Iemma at the weekend’s forum would have made things worse. For be under no illusions, Labor in NSW is today in the midst of a serious crisis. It is not a matter of evil trade unions standing against a sensible and well meaning Premier. Branch members are just as opposed to electricity privatisation as is the industrial wing of the party. It is a clown of a Premier and his bully boy Treasurer Michael Costa who, in insisting on getting their own way, are putting at risk the ability of ordinary members to have a say in what their party stands for. Why would anyone want to be what Kevin Rudd in his speech called “as the members of our party [you] are its heart and soul … its hands and its feet” if you are to have no influence on its mind?

Moving seamlessly. Wonderful description of the Rupert Murdoch way of political involvement in The Financial Times of London after The Times (Two terms is enough for Livingstone. Johnson should be allowed his chance), The Sunday Times (It’s time for a change) and The Sun (A new and fresh Champion for London). All came out for the Conservatives in the London Mayoral election. It was, wrote the FT columnist about Murdoch, “another example of how seamlessly he moves with the prevailing political winds.” The years of supporting Labour apparently have come to an end – at least until the party looks like it might win again.

The Daily Reality Check

The front pages in Sydney are full of it; the pundits on radio cannot stop talking about it; it is the major story of the day if not the week if not the month! Premier Morris Iemma and his Treasurer Michael Costa, rebuffed at the NSW Labor Party Conference, are still pressing head with privatization of the state’s power industry. Believe us, shout the journos, this is a real crisis! Over at the DailyTelegraph web site they gave all that stuff a wide berth when they discovered the real political horror story: the government has new laws which can be used to ban people drinking at home. What’s wrong with those Labor party conference delegates? Why aren’t they threatening to expel the traitorous Premier Iemma for that! Perhaps they will when word reaches the Sydney Morning Herald’s drinkers but they were too busy this morning looking at Mischa Barton getting cranky about being caught sunbathing topless on Hamilton Island to be interested in anything political. The top five most read stories on the broadloid site were all taken by celebrities and a little perverted funny business. Same kind of stories on the Tele list too. Just another day for the serious people of Sin City.

The Pick of this Morning’s Political Coverage

This is the kind of headline that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd really does not want to see:

Falling house prices might end up making it easier for first home buyers but they will horrify those who are struggling to pay a mortgage.

The Pick of the Weekend’s Political Coverage

I cannot imagine Sydney Morning Herald journalist Alan Ramsey tending the azaleas and pruning the rhododendrons but I was not surprised that he turned his recent 70th birthday party into a weekend column. He always has been a frugal man with a dollar and it would be a shame not to get an earn from filling the glass that John Dawkins had in hand when he met Wayne Swan. As well as proving that you are never off the record in the presence of a veteran Canberra journalist, the story of the Treasurer of 1993 chatting with the Treasurer of 2008 is a nice reminder for Wayne Swan that your biggest problems in politics are often created by those in your own party and not in the opposition. Some one else who now knows that conversations overheard by a journalist can end up in the Sydney Morning Herald is South Australian Liberal MP Christopher Pyne whose recent dinner time conversation with Queensland Liberal senator George Brandis at Canberra’s Jewel of India was within earshot of political correspondent Mark Davis. Not that the report on Saturday by Davis told us much of any importance beyond shadow minister Pyne having a loud voice and a healthy skepticism about Coalition prospects in the forthcoming Gippsland by-election.

Quote of the Day:

“You blokes can get f-cked. You’re going to look like dickheads on Monday morning.” — NSW Government Treasury Michael Costa discusses electricity privatisation with John Robertson, the secretary of Unions NSW.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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