Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Back in the mainstream

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  • Charles Mabbett,

    Yeah but Russell you must remember that Rudd's appointment - as relatively colourless as he is - as Labor leader is a reaction to the previous larger than life personalities Simon Crean and Mark Latham (he of the infamous 'conga line of suckholes' quote). They lined up like roadkill to John Howard.

    The ineffectual Kim Beazley notwithstanding, after what the party has been through over the past 11 years, a candidate who appealed to the prevailing conservative nature of the Australian electorate with the qualities of being calm and undemonstrative was always going to be a winner.

    Also the party badly needed Rudd to unify its squabbling factions which he appears to have done successfully - for now anyway. Plus he speaks fluent Mandarin. Now won't that come in useful in building a relationship with an emerging superpower.

    Another feature of the new government will be the performance of of the deputy leader Julia Gillard. Isn't it great to see a woman close to the apex of federal leadershp in Australia? I think it may even be a first. They've had women state leaders but not in federal politics as far as I know.

    Also interesting is the bogus Muslim pamphlets and Liberal MP Jackie Kelly's reluctance to condemn the actions of those close to her in printing and delivering them is one of the reasons being talked about for the larger than expected swing against Howard in his Bennelong electorate. Fascinating.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    Here's a little bit of Home And Away as reported in the Sydney MH today:

    A broken home in a broken party

    THE Liberal Party is in the doghouse - and so is the husband of the defeated Liberal Party candidate Karen Chijoff.

    Days after Greg Chijoff was caught red-handed by Labor Party officials distributing a fake Muslim flyer in the marginal seat of Lindsay, delivering a death blow to his wife's chances of retaining it for the Liberals, a stoney Mrs Chijoff revealed she had not spoken to her husband since the controversy erupted and had kicked him out of the house.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    I was going to stop posting but I have to include this fabulous quote from same story:

    "I vomited when I found out," said a 16-year Liberal member, Wendy Anderson. "It was just such an incredibly stupid and unthinkable thing to do, and the fact that Jackie's husband was involved has really gutted us."

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Another feature of the new government will be the performance of of the deputy leader Julia Gillard. Isn't it great to see a woman close to the apex of federal leadershp in Australia?

    Don't know about you, Charles, but you'd think this is one country where folks with vaginas in high public positions have lost their novelty value.

    Anyway, the most interesting post-election item is that Rudd is not letting the caucus have any say whatsoever in choosing the front bench. Now, that's definitely Bliar-ite, and only time will tell whether it ultimately has the same outcome.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Kevin Rudd, famously, has 20,000 friends on Facebook

    Funnily enough, they're "fans" not "friends". Facebook lets "public figures" create pages that are halfway between a personal profile and a group.

    This is a good idea, but I can't find anything official from any NZ politicians. Not even my local MP - a blogger - is on Facebook.

    As long as I don't get "Click here to be a pirate/ninja/vampire" spam, I'd be happy to have a political Facebook friend.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1843 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Facebook lets "public figures" create pages that are halfway between a personal profile and a group.

    How do they judge a "public figure"? Wiki page that hasn't been deleted for non-noteworthyness?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4361 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    It's no accident that both Howard and Keating

    Surely you mean to say Hawke and Keating?

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It's no accident that both Howard and Keating (having apparently settled a 16-year feud) provided what fire there was in the Labor campaign (which also, remarkably, saw the rehabilitation of Gough Whitlam). Both men wrote what can only be regarded as typewritten assassinations of Howard in the last week of the campaign, and Keating was swiftly into print again afterwards with this assessment

    Of course it's no accident. If there had been any signs of a backlash - and even by the standards of Ocker punditry, Whitlam and Keating made Mike Moore look lovestruck - then Rudd could neatly disassociate himself. But you've really got to wonder what Rudd really believes in, and how he's going to handle doing anything that can't be smoothed over with bland bormides and might actually be unpopular. I'd also have to say the media coverage was deeply unimpressive, when it came to sceptical analysis of the eye-watering amounts of pork both Labour and the Coalition were throwing around, and policy that (when it existed at all) was written on the back of a press release.

    Sorry, Russell, but anyone who would describe either the Coalition or Labour as fiscally conservative is just not speaking any reality-based language I'm familiar with.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Surely you mean to say Hawke and Keating?

    I did. Fixed now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sorry, Russell, but anyone who would describe either the Coalition or Labour as fiscally conservative is just not speaking any reality-based language I'm familiar with.

    Quite. I guess it helps when you're awash in mining money the way Australia is. I think I read one column pointing out that both parties' promises threatened to aggravate an inflationary cycle, but it didn't seem to be a big issue over there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18512 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Another feature of the new government will be the performance of of the deputy leader Julia Gillard. Isn't it great to see a woman close to the apex of federal leadershp in Australia? I think it may even be a first. They've had women state leaders but not in federal politics as far as I know.

