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Death wish

February 29th, 2012

A couple of days after Labor united behind Julia Gillard, allowing her to implement her commitments, we get
this (somewhat belatedly denied) and

Meanwhile, in Queensland, Labor is marching towards a defeat that has been inevitable ever since Bligh’s post-election announcement, in 2009, of a massive, and economically unjustified program, of asset sales. Despite the fact that most of them are going to lose their seats, and that the policies violates both election commitments and Labor policy, hardly a single member of the Labor Caucus has opposed this, or even dissented from the retribution dealt out to the ETU and others who did stand up.

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  1. Sam
    February 29th, 2012 at 20:09 | #1

    I don’t care about the Carr thing, but yeah, axing the solar hot water rebate like that is terrible.

  2. Abhoth the Unclean
    February 29th, 2012 at 20:45 | #2

    @Sam I despair! I really do. Sam if you cannot see the connection between axing programs and smoothing the paths of old mates then you, like them, are probably unable to organise a root in a brothel. This all stems from the belief that the country can be run by staring into a computer and that you can do anything you like so long as someone, somewhere, in a focus group says it’s ok or, what’s more likely, some consultant somewhere says it is ok.

  3. Sam
    February 29th, 2012 at 20:53 | #3

    @Abhoth the Unclean
    I’m sorry, but I still don’t understand. Can you explain, slowly for a dullard like me, what’s wrong with having Carr in federal politics? Is he worse than the current lot?

  4. Abhoth the Unclean
    February 29th, 2012 at 21:06 | #4

    @Sam Firstly no self deprecation (even pretended) please. Secondly Carr did more harm than most of the preceding Tories put together. How would you like to be reliant on public transport in Sydney? What long term policies with even a greenish tinge did he implement? All we have is a history of compliance with big business and his right wing mates. When he left, having come to the position to do good and done very well indeed, there was a procession of no-hoper’s who handed the job to the Libs . We see today they are even considering Kennealy who was even worse. Just to set things straight it is NOT the personality its the policy and the implementation.

  5. Sam
    February 29th, 2012 at 21:10 | #5

    I see. Is this opinion of Carr universally held among other commenters?

  6. Chris Warren
    February 29th, 2012 at 21:18 | #6

    The NSW ALP needs to appoint someone of the calibre of Doug Cameron and George Campbell. This is needed at this point in time to at least indicate an aspiration to return the Labor project to its real base – unions and to refocus politics on the broad mass of ‘workers without degrees’ in general.

    The shift of ALP base wrought since the 1980’s has destroyed the ALP as a distinguishable, active, progressive force in politics. Its just the playground of cartoon characters as far as I can see.

  7. February 29th, 2012 at 21:22 | #7

    @Abhoth the Unclean
    I’m pretty much reliant on Sydney’s public transport, and haven’t died yet. Carr preserved 120,000 ha of new national parks, and introduced the worlds first carbon trading scheme.

    I’m not a big fan of Carr, he presided over a lot of harm to this state. But if you really believe what you say, your a bit loony.

    However, the way you’ve jumped down Sam, you clearly aren’t here to engage seriously either.

  8. sjk
    February 29th, 2012 at 21:28 | #8

    1. Why are you so quick to believe the “stories” eminating from the Tory press about Gillard? Surely their track rcord warrents a certain degree of scepticism? Btw, do you think they would resist lying about Rudd – supposing he had won – as they went about trying to install Abbott as PM?

    2. Would a Rudd victory have changed the outcome in Queensland?

  9. February 29th, 2012 at 21:46 | #9

    I don’t care about “the Carr thing” either, and for much the same reasons as both of you!

    The solar hot water thing is one of those mystical “up yours” we get from time to time. It isn’t too hard to work out which ideologues/sectors would be behind that type of genius.

    I was recently reminded of a piece I researched and wrote back in 2007.

    It was after the announcement of the “$100million Brisbane Green Heart City Smart” thing.

