NEWS AND VIEWS
Friday, February 15, 2008
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Back on the trail again
Kevin Rudd is right to be acting as if he is still in an election campaign. He is. For old timers like me the attitude of the Coalition parties in this first week of Parliament is reminiscent of the way things were back in 1973. Liberals and Nationals alike cannot believe they should be on the opposition benches. There is no acceptance that the people actually rejected their policies. Obstruction is going to be the order of the day with the numbers in the Senate already being used to frustrate Labor. When economic conditions get really tough after another couple of interest rate rises to take the gloss off the new administration, the Opposition will get bolder. Minor parties too have every reason to put a double dissolution on the agenda. Half the quotas at such a poll guarantees them success.
Brendan Nelson made a mistake in being sucked in by the emotion of the day in agreeing to take part in a "cabinet of national unity" to deal with Aboriginal affairs. It is bad politics to put in the position of being a party to decisions. The votes in Aboriginal matters come from people who do not care at all about anyone saying sorry and even less about money being spent to help solve the problem.
Give the secretaries the sack
When the press secretary becomes the story, the press secretary can no longer do the required job. The Kevin Rudd team who aided and abetted the crowd in King's Hall turning their backs on Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson are now in that category. They should say farewell.
Where working families come from
A kind reader has enlightened me on the origins of that phrase "working families" which I mentioned yesterday was in the campaign rhetoric of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It apparently originated in the US with trade union consultant Vic Fingerhut who came to Australia specifically to advise the trade unions on their anti-Work Choices campaign including introducing the use of "working families". Kevin 07 was nothing more, apparently, than the latest plagiarist of a term that has been around in US politics for a while. It has got a run in other places - most recently in the provincial election Ontario with the NDP last year.
Rating the maiden speeches
William Wilberforce is making something of a comeback. For the second day in a row the old abolitionist Christian was nominated as the favourite of a Liberal MP delivering a maiden speech. Scott Morrison the new member for Cook declared himself another proud Christian and added Bishop Desmond Tutu to Wilberforce as an inspiration (like Stuart Robert yesterday ). Mr Morrison's "vision for Australia is for a nation that is strong, prosperous and generous: strong in our values and our freedoms, strong in our family and community life, strong in our sense of nationhood and in the institutions that protect and preserve our democracy; prosperous in our enterprise and the careful stewardship of our opportunities, our natural environment and our resources; and, above all, generous in spirit, to share our good fortune with others, both at home and overseas, out of compassion and a desire for justice." 6 out of 10.
The Daily Reality Check
Pay rises for politicians are always a favourite read but no pay rise for politicians not so much so. News of the wealthy Kevin Rudd determining that there should be no increase this year only made it on to three of the 10 internet news sites Crikey surveys. A sign that there might yet be a backlash against saying sorry comes from the Melbourne Herald Sun site where "First compo claim launched" made the top spot.
The Pick of This Morning's Political Coverage
Tax cuts on way - and higher rates – Tim Colebatch, Melbourne Age
Rudd moves to cap wages growth - David Crowe and Geoff Winestock, Australian Financial Review
Coalition tactics stall end of AWAs – Malcolm Farr, Sydney Daily Telegraph
Victoria's first stolen generation compensation bid - Carly Crawford, Melbourne Herald Sun
MP Denies then Admits Assault - A Liar and a Thug - Steven Wardill, Brisbane Courier Mail
Razor Gang – Labor may dump pandas – Kim Wheatley, Adelaide Advertiser
Division hits 'war cabinet' - Patricia Karvelas and Simon Kearney, The Australian