True to form, Jeff Kennett is back in the headlines, the centre of a minor scandal entirely of his own making. This time the former Victorian premier had to deny accusations of racism after he claimed that security staff at AFL games were “new arrivals” who lacked an understanding of the sport.
Kennett apologised and backed down from his comments. Still, such comments are utterly unsurprising. Despite being well past his glory days, Kennett keeps himself relevant by saying silly, controversial and at times deeply offensive things. None of these remarks have stopped him from being firmly entrenched in the establishment. As premier, Kennett presided over an ambitious series of bruising neoliberal reforms that cost thousands of public sector jobs. After hubris led to a shock election defeat in 1999, he has remained in the limelight, serving as president of Hawthorn Football Club, founding chairman of Beyond Blue and a regular media commentator.