    “According to ‘Origin’ energy’s website, you can get a solar hot water system fully installed for about $2,000. So you could also spend that $100,000,000 to buy 50,000 solar hot water systems fully-installed on Brisbane rooftops. That would save those households a combined total of about $15,000,000 every year in electricity bills and cut greenhouse emissions by about 150,000 tonnes every year! So your $100,000,000 would save 50,000 lucky homes $150,000,000 over ten years AND reduce emissions by 1.5 million tonnes. Why wouldn’t everyone embrace such practical investment? Unless of course you were in the business of selling coal-fired electricity…. oh, I see.”

  10. Sam
    February 29th, 2012 at 21:53 | #10

    That’s very interesting Megan. Could you provide a link to your article? Also, where do you get the figures for electricity saved per installed hot water system?

  11. rog
    February 29th, 2012 at 22:36 | #11

    “the Carr thing” is important in NSW, Carr was part of the problem not the solution. Gillard’s comments show lack of objectivity.

  12. March 1st, 2012 at 00:00 | #12


    The piece is at the very bottom of “December 2007” from the website.

    It doesn’t have links, but the electricity info came from the “Origin” site and, from memory, I may have got the GHG figures elsewhere.

    It was all ‘back-of-envelope’ and obviously a serious effort to do solar would involve vast improvements in the figures with scaling (those were retail figures but imagine if a government actually bought in bulk!).

  13. March 1st, 2012 at 00:06 | #13


    No argument with anyone’s views on the NSW ex-premier (I saw him having lunch with Michael Johnson – Lib. ‘Ryan’, a few years ago).

    When it’s ALL rotten, I don’t see any benefit in arguing ‘least worst’.

    Imagine how useless a debate this would be: “5 Recent NSW Premiers: Rank them in order of achievement”!

  14. rog
    March 1st, 2012 at 00:15 | #14

    Megan, I don’t have any particular gripe with Bob Carr, he is a reasonable person and progressive thinker and in general left NSW in a good state. It is just that there is the perception that he is part of the NSW right from which the instability emanates (supposedly).

  15. Steve
    March 1st, 2012 at 08:46 | #15

    Re solar hot water. There are some reasons to not be extremely concerned:

    1. SHW is still subsidised by RECs
    2. SHW isn’t that uneconomic – it shouldn’t need to be so heavily subsidised.
    3. a 5-star gas instantaneous hot water system is about the same emissions as an electric-boosted solar hot water system, and gas-boosted solar is quite expensive, so maybe 5-star gas is best bang for buck anyway (though solar-electric boosted + Green Power is probably pretty good)
    4. Calculations on the greenhouse savings of SHW presume fairly ideal conditions. I’m yet to see a thorough report of greenhouse savings of SHW in the field, with non-ideal orientations, less-than-clean panels, and less than optimum hot water usage patterns (use most of your hot water in the evening, and the electric boost might be chugging along all night)

    I think it is bad policy to abruptly end a subsidy program rather than tapering it down, to avoid pain for the industry, so that is a problem, and something the govt could have avoided doing. That is the main cause for concern I think. It won’t be the first subsidy program (whether green or otherwise) to be abruptly removed. Not offering that as an excuse, just an observation.

  16. Jill Rush
    March 1st, 2012 at 09:05 | #16

    I agree that the two matters are troubling. Not because Carr should or shouldn’t be considered but because it quickly became public and has been used to undermine Gillard. It is quite reasonable to consider a range of people and Carr is a candidate worthy of consideration.
    The solar hot water announcement should have been made as part of the budget announcements in May. It is certainly a bad look to end it in such a pre-emptive fashion. It appears that Federal Labor has learned nothing from last week and this will not help Queensland Labor in the election this month.

  17. alfred venison
    March 1st, 2012 at 09:21 | #17

    dear editor
    i’m inclined to see bob carr as part of the problematic paradigm that got us here & gillard going for him as more of the same. i’d go the likes of carmel tebbutt or nathan rees as senator for nsw. unless they’re too desperately needed in their own state party to be spared for the national forum.
    yours sincerely
    alfred vension

  18. Steve
    March 1st, 2012 at 09:26 | #18

    nathan rees instant disqualification due to the metro train idea.

  19. socrates
    March 1st, 2012 at 10:08 | #19

    Perhaps we could get Paul Howes into parliament by the Senate vacancy? It would be a great message to send that the right had agreed to compromise and were committed to getting the best and brightest into the Right places.

