Spring Clean

Out go Richard Alston and Wilson Tuckey – they’ll be hoping there’s no ambassadorial vacancy in Chad. Vanstone to Immigration, Ruddock to Attorney-General, Abbott picks up Health, Patterson gets Family and Community Services, Daryl Williams goes to Communications and De-anne Kelly and Chris Pyne become parliamentary secretaries.

The election Ministry is now in place. so……..when’s the election?

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cs
cs
2021 years ago

The changes generally look pretty astute to me, although I would question the wisdom of putting Abbott in health. Oddly, I think Patterson was working for the Coalition in the sense that she was deadly uninteresting. Abbott is likly to bring the portfolio up the agenda, with potential adverse risks on the Medicare front. As for the election, my money is still on a post July 2004 double d.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

Patterson is a poor, no…. bloody woeful communicator and Health is clearly going to be a crucial hard sell in the run-up to the election – in an area where Labor is traditionally on much more secure electoral ground than the Coalition.

Howard presumably sees Abbott as a better prospect for getting the message out.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Yeah, I agree on technical grounds Geoff, but do wonder about the wisdom of the politics – Abbott is such a polarising figure, the effect may prove perverse (for the Coalition, that is). One to watch, imo.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Phillip Ruddock in charge of ASIO – or will it be the other way around? Now there’s something to look forward to.

And Darryl Williams is just the man to stand up to Packer, Murdoch and Telstra.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2021 years ago

Oh , and one more thing. For all his macho posturing, what did Tony Abbott actually achieve as Minister for Workplace Relations?

Nothing, zippo, zilch, nought.

Unlike Peter Reith, he got not one bill of consequence through Parliament. Not one!

He will likewise fail at Health.

Abbott is all talk.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“Abbott is all talk.”

…a major advance on his predecessor then Dave. She appeared to be congenitally tongue-tied, which aligned with her TV persona – “frog caught in headlights” – didn’t inspire confidence. Her minders got desperate and tried the “stay on message” approach and she croaked “it’s an integrated package” as her only response to any question she was asked for about 6 weeks.

I loved the Tuckey spin – “Wilson, having identified that he won’t be in the Cabinet after the next election, has opted to pursue a career in thoroughly well-merited senescent obscurity. A course he’s already embarked upon with at least partial success.”

Yobbo
2021 years ago

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Wilson, I’ll miss you.

Won’t miss Richard “We Must Control The Internmenet” Alston though.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

Unfortunately the main destructive force to his won side, Peter Costello, remains as Treasurer. All the opposition has to do to win the next election comfortably is to get rid of John Howard and install any drover’s dog (other than a poodle) as leader and it’s home.

mark
2021 years ago

Per’aps you’d feel differently if he was interfering with your state, Yobs.

(So Ian Campbell’s the new Territories Minister, eh?)

homer Paxton
homer Paxton
2021 years ago

September 11 next year could be looking good if the bubble doesn’t burst.

James Russell
James Russell
2021 years ago

Ruddock to the Attorney-General’s position?
Oh good Christ no.

mark
2021 years ago

Perhaps Howard should’ve gotten Liar Albrechtson. She’d be much better at, well, *lying* than Williams, she’s a lawyer, she’s well-known, and she’s much more rabid than practically anyone else in Cabinet. Let’s see her take a seat next election, eh, to pave the way through…

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2021 years ago

I can’ actually remember when it was that Howard got elected, partly because it was a good few years ago now and partly because I have adopted repressed memory syndrome about Keating’s government. In any case if Howard wins again, and it looks likely, it will be his fourth term?

It is not natural for governments in the modern age to last four terms, it takes a seriously bad opposition to achieve that. We all suffer, even RWDBs like me, when governments get stale and what incentive has the Coalition got to be anything else?

