Hawke the prize in membership drive. Bob Hawke has done his best this past year, without much success, to boost the fortunes of everyone from Anna Bligh to Kristina Keneally. Now, the platinum-haired ex-PM is being wheeled out by NSW Labor to help boost its dire membership numbers.
Dinner with Old Silver is being touted by NSW Labor as the grand prize for any members who can convince two agnostics to become true believers for the princely sum of $5. Existing comrades are being sent membership forms, which can be used to spread the good word and enter the first of its ‘Recruiting to Win’ challenges. Five lucky winners will be wined and dined by Hawke (booze may or may not be provided).
“It’s no secret that during the 2011 state election, the party’s membership hit rock bottom,” said NSW Labor secretary Sam Dastyari, who hopes to recruit 2700 new members to the party. While Sussex St was unable to confirm the location for the August knees-up when contacted this morning, The Power Index hopes it will involve lobsters at one of the party’s favourite Chinese restaurant haunts.
Part of Labor’s wider malaise has been put down to a slump in rank and file members, with one of the barriers being that some have considered the party expensive to join.
Dastyari said the Hawke challenge was already paying dividends, with 962 new members having joined the party this year, which is “more than joined over the entirety of 2011”. “In April we have seen just over 400 new members join the Party, which is a record,” he said.
One ALP supporter who received the membership email said it evoked visions of Julia Roberts’ starring role as lady of the night in 1990 romantic comedy Pretty Woman. “Bob Hawke, the pretty woman of the ALP. I could be his Richard Gere,” they said.
Hawke once famously said that any boss who sacked a worker for not turning up after the nation’s Americas Cup win “was a bum”. The Power Index hopes he’ll have the same strong counsel should the fortunate five wake up with a foggy head after the NSW ALP’s big dinner.
Assange scores scoop, but he’s no TV talent. There are many words that can be used to describe Julian Assange‘s television debut overnight — which kicked off with an interview with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah — but the best of all them would be “scripted”.
That’s the overall impression we believe Russia Today viewers must have taken away from the WikiLeaks founder’s first interview as part of his The World Tomorrow series. The program, based on a Skype conversation, was made to look natural — with a makeshift studio, Assange’s creased and casual collared shirt, sporadically placed notes and empty coffee cups — but it was anything but.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Still under house arrest in England, Assange showed that he’s got clout when it comes to engaging with some of the world’s most difficult-to-access leaders — Nasrallah has not given a television interview in six years — but that he’s unwilling to put the boot in when it counts. He asked questions that were obviously pre-prepared and sounded as if they’d also been pre-approved (or at least pre-provided to Nasrallah). He did not fire back at Nasrallah’s responses.
Speaking from a secret location, Nasrallah did reveal that his Syria-backed Hezbollah had sought to work as a mediator in the Syrian conflict, but that the group could not convince the opposition to participate.
And Assange did throw one curveball at the end of the half-hour interview, asking: “Isn’t Allah or the notion of a god the ultimate super power, and shouldn’t you as a freedom fighter also seek to liberate people from the totalitarian concept of a monotheistic god?”