  20. Matt Hardin
    March 1st, 2012 at 10:45 | #20

    We had solar hot water in Brisbane and only had to run the booster 4-5 times a year for an hour or two (maximum) on very cold riany winter mornings to get enough hot (well, warm) water for a shower (admittedly that was during the drought). The cost savings from memory were not huge compared to off peak electric hot water but it did function very well with zero maintenance of the panels

  21. Matt Hardin
    March 1st, 2012 at 10:46 | #21

    For notification of follow ups (forgot to check box)

  22. may
    March 1st, 2012 at 13:45 | #22

    back to federal politics.

    Kevin Rudd as foreign minister?
    why is this impossible?
    i know, i know the prevailing veneer of personal feelings uber alles says “never-in-hell”

    then again personal feelings seem to be the weapon of choice in the continuing assault on the process of functioning govt.
    revving up outrage to drown out the reality of parliament,seemingly the only tactic of
    an opposition and media refusing to participate except as petulant sore losers does the constituency no favours.
    the leadership challenge was normal politics.
    a return by the previous foreign minister to the post would be a display of statesmanship to confound anything an opposing ideology could throw at it and display committment to the conviction that the position requires the best person available to fill it.
    and for my money Kevin Rudd should be foreign minister(i don’t want the job,i couldn’t do it anyway)
    so there you go.

    we all know you don’t have to like some one to work together,especially if you don’t have to see each other all that often.

  23. Mike
    March 1st, 2012 at 13:52 | #23

    Whatever Gillard’s weaknesses (not least the fact that many voters have simply stopped listening to her) Rudd would not have been a wise choice last Monday. As a minimum you need a leader who has the respect of the bulk of their colleagues. And Rudd is widely loathed – for good and bad reasons. (To know him is to hate him, as one member of the caucus put it.)

    The next step is to let Gillard have 6 months or so to see if the polls can be changed. If they can’t, then I suspect Bill Shorten will be Prime Minister by the end of the year.

    On privatisation, the lack of opposition reflects, in part, the ideological denuding of the ALP as part of the broader technocratic redefinition of politics and policy-making that has taken place since the 1980s. (As Mitterand once said, ‘after me there will be only accountants.’) The remains of the left within the party and the unions need to get their act together and start activley and loudly opposing such measures from the standpoint of offering a non-neoliberal model of Australia’s economic future (Australia Reconstructed part two?).

  24. Freelander
    March 1st, 2012 at 13:58 | #24

    Did the ALP ever stand for anything ?

    At least they didn’t go back to KRudd.

    Having a vote and a credible choice would be nice.

  25. Mike
    March 1st, 2012 at 14:49 | #25

    The ALP does stand for something: a liberal statist vision of national capitalist development rooted in a naturalistic conception of social harmony.

    As a socialist this is not a vision I share.

    The difference between the ALP and the Libs is not as great as many would like. They are both pro-capitalist and view capitalist society as essentially conducive to social harmony -given the right policy settings (more or less state intervention of varying forms).

    The vagueness of the ALP’s message on many issues reflects the imperatives of modern electioneering – the need to appeal to very diverse groups of voters to win elections in a context where most voters do not engage with the detail of policy.

  26. Alan
    March 1st, 2012 at 15:58 | #26

    And yet if Rudd had been elected I somehow doubt he would have managed to mess up the choice of foreign minister and NSW senator quite so spectacularly. No doubt we will hear soon that this own goal is somehow Rudd’s fault.


    The plain paper packaging legislation is good. But if your best case is legislation opposed only by the tobacco lobby and the IPA, and where Labor and the Coalition have pretty much the same record and goals, then you kind of prove my point.

  27. Sam
    March 1st, 2012 at 19:53 | #27

    I didn’t say this was the best or only case Alan. You asked for one example. I gave it to you.

  28. gerard
    March 1st, 2012 at 21:24 | #28

    nobody cares about the Carr thing. except every newspaper and television “news” establishment. ABC24 has 24 hours of material to fill on an inadequate budget. Journalism is sitting around watching a twitter feed. we need to watch talking heads on The Drum chuckle about the fact that the media isn’t covering policy in the few seconds that they aren’t speculating about the latest hot canberra goss. leadership scuffle over, they suffer immediate withdrawal symptoms, and like a junkie start snorting down the first trivial nonevent they can find.

