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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kim Beazley - a political obituary.

At the ripe old age of whatever I am, now, I can vividly remember participating in the 1972 Election which saw Gough Whitlam sweep into power. Indeed it was "Time"!

I remember a chap called Kim Beazley, Minister for Education in the Whitlam Government. He was swathed in an aura of decency. He was something of a committed Christian, which seemed slightly odd, even back then. But decent? There was never any doubt he was decent, respectable and a "True Believer" - in the Labor Party ethos.

Time passed by, and young Kim turned up in Parliament, and I was prepared to welcome him.

But I remember the "M.V. Tampa" affair. A boat load of 433 refugees, having been rescued by a Norwegian vessel, at sea, were then turned away by the Australian Government (29/8/2001). Kim Beazley Jnr capitulated to the pressure of the Government - frightened of being seen as "soft on border security". Dear me!

Kim went on to lose that election - not just a personal loss, but a loss for the Labor Party.
Why? He had compromised his social values, and disgusted the last of the Labor Party's "true believers". There have been many other things along the way, smaller ones, which I do not remember.

But this week, there has been another ground-breaking capitulation. Kim Beazley has announced this week that he will overturn the "3 mines policy". Oh good, I thought. No more Uranium mining - he's going to close them down. How wrong I was!


He has announced that he will allow (if he ever gets into office - which I now sincerely doubt) open slather on uranium mining in Australia. No artificial limits which the Labor Government (under Bob Hawke) had accepted, under a kind of "grandfather clause", whereby exisiting mines would be allowed, but no new ones. There is no logic to that position, but it is at least understandable - a typical Hawke compromise.

But, now all bets are off. The Uranium mining companies have all received a kick in their share prices. The gloves are off, boys - go for it. All down to Kim Beazley having opened his stupid mouth.

This at a stage when we are all being told that there is something of a problem
with international security. The Isrealis, (supposedly a nuclear power) are blowing up their near neighbours. The Americans have been blowing up their distant neighbours in Iraq. Pakistan and India, (both with nuclear capability) are still rattling sabres at each other. The last vestiges of the old Soviet establishment are said to be slowly pilfering off the remains of their nuclear facilities, and selling them on the black market.

Yet everyone is supposed to be worried that North Korea and Iran are developing nuclear weapons - to threaten the world! I do feel threatened - but by the rightwing nutters in Washington, and in Jerusalem - not by North Korea and Iran.

But do I want Australia to add to the mess? Certainly not.

The companies which will mine the Uranium are large multinationals and, in general I do not trust them. And I do not believe that selling lots more Uranium is a good thing, either for the global environment, or for international security.

And I refuse to vote for a pathetic politician who no longer believes in anything.
That's you, Kim Beazley.

You are drowning at sea, as certainly as those people were, who the Captain of the Tampa rescued - and who you rejected from Australia, by supporting Howard.

Where's the Tampa now, Kim?


*****

And to any other remaining Labor Party "True Believers" out there - Ben Chifley's "Light on the Hill" has just gone out!

"We have a great objective - the light on the hill - which we aim to reach by working for the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand. If it were not for that, the Labour movement would not be worth fighting for."
J.B. (Ben) Chifley 12 June 1949

What has the Labor Party come to?

*****
I accept responsibility for any political comment in this blog. Denis Wilson

7 comments:

Miss Eagle said...

