All in the family

If you need to know why New South Wales is in urgent need of a change of government, and why the ALP there is in urgent need of intervention, go no further than this SMH story about how a change of policy to support prison privatisation was pushed through a party committee.

A victory for the Government was assured. The committee chairman is Richard Tripodi, the brother of the Minister for Finance, Joe Tripodi, and husband of the Drummoyne MP Angela D’Amore.

Another committee member is Anna Collins, the wife of Mr Robertson’s chief of staff, Chris Minns, while another member is Mark Hay, the son of the Wollongong MP Noreen Hay.

A member of the party’s powerful administrative committee told the Herald that “a fix [was] in” to prevent embarrassment to the Government and to advance Mr Robertson’s status as a future leader.

“It’s a complete stitch-up, sending it to a dodgy committee run by a minister’s brother, an MP’s son and a key apparatchik’s wife,” the member said.

This kind of nepotism is rife in Australian politics, but in the NSW Labor Party it’s beyond a joke, on both (all) sides of the factional fence. People like Belinda Neal and Martin Ferguson would never have made it into Parliament on their own merits, and would probably have been on the other side if not for their family ties, but Neal made it to the shadow ministry back in the 1990s, and Ferguson is now a senior minister.

22 thoughts on “All in the family

  1. This inicident is wretched. You have people like John Robertson parading himself for years as friend to workers, bringing on the anti privatisation movement that unseated Iemma and now…now…??? Lobotomized by his chummy grafting mates and cohorts in State Labor, in the interest of his own crummy two bit political career, sells out his own fatuous and facile image to the zombie privatisation model of the discredited State Government, doing a 360 on prison privatisation.

    Welcome to “the club” John.

    I suffered nausea reading this bit of news today (in fact every time I read about the rotten State government I get nauseous). Ruined my weetbix.

  2. John, the sticking point for people who think like us but have the misfortune to live in NSw is: what kind of change of government? The options seem to boil down to:

    (a) defecting in their millions to the Greens (probably the best option in theory but regrettably not likely);

    (b) responding to the Labor Party’s Chicken game strategy of being as inept, authoritarian and reactionary as possible on the smug assumption that “the lefties/greenies/etc have nowhere else to go” by going to the actually existing somewhere else of a very right-wing Coalition (which would require a combination of tough-mindedness about what four years of such government would be like and optimism about NSW Labor’s (or failing that, Federal Labor’s) capacity to learn quickly and reinvent itself);

    (c) forming a one-off Popular Front of Greens, the remaining Democrats, decent and disillusioned Labor people, disaffected moderate Liberals, democratic independents of the Peter Wellington variety, and others who care about accountable and honest government on a shared platform of institutional reform to restore accountable and honest government and hurting Labor badly enough to either knock sense into NSW Labor or frighten the Federal party into intervening.

    Another question is whether Kevin Rudd feels himself in a strong enough position to handle the greatly increased number of enemies he will have if he emulates Bill Hayden in 1978-82 and initiates Federal intervention.

  3. Also – see this link. At a time when unemployment is rising to 9% this party wants to sack thousands so they can save their budget money. The economy will lose more than the 63 million they save by throwing those people on the street. Myopic decision right now in a recession heading to a depression. As for that Roberston…(nausea). The membership of NSW Labor needs to resign and leave these ministers on an island. It was clearly against party policy.

  4. Alice @ 4, we saw similar behaviour from state govts during the last recession. Turf a heap of people off the State payroll, and they become a Federal welfare problem, and the State govt looks like a bunch of economic geniuses.

  5. “regrettably not likely”

    Why not vote for the Greens? Why does there seem to be a built in assumption that ‘we’ can’t vote green?

    It is interesting that despite being deliberately side-lined/dismissed by the media they keep building their margins.

  6. Paul, while your third option is attractive, I’d say it is unlikely (as you probably accept). However, a milder version may be achievable.

    Labor and the Greens between them have 11 MPs in the upper house not up for re-election. If these parties and progressive forces can win 10 they’ll have the power to block, which should significantly reduce the damage the Libs can do (a lot of Labor’s worst policies have got through on the votes of Fred Nile and the shooters party).

    I expect Labor will get six seats this time in the inevitable wipe-out. So the Greens and progressive minor parties need to get 4 between them. That seems a realistic goal for a progressive front – most likely 3 Greens, one other. Combined with several lower house Greens this would make 4 years of right-wing Liberals more bearable and increase the chances of a progressive balance of power in the Lower House in 2015.

  7. Megan #6, as a matter pf personal conviction I would certainly be voting Greens if I were residing in NSW in 2011. However as a matter of professional judgment as an academic in politics and public policy I think that, whilst the Green vote will undoubtedly increase at the next NSW State election, it won’t be a big enough increase to make the Greens a party of government – certainly not on their own.

  8. Just vote for the Liberal Democrats. We should be quite comfortably registered for elections in NSW by that time. 😉

  9. Martin Ferguson is but a pale shadow of R.F.X. Connor his predecessor in the Whitlam years. The two are diametrically opposed on Australia’s resources though both are out of NSW. Ferguson wants or is indifferent to selling it all cheap but Connor was a nationalist who drove a hard bargain. Then again the Khemlani affair may not have eventuated under Ferguson.