  29. Freelander
    March 1st, 2012 at 22:39 | #29

    Labor is simply a coalition of nakedly self-interested amoral asperational a-holes who feign greater concern for “social justice” simply because that might gain them some votes. A familiar ruse of con-artist.s

  30. Freelander
    March 1st, 2012 at 22:46 | #30

    Lets have another vacuous apology, or another 2020 gabfest and chance for a photo op with Cate. And then cut something important to show fiscal responsibility.

  31. James Haughton
    March 2nd, 2012 at 08:53 | #31

    Amazingly, Wayne Swan has today spoken up loud and clear for labour values in The Monthly: The rising influence of vested interests is threatening Australia’s egalitarian social contract, to outrage from Palmer et al. Would it be too much to hope that this might lead to the government reinstating a strong policy on pokies, a non-distortionary resource rent tax, and just a few Henry and Gonski review recommendations? It would? Oh well, thanks for playing Wayne.

  32. Freelander
    March 2nd, 2012 at 09:10 | #32

    They just read what is written. Polling must suggest this is what we want to hear.

  33. SJ
    March 2nd, 2012 at 12:20 | #33

    The best way to demonstrate that federal Labor is under the control of a bunch of unpopular right-wing nutjobs would be to appoint Bob Carr. Which is what they’ve just done.

  34. Freelander
    March 2nd, 2012 at 13:01 | #34

    There were a few duds that backed Rudd. I wondered whether they backed Kevin they did so to claim their inevitable demotion was not for the long deserved reason?

  35. Ken_L
    March 2nd, 2012 at 13:08 | #35

    The ministry reshuffle demonstrates that Labor is in utter chaos. McClelland is now thinking about resigning from parliament, while Stephen Smith must be right royally pissed off. Presumably he is being punished for declining to put the boot into Rudd last week. What a vote of no confidence in the current bunch of MPs, that nobody is deemed capable of filling the role of Foreign Minister and they have to implore a retired state premier with zero relevant experience to fill the void. Oh wait, he does a great Abraham Lincoln impersonation so the yanks will love him … what other qualifications could he possibly need?

    And of course the whole Carr episode has featured more serial lying from all involved, demonstrating yet again that deceit and lies are all they know how to do. If the independents keep declaring confidence in this government they are demonstrating their own complete lack of either principle or judgement.

    As for Swan: when he proposes some serious tax reforms especially of capital gains and inheritance taxes, we will know his concerns about the super-rich are sincere. Until then, it’s all part of the endless performance art that constitutes the contemporary ALP’s conception of government.

  36. Troy Prideaux
    March 2nd, 2012 at 13:56 | #36

    We must keep Uncle Sam smiling.

  37. James Haughton
    March 2nd, 2012 at 14:49 | #37

    An apt reply to Wayne Swan by Paul Barry: Don’t Whinge about the billionaires, Mr Swan. Do something.

  38. Troy Prideaux
    March 2nd, 2012 at 15:01 | #38

    @James Haughton
    It can flap its wings and make lots of noises, but alas, a swan is little match for a rampaging rino.

  39. Chris Warren
    March 2nd, 2012 at 16:12 | #39

    @Troy Prideaux

    The obvious question is: where in the world do rino’s and swan co-exist?

  40. rog
    March 2nd, 2012 at 18:20 | #40

    Anyway, Gillard has neutered Rudd and thrown sand in the eyes of the opposition, as evidenced by the somewhat nasty comments by Abbott on the Carr appointment. So I don’t think the opposition ( ie the Abbott camp) are too happy.

  41. SJ
    March 2nd, 2012 at 19:07 | #41

    This is what Abbott said:

    “The NSW disease has come to Canberra,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney after Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced Mr Carr was joining the senate and taking the foreign affairs portfolio.

    “By importing to Canberra the original architect of the NSW disease she is proving that the spin, deception, the do-nothing mindset of NSW Labor is now rampant in Canberra and is now ruling the show.”

    “He was the one that gave us Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi and Mark Arbib and now he is the foreign minister in Canberra,” Mr Abbott said.

