I hope readers will indulge me in a minor gloat regarding the defeat of Michael Lee, the Labor candidate for Lord Mayor of Sydney, despite rule changes designed by his mates in Sussex Street to guarantee his success. Fortunately, the voters didn’t feel like being dictated to and went for Independent Clover Moore instead.
Lee wasn’t the worst Communications Minister in Australian history (no prizes for guessing who was), but he certainty didn’t cover himself with glory in this or any of the other ministerial positions he held. I crossed swords with him in the early 1990s over his claim that it was a good thing for Australian to have two (incomplete, but almost exactly duplicate) optical fibre cable networks, rather than one network with proper coverage – perhaps the high point of microeconomic reform-related stupidity in Australia. As far as I can tell his only qualification for public life is that he looks good in a suit, but that seems to be enough to ensure that his patrons keep on promoting him.
fn1. NSW Labor state headquarters and base of the rightwing machine ( the terms ‘right’ and ‘left’ have little ideological significance in the ALP these days, so the word to focus on here is ‘machine’).