Dec 9, 2009

Biggest problem facing Scullion as shadow indigenous affairs? His boss

New shadow Indigenous Affairs minister Nigel Scullion has a genuine opportunity to make meaningful progress for the nation's most disadvantaged citizens. Let's hope he doesn't succumb to his poll dancing past.

Chris Graham

Tracker managing editor

The news that Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion has been appointed to the shadow indigenous affairs portfolio is bitter sweet. Sweet because Scullion is not a bad bloke. Bitter because he was put there by a nutter.

The Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory is perhaps most famous for admitting to being handcuffed to a pole at a Russian nightclub in his underpants during a “lovely night” out with some “lunatic fishermen from Newfoundland” in 1998. I play ice hockey with a ‘Newfie’ in Canberra. I sympathise.

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10 thoughts on “Biggest problem facing Scullion as shadow indigenous affairs? His boss

  1. jungarrayi

    I’ve been watching our political leaders and opposition from within a “prescribed area” under the Intervention (like a mouse watches a cat).
    Tony Abbott’s moment of glory has to be that during the discussions about whether to bring back the permit system or not he warned of the danger that the “Barons of Porn” would come swarming back into these communities!
    Nigel Scullion on another occassion suggested that removing the permit system would allow free enterprise to flourish and for example “we could get Vietnamese market-gardeners to establish themselves on these communities”.
    Why not go the full hog and have Central Asians grow Papaver somniferum? Two problems solved at once.
    I can’t wait for these geniuses to get back into government!

  2. Dr Strangelove

    I’d never align myself with his politics, but I’ve seen Senator Scullion talk on a few occasions and he is a clever bloke who seems to have compassion – just hope its not squeezed out of him by the mad monk sitting above him.

    Guess I will just have to quietly hope that he effectively holds Macklin’s inadequacy to account without relying on racist populism…

  3. Bob Gosford

    I think you are far too easy on Scullion – he is an amiable boofhead at best but learning on a very steep curve.
    And you’ve been far too easy on Abbott – who was the most disinterested and lazy Ab’l affairs shadow in years – if not ever.
    And saying that Scullion has an enhanced understanding of blackfellas because he and his local mate go and shoot a few roos is like saying that Warren Snowdon (or whoever) understands small business because he stands in a shop for a few hours one day once a year.
    Dig a little deeper on Nige (see my 2007 piece on the CLP booze cruise if it helps) and you will find a different critter than here described. If anything his elevation will/should ensure his pre-selection next time around – and he may be the best of a bad lot if current CLP form in the lower house is any indication: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/northern/2009/12/09/nt-house-of-reps-election-fever-gets-underway-sorta-kinda-maybe/
    PS – sorry about this but in the fifth para “A knock-about sort of a bloke whose more at home in a jeans than a suit…” shouldn’t it be “who is”?

  4. Gavin Moodie

    An interesting piece. But is it appropriate to use ‘black’ pejoratively as in ‘ . . . he has his own very black past . . . [in] Indigenous affairs’? Does this not give the unfortunate impresion tht it is bad to be black? Similarly other pejorative uses of ‘black’ should be eschewed such as blackmail, blackban, blackball, etc.

  5. RaymondChurch

    This is yet another reminder of the ‘evil’ that lurks within the refugee from the priesthood. Abbott has a side that so far we are only getting a minute glimpse of since his elevation. In his interview on Lateline last night there were times he was having trouble holding back. Note the more he ummms, the darker his mood is getting as he searches for a way out of a situation. Tony Jones of course knows that full well and baited Abbott as a good interviewer in that situation should have. So far the Opposition Leader has controlled himself but underneath the leaden features, there lurks a Mr Hyde. In time he will emerge.

  6. Chris Graham

    Yes Bob, should be ‘who is’. Dammit.

    I understand we’ll differ on Scullion, and yes, the booze cruise with the perennial NT goose (Tollner) was ringing in my ears as I wrote, but faults aside Scullion genuinely does care… which sets him apart from his colleagues.

    As for Abbott, I’m not sure how I could have been much harder on him. I labelled him a “nutter”, attacked him for having no Indigenous affairs policies, suggested he shouldn’t be allowed access to a firearm, and called him both a “complete idiot” and “ignorant”. Short of accusing him of paedophilia (and given his background in the priesthood, I seriously contemplated it… although there’s no evidence to that affect) I think I was tough but fair… you must really hate the guy (although what’s not to hate!!!).

  7. Bob Gosford

    Chris, I suppose our tolerance of Scullion shows how low our expectations of our politicians has sunk – though I’ve had a few good exchanges with Scullion over the years – I just recall – and this is still below the radar – that prior to and during the early days of the NT Intervention that Scullion (and his office) ran as Brough’s point-man out and about on the ground – where else did he get all that anecdotal material that he used to such good (?) effect. And you are of course right about your vituperative treatment of Abbott – apologies. And I gave up on hate as a complete & utter waste of time a long, long time ago…but I can’t think I’d ever love Abbott.

  8. Deodand

    Looking at home politics from overseas is a bit of a challenge and the sad state of coalition politics, now even sadder, is perhaps a tad easier to understand through discussions as above. For which many thanks. But, what is this nonsense about banning “black” words? I had thought that Oz had got past such simplistic, indeed inane, political correctness. I hope it was a bit of a joke that I simply did not get.

  9. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    Chris, you seem to say you know him so I will trust you on Senator Nigel Scullion.
    I love your subtle courage in calling the Rhodes Scholar a ‘nutter’.

    RaymondChurch you may be detecting something but I will stay with the science.
    Psychologically speaking there is a growing and accumulating stack of signals (psychological signals) of significant concern about the scholar indicating he may need assessment with ‘nutter’ being quite inadequate.
    I have previously described on Crikey the occasion on ABC TV when the nutter, sorry, scholar (with a budgie) stared at the interviewer (and audience/camera) unflinchingly and audaciously repeating a lie about his own archbishop when in fact the story of the event had broken and many of us knew he was lying. I knew the psychological meaning of what I was seeing. The community and the media are either unaware or unable to bring such a person to account.

    The worry politically is the damage (and he repeats the threat to do damage politically for the sake of it) that such a scholar can do to our society when unleashed from accountability and encouraged.

    The Important psychological test question:
    What psychological nutter type do all the experts agree is the best or most convincing to the majority of ordinary folk (and this includes the majority of smarts and genii) when he wants to take you along with a lie or a con and have you eating out of his hand.

  10. Chris Graham

    Harvey, I’ll concede nutter is quite inadequate… I’ve always believed that the greatest act of hari kari the Liberal Party could commit would be to elevate someone like Abbott to leader. That said, there’s also a significant part of me that wonders just how stupid this nation is. I guess we’re going to find out sooner rather than later.

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