typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

Australian Election – 5 days that killed John Howard but couldn’t shut up Janet Albrechtsen.

with 2 comments

I just posted this over at Mask of Anarchy as a rantagious election update for folk beyond Aussie shores or Aussies who have runaway and are deciding whether to book air tickets for the celebrations (please please please) on November 25th.

We’re about 88 hours (who’s counting?) from the close of polling booths on Saturday. That will hopefully be followed soon after by the sound of a door slamming shut on John Howard’s burgerlicious haemorrhoids as he LEAVES THE BUILDING!! Everything, apart from the Murdoch-owned press, is pointing toward a change of government. There has been no flash in the pan swing away from Howard. Rather, as soon as there was a viable federal opposition leader in place late last year, the polls swung and have stuck in a range of between 42-46% support for the government, 54-58% for the opposition under Kevin Rudd.

Particularly interesting has been the past 5 days. Typically, this would be the point when the Labor Party (centrist opposition) would find a way to self-destruct. This time, however, the Liberal Coalition (conservative right wing government) has been utterly battered – by their own hand as well, and not in that special way that they learnt at boarding school.

Late last week, an auditor-general’s report was released detailing how a grants program designed to support regional projects had somehow been politically hijacked and distributed in a manner reflecting the need to insure and buy votes in key electorates. Grants adding up to millions of dollars were awarded to first-time applicants whose proposals were incomplete and whose projects had met with departmental criticism. They happened to be located in marginal electorates. This also led to a meltdown from Mark Vaile, the deputy Prime Minister, accusing the auditor-general of – funnily enough – inappropriately playing politics during an election.

The next headline was that John Howard had confirmed that Peter Costello, our even less popular treasurer, would definitely takeover from him about 18 months into the next term of government if they get back in.

This was followed by a lot of noise and finger-pointing over the possibility that cracks were appearing over internal loyalties and allegiances, as well as over the future leadership and direction of the party.

No sooner was a lid on this than the Supreme Court handed down a rejection of a Freedom of Information application that had been before the court for almost two and a half years. Local media had applied for details of governmental discussions about a second wave of industrial relations reforms. The current wave – WorkChoices – follows the American model of industrial relations and is driven by Howard’s hatred of unions and Costello’s love of a well-behaved work force. Oh yes. And money. They both love money.

WorkChoices is a critical issue in this election as it was introduced without ever having been voted on by the public. After the last election the Coalition government won an unanticipated Senate majority and realized they could rubber stamp everything they’d been wanting to do for the previous 8 years. This latest acceptance by the court that the discussions were internal cabinet materials and therefore not for the public is backfiring for Howard. They have blocked the release the way they wanted to, only to assure people that they are hiding a further wave of reforms – just as the Opposition has been insisting that they are.

And now, the government has truly got into desperation politics. One of their Senators, Andrew Robb, is the kind of douchebag who would fit perfectly into the Bush Administration. In the last 8 hours, he propagated a story that 13 of the Opposition’s candidates were legally ineligible to stand for election because they hadn’t fully resigned from publicly funded jobs at the time of their applications to be candidates for election.

One of Howard’s satanic gifts has been to perfectly time announcements and statements in a way that capitalises on the news cycle. Robb, while equally – possibly more – satanic, lacks this gift. Before tomorrow’s front pages went to press, journalists had time to ring the 13 Labor candidates and seek statements regarding this. While one was not contactable, twelve confirmed that their candidatures are indeed valid. Furthermore, both they and the journalists have gone on to point out that this kind of a desperate ploy by the Government is exactly that – desperate.

Reassuringly, Centrebet has Labor odds on to win at $1.28, with Howard’s Government paying $3.80. Some lefties have apparently bet a bunch of money on Howard to win so that even if he does, they’ll have something to smile about.

The smiliest thing that could possibly happen would be if a change of government is augmented by Howard being shown the door in his own electorate of Bennelong. There, a former ABC investigative journalist with a high public profile, Maxine McKew (rhymes with ‘chuck glue’) is running for the Labor Party. Despite holding the seat of Bennelong for over 30 years (since the 68-year old stopped living with his mum… to go live with his wife) Howard looks to have a fight on his hands that he is being tipped to lose. He would be the first Australian Prime Minister in almost 80 years to lose his own seat at a federal election – and he’ll have bloody well earnt it.

Still… staying on as a backbencher in an opposition party for another three years might be even more punishing…. nah.

My hopes are for a Labor Party win in the Lower House with the balance of power in the Senate to be picked up by the Greens, just btw.

Written by typingisnotactivism

November 21, 2007 at 2:46 am

2 Responses

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  1. Can typingisnotactivism get a link to Kerry O’Brien’s interview with John Howard on last night’s ABC- The 7.30 Report [20 November]? If Howard gets back after Saturday, his first new legislation will be entitled; “The ABC Privatisation Bill”. Go Maxine!

    David Obendorf

    November 21, 2007 at 9:24 am

  2. Awesome pick up David: the link is here – http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2007/s2096090.htm

    KERRY O’BRIEN: In other words, you will move and I’m told you’ll move rapidly, to set up the regulatory framework to allow nuclear power to follow at some point.

    JOHN HOWARD: Well Kerry, I have never denied my belief that if an economic necessity brings nuclear power on to the table, never denied that, and it should happen, and I’ve also never walked away from saying that wherever nuclear power stations might, in the future, be built would be subject to three things environmental considerations, safety considerations and binding local plebiscites.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: That’s reassuring.

    JOHN HOWARD: Well, it should be reassure. Let’s have an adult debate about climate change. I mean you talk about scare campaigns. The really big scare campaign in this election campaign is Mr Rudd running around the country talking about 25 nuclear power stations.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: He’s taken that precisely from your task force report.

    JOHN HOWARD: He’s saying to the public we’re going to build them and we’re going to build them as a matter of ideology. We’re not going to have a situation that if there is an economic need and an environmental need for them and subject to safeguards and subject to binding local plebiscites, nuclear power stations probably 10, 15, or 20 years into the future might be considered that is the true position and that is a real scare.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: Let me just get this clear from you. Will you move to legislatively set up that regulatory framework while you’ve still got the old Senate before July of next year, while you still control the Senate?

    JOHN HOWARD: Well, can I tell you I haven’t given any particular thought to that timetable.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: But I suppose it makes sense if you’re keen to see that regulatory framework in place.

    JOHN HOWARD: I just have to take that question on notice. I can’t answer that.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: In your final comments in the debate with Mr Rudd, you included in your future vision for Australia, this was your final statement, three goals of your education revolution. Each one involved going back to the past, back to basics.

    JOHN HOWARD: I’m not advocating an education revolution.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: You used the term, you used the term education revolution.

    JOHN HOWARD: I use it in a rather ironic way.

    KERRY O’BRIEN: I thought it slipped out and then you had to kind of correct it a bit.

    JOHN HOWARD: I was being ironic.


    November 21, 2007 at 10:09 am

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