None of the lefty hippies here will agree with me but I think the opposition’s only chance is not to be brave and return to the light on the hill but to actually do the opposite. I feel there is a strong desire in the electorate for “Howard Lite”. The ALP can do it, theyve done it in the past with the Hawke/Keating Governments – solid economic rationalist governments with a nod and a wink to other issues. Everyone wants their home improvements, new cars and low interest rates. Everyone. The only difference is that some people want to pay a bit of lip service to social issues as a kind of side issue. Seriously, don’t puke, Beasley did not lose because he aped Howard’s policy on national security/ border security. He lost because the electorate did not think he was dinkum about it or that he could not keep the seventies time warped mung beans under control. He was absolutely right when he said he won the campaign but lost the election. The ALP should not be noble and brave and return to its core historical values because they are just that – history. I’m not trying to be a cynical smart arse, I honestly believe the country has moved on from this Carmen Lawrence/ Phillip Adams crap. It’s over. Engage the people with some really imaginative AND TAX NEUTRAL policies on education and health. Fix up the detention centres because we all think that we have been a little harsh but don’t think for one second you’ll get a vote if you release them into the community. People aren’t stupid, you know. Pack off these dinosaurs to the Greens and the Aust Dems, we’ll soon see what happens to them then.

There are many ways inwhich a Labor opposition can provide real alternatives within the parameters of sensible economic management. They could win now with them and anytime next year.

Graham
2021 years ago

‘I feel there is a strong desire in the electorate for “Howard Lite”.’ *Rolls Eyes* I imagine a significant proportion of the electorate will decide to stick with the Real Thing, don’t you?

I agree on most of your points, but given the clangers the Howard gov’t has been making, and yet the ALP’s total inability to make any political mileage out of them, I have absolutely no idea how the ALP is going to get back. Howard will stick to the same flooding tactics next year, and hand over to Costello (though, actually, it’s foolish to speculate on that) just about when high interest rates start to hurt.

Oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them. And with the way things are, the government would have to drop a really big clanger for the ALP to make any ground. In short, the ALP is rooted.

But whilst us political fanboys (RWDBs and treehuggers alike) get all hot and bothered about such things, whilst The People aren’t stupid, as you say, unless they have to drive past Something everyday or Something hits them in the hip pocket, The People don’t give a shit. Ask them.* And they won’t give a shit about whatever party is in power until 2005 when the equity squeeze finally hits, but that’ll be after the next election.

(* – Take, for instance, Ruddock’s lies over Children Overboard; he got away with it, in spite of the best efforts of the mung bean brigade, and now he’s freaking Attorney-General. Indeed, most people seem quite happy to accept that foreign raghead interlopers are all Bad Mothers, and We Don’t Want Those Sort Of People Here.)

Oh well. At least Alston’s finally buggering off.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

As I said to Billy Bragg in my recent brush with fame, it’s time to elect a new bloody public. I’ve had it with this lot. Wouldn’t know a terrible government if they fell over it.

In his gentle way, Billy reminded me that they tried that in the Soviet Union.

[Sighs, throw up hands, puts head down, goes back to writing his paper, muttering in disgust and despair]

Scott Wickstein
2021 years ago

The people of course are loaded with common sense. They sure don’t like the Howard govt but tend to accept it in the sense that they can’t find a better one and fear a worse one.

It’s Tallyrand and the Orleanists all over again.

Graham
2021 years ago

In times of trouble…

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“* – Take, for instance, Ruddock’s lies over Children Overboard; he got away with it, in spite of the best efforts of the mung bean brigade, and now he’s freaking Attorney-General. Indeed, most people seem quite happy to accept that foreign raghead interlopers are all Bad Mothers, and We Don’t Want Those Sort Of People Here.)”

But I don’t think, Graham, that people are, in general, xenophobes or “anti-immigration.” They are, it seems, opposed to rorts and rackets, to people-smuggling stratagems that involve over-flying dozens of potential points of refuge in order to embark from Indonesia – documents conveniently shredded – via fishing boat for Australia. The fact that 1,000’s of migrants – and refugees – arrive here legally every week is the thematic backstory that utterly refutes the fear and hatred of outsiders claim, which Australians are constantly accused of. I know of no substantive body of evidence that would support this constant assertion of an intrinsic fear and hatred of “the different” in our society; a corrosive racist, xenophobia upon which Howard is constantly accused of building his constituency. It’s simply not true.

