Dec 17, 2012

2012 Crikeys: the best and worst of the year in politics

It's that time of year again: we hand out the Crikeys for the best and worst of 2012 in federal politics. Who was the biggest media tart? Who engineered the worst gaffe? And who is Crikey's pollie of the year?

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

In a bruising year of federal politics, who emerges with the least bark taken off? We kick off the 2012 Crikeys by crowning Australia’s politician of the year — and name the frontbenchers who got the most done, and the ones who really dropped the ball …

Most effective minister: Bill Shorten

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21 thoughts on “2012 Crikeys: the best and worst of the year in politics

  1. john willoughby

    The highlight of the year was the “Outlier” that appeared in the form of Rares J. and his reasons for the dismissal of Mr Ashbys sexual harassment claim.
    The conservative side of politics in this country seem to be dwelling in the same structure as there brethren in the USA , a political form of “second life” where a parallel universe has been created.. Here in australia we used to call it swallowing your own bullshit..
    The spectacle of Fox “News” refusing to believe that Obama had won the Presidency after
    even their own analysts had called it is a case in point.
    The opposition here had better start examining more than the Tea leaves dispensed by the excruciatingly named News limited..

  2. paddy

    Bernard, I think Stephen Conroy probably also deserves an honourable mention on the “effective” side of the ledger.
    I know he’s an insufferable pain in the proverbial.
    But he *has* managed to keep the NBN on track. (Despite the best efforts of Turnbull to emulate a horde of Visigoths.)
    Plus, he’s even been fairly politically adept, at letting the millstone of the net filter quietly sink without trace.

    The financial planning reforms are important and worthy. But in terms of what will be this Govt’s greatest legacy, they don’t even come close to the NBN.

  3. Gavin Mooney

    Those of us interested in health were so pleased when Nicola Roxon moved on. Her ‘love’ of public health was perhaps best exhibited in her comment to the Australian Food and Grocery Council Dinner when she argued in the context of prevention that she saw ‘no reason for people to fear industry engagement – quite the opposite’. Out of the mouths of … ministers who just don’t get it.

    But Roxon’s move left space for Tanya Plibersek who really does seem to get it.

  4. zut alors

    Agree with your choices, Bernard, apart from Most Effective Minister.

    Stephen Conroy is across his portfolio and makes a persuasive argument for the NBN – even the likeable Turnbull can’t win that debate when they go head to head. Nor do I find him a pain, there are other ministers way ahead of him in that regard.

  5. Chris Graham

    On the money, and as incisive and entertaining as ever Bernard. And while I don’t disagree with you’re ‘most ineffective minister’, I’m disappointed Jenny Macklin didn’t get some sort of kicking, deserved or otherwise.

  6. Kevin Tyerman

    I do appreciate that “most effective” is different to “best”, but as a country, if we start rewarding our politicians for “demonstrat[ing] a willingness not to let consistency, facts or common sense interfere with prosecuting the case against the government” (or the opposition), instead of honesty and integrity shown while in their repsective offices, we will indeed have the politicians we deserve.

  7. Simon Mansfield

    >> The Aussie dollar becoming a reserve currency.

    It’s not a reserve currency – it’s just a sure bet against a bunch of overpaid fools obsessed with economic ideology rather than national self interest.

    Seriously, BK have you ever actually worked a day as an employer – let alone fired someone.

    If Labor was not in office the dollar bubble would be the number issue of concern. Instead it’s an easy way to keep supermarket inflation low without doing squat about the structural problems Australian retail has to contend with each day. Meanwhile, tax receipts continue to fall as export earnings contract.

    The difference between 1.05 and .95 is close enough to 10% to call it that. What would happen if average PAYG workers had their earnings cut by 10%. Try managing an SME export business with that type of revenue fluctuations. And please no more garbage about hedging – it’s expensive and eventually expires.

    Most large corporations with international earning are able to hedge via internal cash flow means. SMEs simply don’t have the resources and expertise to manage long range currency hedges. But BK being a business expert of the first order always knows better.

  8. Dogs breakfast

    I agree with others re Stepehn Conroy. Selling the NBN, or at least navigating it inexorably forward without further disaster, is an achievement in its own right. There are a squillion ill-informed people ready to jump all over that one, and largely they have been given no ammunition.

    Also letting the internet filter die a thankful death was well handled. He may not be PM material, seemingly uninterested in looking human, but he is effective.

    You’re right about JG, the second half of this year saw her emerge from her self/PR spun coccoon.

    Mr Mansfield, your comments are strange at best. Perhaps I should just point out that the money market is factors larger than the Australian economy. Short of running the economy into the ground, there isn’t much that the govt can do. Are you suggesting they should be running the economy into the ground?

  9. zut alors

    Simon Mansfield: ” What would happen if average PAYG workers had their earnings cut by 10%.”

    In that case they should celebrate they’re not relying on the cash term deposit market for their livelihood as the cut would be closer to 50%.

  10. zut alors

    Stuck in modn, will re-word the post:

    Simon Mansfield: ” What would happen if average PAYG workers had their earnings cut by 10%.”

    In that case they should celebrate they’re not dependant on the cash term deposit market for their livelihood as the cut would be closer to 50%.

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