    And predictably we saw the same sort of nasty misogynist smears directed at her that some still direct at female politicians over here. Unfortunately there are knuckle-draggers on both sides of the Tasman who have yet to enter the Century of the Fruitbat, let alone that of the Anchovy.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    I watched Rudd on Rove on Friday night in anticipation of the election. I thought his calmness and composure was perfect for the occasion, and Rove gave him a fair amount of stick. He remained thoughtful and on-message and at times was vaguely funny which is about the best that could be hoped for on the night.

    Does anyone know whether Howard has officially lost his seat or not?

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • DPF,

    Ha ha ha - that's hilarious. I can just imagine how it looked on people's Facebook threads.

    My leaving was more on grounds of factual accuracy than political expediency but I can very much appreciate the smile on Russell's face when he saw it.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And predictably we saw the same sort of nasty misogynist smears directed at her that some still direct at female politicians over here.

    And interesting see Gillard herself very carefully not playing the 'gender card' - which is very smart, consider that the presumptive next President of the United States is raising hackles by having her proxies dismiss any hard questions about her performance, voting record or actual policy as sexism. As I said, Idiot/Savant, I think reasonable people in this country don't regard women in politics as some delightful novelty. Dare I say it, perhaps we even take women seriously enough to judge them on their performance rather than their gender?

    Quite. I guess it helps when you're awash in mining money the way Australia is.

    Yeah, but you'd think a media that were actually doing their fraking jobs would test someone who was saying on the one hand the mining boom wouldn't last forever (which is a statement of the blindingly obvious, IMO) while spraying the pork around like a woodchipper in a piggery.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    About 8000-9000 absentee and expatriate votes to be counted but Maxine McKew has a razor thin majority and her lead appears to be holding. We'll probably know tomorrow or Wednesday.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Mabbett,

    SMH: It's Bennelong, long time coming.

    ALP sources suggest the expatriate vote from London and Hong Kong is likely to strongly favour her, since the McKew campaign succeeded in targeting the large group of voters in the electorate of Chinese and Korean backgrounds - who have traditionally favoured Mr Howard - to pull off the big swing in the seat.

    Since Nov 2006 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I watched Rudd on Rove on Friday night in anticipation of the election. I thought his calmness and composure was perfect for the occasion, and Rove gave him a fair amount of stick

    Meh... that's akin to saying Larry King asks difficult questions... like whether you can remember the title of the book/movie/CD you're shilling. :) Rove is great fun, but let's not pretend its probing current affairs journalism. And considering how heavily control freaked both Rudd and Howard were, I doubt Kev would have done Rove if it was. It is really strange how feral, yet curiously lightweight, Australian campaigns and political media (for the most part) really are.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Charles - thanks for the update on Bennelong.

    Craig - yeah, the stick was definitely humorous/demeaning rather than hard-hitting/journalistic. But then Rove is comedy/entertainment. I haven't detected any pretensions to serious current affairs.

    Come to think of it, the script for the whole episode was significantly above the usual offering from Rove and the crew (which often elicits a "meh" in our household). Perhaps they wanted to end their season with a bang. If so, mission accomplished.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    I think there’s something a bit sad about what’s happened in Australian politics.

    There has always been something colourful about them. Having a prime minister being picked up by a Chinese submarine started my fascination with them, followed in the next decade by the drama of the Whitlam sacking (“Malcolm Fraser is the cutlery man. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he’s been knifing people in the back ever since”)

    Then onto Fraser himself; a term highlighted by his palpable contempt of Muldoon and the line “Life was never meant to be easy”.

    Hawke, the lovable rogue, the staggeringly arrogant Keating, and their feud was great to watch.

    But then what’s happened? A phenomenally bland Howard whose only point of interest was his mean-spirited cynicism, and now this bland smirking evangelistic who I note has an identical haircut to John Key.

    I want the old style ocker politician back.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    As I said, Idiot/Savant, I think reasonable people in this country don't regard women in politics as some delightful novelty. Dare I say it, perhaps we even take women seriously enough to judge them on their performance rather than their gender?

    Over here, yes. But looking at Australia, they're quite a way behind us. What a difference a couple of women Prime Ministers makes.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I want the old style ocker politician back.

    That is like asking to live in Interesting Times.

    Uninteresting times may be boring, but they're a hell of a lot safer.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    </off topic>

    There was not much liberty for the boat people

    That is such a tough issue. If you take in boat people on humanitarian grounds then you just encourage more people to spend their life savings (or more ie debt) on a seat in some shonky boat run by people smugglers who don't really care if the boat makes it or not. Australian soil is only a boat ride away from Indonesia.

    And yet we all agree that one shouldn't pay the kidnappers ransom because that only encourages more kidnappings.

    </rant over, back to topic please... >

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Uninteresting times may be boring, but they're a hell of a lot safer

    Agreed; but it is Australia we’re talking about here.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • David Ritchie,

    SMH: It's Bennelong, long time coming.

    The subs at the SMH have been on a bit of a roll recently.

    Wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Chockasunday,

    I want the old style ocker politician back.

    That is like asking to live in Interesting Times.

    Uninteresting times may be boring, but they're a hell of a lot safer.

    Our politicians hardly ever say anything fun these days, I miss getting a laugh from politics.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 62 posts Report Reply

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