    People would tremble at the prospect of Mr Carr becoming the next Labor leader, he said.

    “The people of NSW, particularly the people of western Sydney would tremble at the prospect of Bob doing to our country what he did to our state.

    “He was a do-nothing premier for a decade and the last thing we need now in Australia is a do-nothing prime minister or worse a do-damage prime minister.”

    Mr Abbott said despite having 103 members in the Labor caucus, Ms Gillard had to bring in an outsider to fill the role of foreign minister.

    “Julia Gillard asked herself, who of all my colleagues is fit to be foreign minister, and she said none,” he said.

    “It’s no wonder that Simon Crean is furious, that Stephen Smith is furious, and every single one of her colleagues is furious that none of them were good enough to be the foreign minister of Australia.”

    Mr Abbott said Ms Gillard had lied to the Australian people again.

    “This prime minister said time and time again that the reports that she had offered the foreign ministry to Bob Carr were completely untrue,” he said.

    “She said it on three separate occasions in the space of 30 seconds.

    “Kevin Rudd couldn’t trust her, Andrew Wilkie couldn’t trust her, the Australian people can’t trust her.”

    Sure, it might be a bit nasty, but it’s pretty much all true.

  42. Alan
    March 2nd, 2012 at 19:15 | #42

    The crazy thing about it is that this (despite what we might think of Carr) would have been a win if Gillard had managed not to give misleading answers about it. She didn’t need to give those answers. She could have got away with a no comment.

    I don’t think Carr was a great premier by any means but I suspect he is lot more popular in NSW than Abbot would like to think.

  43. John Quiggin
    March 2nd, 2012 at 21:19 | #43

    Just pointing out that plain packaging for cigarettes was a Rudd initiative.


    I continue to await evidence that Gillard has produced any policy initiative that has not subsequently been scrapped.

  44. Fran Barlow
    March 2nd, 2012 at 22:02 | #44

    I think Carr is a horrible choice — but on the positive side, she has left the Murdochracy and Abbott with egg on their faces after they’ve accused her of lying. Now it’s clear that they were in cahoots, simply making stuff up to suit their meme.

    Given that I regard Gillard as a repulsive conservative and her cabinet as a group of almost completely unremarkable hacks, adding Carr makes little difference. OTOH, giving the finger to the media is something from which I can draw some modest amusement. I’d like to think she’d baited them to go her on these grounds by getting one of her team to “leak” what some patsy thought was something juicy. Doubtful, but a nice thought.

  45. sjk
    March 2nd, 2012 at 22:08 | #45

    John, hopefully is episode will demonstrate the folly of believing anything written in the Australian.

    I mean, didn’t you find it just a little too convenient that the Australian managed to land a story that played exactly to the negative stereotypes of Gillard the day after she thumped Rudd? What are the odds?

    They went looking for this story and when they couldn’t find anything, they made it up. They would have done the same to Rudd.

    Their goal is to install Abbott. I don’t see why we should be helping them.

  46. Alan
    March 2nd, 2012 at 22:09 | #46


    I am afraid I read it quite differently. A lot of the things Gillard has done since last Monday’s caucus strike me as ‘because I can’. Sacking McLelland is a folly that could actually destroy her government and certainly destroys any prospect of unifying the party. We’ll know if we see even more silliness masquerading as clever politics over the next few weeks.

  47. March 3rd, 2012 at 00:58 | #47

    Another very interesting test of this government’s interest in actually improving things will be whether they agree to set up the “News Media Council” as recommended by the media inquiry:

    (pdf) http://www.dbcde.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/146994/Report-of-the-Independent-Inquiry-into-the-Media-and-Media-Regulation-web.pdf

    We need something to put a brake on the Murdochracy, and something like this is long overdue and deserved.

    If lax ownership laws and ‘self-regulation’ worked, we wouldn’t have the crappy ‘news media’ we now have.

  48. John Quiggin
    March 3rd, 2012 at 05:35 | #48

    “John, hopefully is episode will demonstrate the folly of believing anything written in the Australian.”

    Say, what? Regrettably, it’s now clear that the original report that Gillard had approached Carr was true and that her emphatic denial rested on weasel words about whether the approach included a formal offer.