  10. I feel sorry for NSW voters – its either a corrupt government or an incompetent opposition. It reminds me a lot of Joh-era Queensland.

  11. David#5
    You are so right – its just cost shifting to the Commonwealth but the ministerial midset of State Labor are far from intelligent. (They are a scrapheap of nasty irresponsible boguns!!!!)

  12. The next government of NSW will almost certainly be the Lib-Nats and(despite their weaknesses) they will be much better than the current lot and any of the alternatives mentioned. They might even be very good.

  13. Pr Q says:

    If you need to know why New South Wales is in urgent need of a change of government, and why the ALP there is in urgent need of intervention, go no further than this SMH story about how a change of policy to support prison privatisation was pushed through a party committee.

    THe NSW ALP is heading towards being nothing but a vehicle for facilitating the transfer of wealth from:

    – public sector to the private sector
    – citizens to non-citizens.

    Perhaps this is a good thing or perhaps not. But it is certainly a bizarre thing for a party that puports to represent the interests of AUS workers.

  14. Jack@14. It is strange isn’t it.

    Ken is right, there is a need for a new force. After all the Democrats kept the bastards honest until they became the bastards. One benefit of voting for the Greens or a strong local independent, is that it stops the money all flowing to the two major parties that are getting so much now or potentially if they win government. A vote is worth around $2. A preference can be then given to one of the other parties – likely to win the election, but nonetheless told by the electorate that all is not well. A number of upper house seats bein held by minor parties and Independents can limit power and introduce measures which reflect the desires of the community rather than big business.

  15. “People like Belinda Neal and Martin Ferguson would never have made it into Parliament on their own merits, and would probably have been on the other side if not for their family ties” (my bold)

    Glad to hear they are not solid Labor types but probably riff-raff from the other side.

    I am sure that Jacqui Smith is not ‘real Labor’ either.

    Nor for that matter – in all likelihood – were Neville Hilton, Bob Collins, Keith Wright, Bill Darcy or Milton Orkopoulos. They were all almost certainly closet Liberals.

  16. Harry, idiot/criminal/pedophile is as idiot/criminal/pedophile does.

    If you’re trying to claim that your side of politics is free of the problem, you’re out of luck.

  17. It’s not impossible to start a new party or revive an old one and get somewhere (on either side of politics). The British Columbia Liberal Party comes to mind as does the Social Democrat Party in the UK.

  18. 17# hc says
    “Nor for that matter – in all likelihood – were Neville Hilton, Bob Collins, Keith Wright, Bill Darcy or Milton Orkopoulos. They were all almost certainly closet Liberals.”

    Who would know these days? The libs always did have more money. It wouldnt surprise me at all if they did try and plant a few in the ALP. Im convinced Costa and Roozendal are a tad suspicious…with the market mumbo jumbo …and Roozendal announces a sell off of (yet more) lucrative assets like the lottery.

    Hello????? Anyone home in there in NSW Labor? No? I thought so. We dont have money to fix the roads or the transport or the budget? The lottery (DOH) makes the stuff you need to fix State Labor’s disasters with?. But oh no..its $4 sale.

    And look who is paying Costa to bore us still?

  19. Paul Norton, Megan,

    There’s no reason why the Greens shoold not get a very high vote at the next election.

    All they need do is occupy some of the social-democratic government interventionist political ground that hqs long since been abandoned by the Labor Party and they shod do very well.

    The shouldn’t just limit it to fighting defensively against privatisations, however. Why not, for example adopt (at the state level) the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) program which, for $9 billion per annum, fully costed, will provide full employment in meaningful useful occupations right across the country?

    If they had that policy and also have a policy to establish a state bank along the lines of that in North Dakota, then why wouldn’t any right-thinking Labor supporter, who supports true Labor principles, vote for them?

    Anyway, below is a notice about what New South Welshpersons, whether Green, Labor, Independent, or even Liberal or National can do in the meantime if they want to fight against this new planned heist of public assets:

    Stop the Sell Off and Cell Off Public Meeting

    WHO: Greens NSW MP John Kaye Organised by: Power to the People

    WHAT: Public Meeting

    WHEN: 2pm, Saturday April 18

    WHERE: Tom Mann Theatre, 136 Chalmers St, Surry Hills

    A public meeting will be held on Saturday to discuss Premier Nathan Rees’ expanding privatisation agenda for NSW. The government’s privatisation plans for NSW prisons, ferries, electricity and the sale of other public assets are on the agenda for the meeting.

    Greens NSW MP John Kaye who is one of five speakers who will address the meeting said, “The people of NSW have already spoken about electricity privatisation. They want their utilities to remain in public ownership.

    “There is very little difference between what Michael Costa was proposing in 2008 and Joe Tripodi’s plan today.

    “Both will result in the private sector controlling the generators and retailers and deciding the working conditions for employees of the electricity industry,” Dr Kaye said.

    For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

    Event Organiser: Colin Drane 0419 698396

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