People can – and do – make quite clear distinctions between legal and illegal arrival, between valid and bogus claims of refugee status. And the people who sit on refugee application review tribunals overwhelmingly want to enable entry, not to deny it.

Repeating, mantra-like, the same old line doesn’t make it an incontrovertible truth. It does however irritate the wuck out of the people about who feel constantly demeaned and traduced by the arrogant assumptions within it. Therein may well lie at least part of Howard’s ascendancy.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“It’s Tallyrand and the Orleanists all over again.”

Scott – I have enormous respect for anyone who can work a Prince de Talleyrand analogy into a discourse on Oz politics! :)

Graham
2021 years ago

“I know of no substantive body of evidence that would support this constant assertion of an intrinsic fear and hatred of “the different” in our society” – Yeah, you’re probably right. The letters page in the People’s Paper is pretty unrepresentative.

I know, I know, it makes me sound like one of the Kingston Kids. I wish all people smugglers dead, of course, but where there’s an opportunity to make money, someone will take it.

Similarly, having an open door policy is plain stupid, especially when we are in serious need of some sort of population policy. (For instance, if we want a bigger local market, as some business leaders desire, then we will have to cut back on agricultural exports to a corresponding degree, or else learn to live with the Murray-Darling as an oversized stormwater drain.)

However, the big blots on Ruddock’s reign as Immigration Minister, are of course the way detention centres are run, and the ridiculous Pacific Solution. Even if someone has conveniently “lost” their papers, why the hell does it take two years to figure out whether to send them back or to give them a TPV?

No-one seems to be bothered that Howard just recently has reneged on his promise towards the latter that none of the Tampa refugees would set foot in Australia.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2021 years ago

Hi Graham.

You are right, my “Howard-Lite” imagery was a not really very apropos with relection. The electorate wants all the fats, calories and carcinogens of our conservative government but they would prefer a brand that tastes sweeter and comes in a prettier though recycled package.

The opposition is not getting anywhere with landing hits because they have not established themselves as an alternative Govt. Eventually a government will lose anyway, the Coalition is approaching its use by date. They’ll probably get over the line, they may not, which would be sad because the opposition are not up it.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

“Even if someone has conveniently “lost” their papers, why the hell does it take two years to figure out whether to send them back or to give them a TPV?”

I think the more telling question is why people would conveniently “lose” their papers and why their advocates would subsequently identify the not unexpected time that it takes to establish identity/legitimacy as a denial of human rights.

It’s also a given that the longer one persists with the various appeal/review processes, the greater one’s chances of success. As I said earlier, the review/appeal panels tend to be disposed towards the appellants interests rather than being intrinsically inimical to them.

A significant number of people who are granted refugee status are probably more your classic aspirants to a better life – in the broadest sense – rather than being in immediate peril of losing life and liberty. That the system tends to err more on the appellant’s side in benefit of doubt apportionment is rarely highlighted in the agitprop wars that swirl endlessly around the issue.

nardo
2021 years ago

“it’s time to elect a new bloody public…”

The problem ain’t there. Australia has a well-educated populace, politically-literate when it comes to democracy (we’re exporting it as we speak), with great communications infrastructure… how come we only get to vote once every 4 years to rearrange the furniture in Canberra?

I think the Clever Country is wasting a great resource…

Commenters here and there claim Howard’s election as vindication for each and every of his policies. That may well be the case… but who knows?

Just as Yobbo pointed out that reds can be racists, Liberal voters can take exception to chapters from Howard’s little blue book.

A pertinent remark from a blogger during the invasion of Iraq… when we take our parliamentary democracy to Baghdad, are we going to point out the flaws that we’ve experienced in its application?

I’d sponsor Wilson Tuckey and Gareth Evans to help out in, say, Najaf.

mark
2021 years ago

Er, 3 years, nardo, assuming it’s not politically convenient to make it more often (e.g. 1996 –> 1998).

I believe 4 years is the American number.

nardo
2021 years ago

so much for politically-literate!

trackback
2021 years ago

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