    She’s managed to pull a sort-of win out of this, but her credibility has declined even further. And if McClelland quits, the whole show could go.

  49. Fran Barlow
    March 3rd, 2012 at 08:16 | #49

    Surely John, the only important parts of the story were whether she had made an offer at the time and whether she had been rolled by “faceless” men. All the rest was mere filler.

  50. Chris Warren
    March 3rd, 2012 at 08:50 | #50

    Yes, the media seem to be looking for stories to bag Gillard.

    It is not up to the media to know who or what offers were made, whine as much as they like.

    Carr is a very suitable replacement for Arbib.

    He may take over the reins, if Labor looses the next Federal election.

  51. Alan
    March 3rd, 2012 at 09:53 | #51

    It is up to the media to investigate and report. Gillard was asked a question and gave an answer that is true only if you really, really like parsing. The crazy thing is she could legitimately have refused to answer.

    I agree Carr will make a good foreign minster, even with his record as premier, I am uncertain that it is necessarily after the election that he find himself leader.

  52. March 3rd, 2012 at 14:17 | #52

    Appointing Bob Carr to be a senator and be the FM, shows that the will of the members of the ALP and the Caucus have become seemingly irrelevant. This may be a Constitutional process, but it is not a democratic one. Still, I suppose if I had to chose between Bob Carr and Mark Arbib, I would probably go for Bob Carr. It was very noble of Bob Carr to give up his sojourn in private finance to return to the travails of public service. He seems to have won the approval of the media, and I suppose that is all that matters.

  53. rog
    March 3rd, 2012 at 16:21 | #53

    Arthur Sinodinos was also shoehorned into the Senate – no doubt waiting for a moment of weakness to present an opportunity.

  54. Alan
    March 3rd, 2012 at 17:01 | #54


    There are no proportional representation chambers except the Irish Dail that have direct by-elections. This is because you are giving some of the electorate, those whose senators remain in place, an extra vote electing the new senator. To say that is an undemocratic process is to argue against proportional representation itself. The way the ALP picks senate candidates is a different story like most of the ALP’s deeply undemocratic structure.

  55. sjk
    March 3rd, 2012 at 19:23 | #55

    Headline from the original report: “Mutiny kills PM’s Bob Carr plan”. This is 100% false, no wriggle room allowed. The Australian, in an attempt to make news – not report it – lied to us. Hence the folly in ever believing what that rag writes, especially when it so neatly lines up with existing predudices.

    Gillard’s denial: what is more likely, that in the middle of delicate negotiations that would have included at least 4 possible FM candidates Gillard sounds out the candidates but makes no offers until friday or, Gillard offers the role to Carr, takes it back after a hiding from Smith, then decides to offer it Carr again?

    The latter seems unlikely, given Gillard’s obvious negotiation skills. The former is basically what she said happened. In the absence of counter evidence, I believe her. YMMV.

    McClelland: no bearing on my original point, but I am inclined to agree with you: unnecessary.

  56. March 3rd, 2012 at 19:59 | #56


    Bob Carr’s appointment to the States House, as an ex-premier, is an obvious improvement on his elected predecessor and some other colleagues. One notices that the ALP members play little role in either proposing or deposing their party representatives. These matters are driven by political pragmatism, the same principle that led to adoption of PR for Senate elections.

  57. Alan
    March 3rd, 2012 at 20:10 | #57


    Pr was indeed adopted for pragmatic reasons but it transformed the senate, which had been a joke where one party sometimes held every seat under the block preferential system, into an actual legislative body.

  58. Freelander
    March 3rd, 2012 at 21:21 | #58

    With Bob Carr as foreign minister Julian Assange doesn’t stand a chance of fair treatment from the Australian government. Not that he ever has, anyway.

  59. Freelander
    March 4th, 2012 at 12:02 | #59


    Since when have ‘facts’ been necessary for an investigative ‘report’ in the Murdoch stable. Truth bolted a long time ago.

  60. March 5th, 2012 at 20:52 | #60

    Pr Q @ #43 said:

    I continue to await evidence that Gillard has produced any policy initiative that has not subsequently been scrapped.

