Magic acts and Latham spats

Tomorrow marks one week since Tony Abbott and his posse of chromosome Y-toting ministers were sworn in by our ever-so-stylish Governor General. In that week, it would appear that the Coalition government has spent its six years in opposition practicing various acts of magic to a level of proficiency that would make Hermione Granger proud.

So far, Scott Morrison has succeeded in making boats disappear and reappear at the drop of a hat. Malcolm Turnbull has managed to disappear his NBN board, but is yet to make it reappear (back to magic school with you, Malcolm). Tony Abbott himself has banished an entire commission and successfully released a number of senior Canberra bureaucrats back into the wild. Impressive.

They HAVE had some help though, in the form of constant leadership debate on the opposite side of the chamber. It has been this more than anything else that has allowed Abbott to get away with minimal media engagement.

Today has seen another handy diversion in the form of one of my favourite rogue loudmouths.

If there was one man within Labor’s own camp that was going to break the unspoken post-election rule of UNITY AT ALL COSTS (said with gritted teeth and clenched fists) it was going to be Mark Latham.

At the very least, he was the only man capable of beating Kevin Rudd to the punch.

Latham has penned a florid smack down published in today’s Australian Financial Review that has essentially labelled Anthony Albanese as a backward-thinking political Neanderthal who has got every major call over the last decade wrong. Ouch.

“In effect, Albanese’s political instincts are terrible. If he wins next month’s leadership ballot, he will be a case study in inner-city, left-wing bunkum … The caucus and party membership have no choice but to vote ABA: Anyone But Albo.”

For the full rant, read the article here: http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/albanese_threatens_labor_reform_JkHeipvxG2cRwCwzDD1GDJ

In fact, Labor’s hopes of a newly united party may be falling apart before they have even been fully realised.

Julia Gillard, whose popularity seems to be in direct inverse proportion to her power, has announced that she is writing her political memoirs. They will be published in October 2014; however I’d be very surprised if large portions were not released ahead of this time in weekend newspaper lift outs and so on. The publishers will not want us to forget about the last six years of tumult before then, that’s for sure.

This does not bode well for any those people who were involved in either of Labor’s most recent Prime Ministerial beheadings. And if the last three years are any indication, Kevin Rudd will probably remain stubbornly in Parliament until that time just to make matters even more interesting.

It may be that current caretaker Chris Bowen will find himself as the leader who presided over the most stable period the Labor Party has had and will have for years to come.

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Hell hath no fury like a former Labor leader

Welcome back, Julia Gillard.

For those among us who love nothing more than to see a retaliatory slap from a scorned former politician, the news today that Julia Gillard has publicly criticised the new process for electing a Labor leader, post-election loss, as “a clumsy attempt” for bad leaders to hold onto power is very welcome.

You have to hand it to the former Prime Minister; her conduct during the recent federal election campaign was impeccable. The poor woman must have spent practically the entire five weeks indoors to avoid being questioned. A prospect made a little less unappealing given her most recent purchase.

Old house.

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New house.

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Gillard has been a woman of her word. She lost the ballot to Kevin Rudd and therefore packed her bags and left Canberra, never to return. She gave him clear air during the campaign, resisting all temptation to return the favour of leaking against him as he undoubtedly did to her in 2010. A task made easier by the fact that on some occasions throughout the five weeks, Rudd appeared to be leaking against himself.

Now that Rudd has lost the losable election and announced that he will not contest the leadership, more power to her (and any other former MPs who wish to stick the boot in). A call up that will undoubtedly be unable to be ignored by none other than the king of ‘I told you so’ on the topic of Kevin Rudd, Mr Mark Latham.

Latham is clearly unhinged and his criticism of Kevin Rudd as a “lunatic” who is “addicted to media attention” does tend to bring to mind pots and kettles. To his credit, however, he does stand by even his most outrageous assertions. Just ask him:

“In the months ahead, I plan to write extensively about the cultural decay of Australia’s oldest political party. Unlike Rudd, if I have criticisms to make, I put my name to them – a vital point of honour. I do not believe in off-the-record mischief and attacking people from behind.

This column, like every one of my columns in The Australian Financial Review for the past six years, has my name on it. It does not seek the snivelling anonymity of a Laurie Oakes leak.”

Excellent.