Kevin Foley is privately fuming about this week’s Budget-related leak. Sources close to the South Australian Treasurer acknowledge that the leak’s identity is much closer to him than an anonymous desk in the public service. In fact, the Treasurer should start asking questions of Jay Weatherill and Paul Caica (from Labor Left), who have been undermined by Mike Rann and Foley since March 21, the day after the recent state election.
Weatherill mounted a challenge to Foley’s deputy leadership and was mercilessly shut down. Caica was dropped in hot water recently when Rann announced an end to water restrictions without Caica’s knowledge. These two Labor Left aspirants have their eyes firmly on the top jobs and have started white-anting already. These developments are the political equivalents of a degustation menu — course after course after course. Watch this space.
The 458 unanswered briefing notes in Paul Lucas’ office is no surprise. Ministerial staff have long dreaded going into a former Lucas portfolio after a reshuffle due to the size of the backlog.
What’s happening with the Government Whip position? Potentially one of the most crucial roles in a minority Gillard Government, and it has yet to be announced with less than a fortnight to go before Parliament resumes. The previous Whip, the veteran and highly-regarded Roger Price, retired at the election. His deputies Chris Hayes and Jill Hall are presumably in line for the job, but it will be a huge step up in pressure from the days of majority government. Tony Abbott sacked Alex Somlyay – a Malcolm Turnbull supporter – but replaced him with the very experienced Warren Entsch. According to Julia Gillard’s office a decision is “in train”.
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When mudlarks attack! Danger in Exmouth, Western Australia from being attacked by mudlarks! Rangers and Shire offices setting traps for the birds in the forecourt pedestrian shopping areas of Exmouth town! The phenomena seems to be going on, unpublicised so as not to damage the tourism industry? Birds attacking people are not new to this area! Offices and local shops’ staff are having difficulty in making the public (tourists) aware.
Desperate measures? Sighted yesterday in inner-city Pyrmont, just up the road from the Sydney Fish Market: a homemade poster taped to a lamp post rallying the troops to Obama in time for the mid-term elections. It urged visiting American Democrats to log on to VotefromAbroad.org
Now that the Commonwealth election campaign is over and Gillard is PM, attention is now turning to Macquarie Street and the newly installed NSW ALP General Secretary, the youthful Sam Dastyari. Puppet masters Mark Arbib and Karl Bitar installed him — after they fled the Iemma and electricity debacle. Apparently Dastyari still takes his orders from them despite claiming to be his own man. Dastyari has already disappointed with the relatively minor task of finding a replacement for disgraced NSW Labor minister John Della Bosca.
Dastyari presented a total non-entity — a former union official Sophie Cotsis. Cotsis was a surprise selection to everyone, including Cotsis. She was presented to Dastyari by his deputy Chris Minns, who is the eyes and ears of the union movement. It seems Labor has learned nothing from its near-death experience. No new blood. No new skills. Just union hacks and failed federal candidates to be accommodated. Brett Thomas, of Menai, who performed dismally in the federal campaign in Hughes in Sydney’s south will get a senior spot on the ALP Legislative Council ticket.
Dastyari will do nothing when it comes to powerbrokers — Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid. Backbenchers in safe seats who were frightened in the lead-up to their preselections are now breathing a sigh of relief. They know he is all talk and they just have to stay put. Former Premier Nathan Rees got one thing right. He said a government with Obeid, Tripodi and Frank Sartor was a stained government. To be fair to Dastyari, he cannot do anything about these gentlemen, but the voters will in April. — Boilermaker Bill.
Raised eyebrows among Australia Post employees. The new member for Chifley, Ed Husic, has been out and about in Australia Post workplaces flogging the new Australia Post EBA. The EBA, which is widely derided among the Post employees, is a turd if ever there was one. Ed has left the CEPU with an EBA that is considered nothing short of a disaster, with little achieved by way of gain for employees and union members.
Many are suspicious that Ed’s political ambitions were placed well ahead of any strike action during the lead-up to the federal election; the EBA campaign was killed off pretty quickly in the lead-up to the election. Several complaints started to be raised in the CEPU offices in the past few weeks that Ed was out and about in Post workplaces, arm in arm with Australia Post managers, engaging in what have become known as turd-polishing sessions.
A rank-and-file Vote No Campaign is popping up in Australia Post nationally and Ed is apparently anxious to have the agreement voted up so he has at least some sort of legacy at the CEPU, a tenure that was largely marked by long periods of absence in the US, plenty of time spent chasing preselection, and schmoozing with the new Post CEO. Ed obviously intends to try and retain a foot in the union to maintain the NSW ALP Right dominance that has now cost Australia Post workers plenty.