    Reluctantly I have to concede that Pr Q was right about Gillard’s policy-free zone. But thats beceuse Rudd was a ministerial-free zone.

    Gillard has not initiated and then implemented any major policies in her first term. She has made promising noises about:

    federalising hospital service delivery

    means testing state aid to private schools

    introducing a universal dentalcare scheme

    implementing a national disability scheme

    Unfortunately none of these policy ideas have gone through the formality of actually being passed into law, getting funding, still less actually delivering services.

    Rudd and Gillard would together make one good politician: Rudd the policy ideas man and Gillard the ministerial administratrix. Indeed IIRC the original spin on their leadership was to sell them as a two-person ministerial duo. Maybe they should have stuck with that.

    Gillard is essentially Rudd’s competent alter-ego. The problem with Rudd was that he delivered on his bad policies (“Big Australia”, ending the “Pacific Solution”) but squibbed on his good policies (CPRS and MRRT). Gillard’s main policy focus has been shelving Rudd’s bad policies and implementing Rudd’s good policies.

    But all Gillard’s policy work, which is, admittedly concerned with concluding the ALP’s first term agenda, has been operating under two massive constraints:

    fiscal constraint: keep the budget in surplus.

    political constraint: save ALP marginal seats in Sydney

    These two constraints have amplified her policy conservatism. Frankly I am happy that she has not tried to bite off more than the ALP can chew. It is still fighting gamely to get the CPRS and MRRT bedded down, that may all come to naught if Abbott gets in.

    More generally Gillard’s policy conservatism reflects the broad reform fatigue that still ails the AUS populus. Currently they can stomach about one big reform a decade and then coast for the next ten years off the next boom in property, minerals or what have you.

    Its a living.

  61. Alan
    March 6th, 2012 at 01:10 | #61

    It would be unkind to point out that federalising hospital service delivery, introducing a universal dental care scheme, and the NDIS were all Rudd ideas. However Gillard is not entirely a policy free zone. There was, for instance, Medicare Gold.

  62. March 6th, 2012 at 04:06 | #62

    Alan @ #11 said:

    Gillard is not entirely a policy free zone. There was, for instance, Medicare Gold.

    If the GREENs assylum-seeker policy had not been the perfect embodiment Idiot Leftism they would have done the right thing and supported Gillard’s Malaysian Solution, a humane version of the Pacific Solution. But they didn’t.

    So Gillard’s best example of policy initiative has now settled, along with numberless boat people, at the bottom of Davy Jones locker.

  63. Alan
    March 6th, 2012 at 04:34 | #63

    I am not entirely sure that a charge of Idiot Leftism is quite enough to dismiss the human rights issues in Malaysia or the simple fact that the ‘solution’ may work for a couple of months, but when the 800 Malaysia slots are filled the effectiveness of the policy is at an end.

    I am happy enough to called an Idiot Leftist, although I do look forward to actually seeing an argument that goes beyond name-calling. I would hope we are not going to hear an argument that authoritarianism, religious discrimination, locking up opposition leaders, rigging elections, sodomy prosecutions and caning are humane.

  64. Fran Barlow
    March 6th, 2012 at 05:55 | #64

    And again, there would have been zero support in The Greens for trading in in a human cargo of vulnerable people in order to pander to reactionaries here, at the urging of the Sussex St triangulators.

    That would have been wrong all over the place.

  65. Dan
    March 6th, 2012 at 06:20 | #65

    Hey Jack, remember that Crikey article I posted demonstrating the absence of a link between asylum seeker policy and asylum seeker boats?

    You’re just being truthy.

  66. Alan
    March 6th, 2012 at 07:03 | #66

    I had meant to provide a link to the human rights situation in Malaysia.

  67. paul walter
    March 6th, 2012 at 12:01 | #67

    I can’t forgive fascist or rightist ideological nut bags from the Tories or the Labor right on privatisation, but if Anna Bligh, who knew better and understood the outright treachary involved in the breaking of the explicit, core, “no privatisation” promise- further damaging already damaged trust in government, FB – is chucked and even ends up somehow injured, I’ll just yawn, probably in satisfaction.
    I have no time for Judases, particularly when they perpetrate on the scale perpetrated here.

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