'Onya, Denis. Well, I'm the rusted on Labor person who now votes Green. I don't think I am a capital G Green nor do I think I could be so wholeheartedly in favour of all of Green policy to ever become a member of the Greens. After decades in the ALP, I am no longer. So many of my friends are like me - but I don't hear of anyone in the ALP ackowledging that people like me exist. No one is trying to win or woo us back. The uranium decision will almost certainly move us further away. I have been in love with Beazley, Snr for over three decades. A man of great spirituality and integrity. I transferred this great affection to his son. But no more. The capitulation on boat people got me. But I have come to the conclusion that Kim Beazley is lazy. And I think back to the early days of the Howard Govt when all that had been gained in Mabo and the native title decision was under threat from Howard and his henchmen. What did Beazley do? He abdicated any responsibility for this vital national issue and handed over the running of policy on this matter to Daryl Melham. And I am no admirer of his. (Don't want to say more or your responsibility for political comment on this blog might get costly, Denis!) I used to to take umbrage when Howard et al accused Beazley of having no ticker. I now think they may have a point. But do you notice that Howard et al seldom raise the ticker issue any more. Why, do you think? Miss Eagle thinks this is because Beazley has the support of the U.S. defence establishment. Latham scared the living daylights out of the Yanks and it was with great relief for them that Beazley took the leadership once more. So the Howard mob are in the situation where their enemy is the friend of their friend - so they are careful with ad hominem remarks such as the ticker issue! Now if only voting in Federal elections permitted optional preferential voting as Queensland does!

Colin said...

Now if only voting in Federal elections permitted optional preferential voting as Queensland does!
If only we weren't forced to vote we could show what we think of them all - turnout would be very telling!

It looks as though Howard is going to hang on until he's carried out, and unless there's a viable opposition with a leader and policies we've got him for a long, long time.

Jolly Uncle Kim isn't the man...where do we look?

Denis Wilson said...

Well, Miss Eagle and Colin both raise the issue of optional preferential voting (or in Colin's case, option non-voting).

Its a mere detail, as far as I am concerned, if there's nobody worth voting for.

I confess to having willed the Latham experiment to succeed. It didn't.
Only a figure like Hawkie, a lovable rogue, a larrakin, will attract back the marginal supporters.

Peter Beattie fits the bill, but is too smart to make the move. He has the touch of a Caesar, preferring to be mayor of a small town than to play 2nd fiddle in Rome.

Kevin Rudd is nice, but was trained as a diplomat, so is inherently "safe", and never will be a risk taker - in any aspect. A good back-room boy, but not a leader.
Julia Gillard? I just don't know... There is something about her, which I cannot fathom. Perhaps too long working in a male dominated world has made her too calculating - for fear of allowing the boys to jump all over her least mistake.
Jenny Macklin - a calculating so-and-so. She came to launch a friend's election campaign, in Canberra, spoke with my friend for 10 minutes, and stole all her speaking notes, leaving JM looking good, and my friend with nothing left to say. Thanks JM! Feminist solidarity didn't last long, that day. But JM looked good. We can do without that kind of "leadership".

Maybe Colin and Miss Eagle ought run. I will organise the sausage sizzles for your campaigns.

We could also do a big boiler of cocktail frankfurts, and sell them as "Little Johnnie" hotdogs ("Cheerios" - for the Queenslander in Miss Eagle).

Cheers

Denis

Miss Eagle said...

Miss Eagle can't agree with Colin on the option of not voting. It is always a favourite with the conservatives - because they know that on a rainy day their lot are more disciplined and will turn up. The other constituency isn't so keen. In the US, non-compulsory voting leads to things like people being paid to vote. Not to mention the fact that in modern times most US Presidents have not received the votes of the majority of Americans. Because the number of people voting swings between approx 40% to approx 60% which means the majority is always less than half of those who could vote.

And your discussion of possible leaders:

Peter the Populist: that won't happen. Miss Eagle doesn't believe Peter would ever take the plunge. She recalls his lack of bravery in lining up a seat before he eventually got into Parliament. These days there is the baggage: the Bjelke-Petersen stuff, the Dr Death stuff, and there are times when he is more word than substance. And Miss Eagle has seen how he has handled the Cameron Doomadgee death in custody on Palm Island and the subsequent fall-out and knows he would never manage on the more demanding national stage.
Kevin Rudd: the choir boy in Miss Eagle's eyes. He has never really left the Dept of Foreign Affairs - although a Mandarin speaking PM would be handy. Miss Eagle has a long memory and and remembers the young fellas with white short sleeved shirts who were the coterie around Wayne Goss (and this includes Wayne Swann). The Goss lot were shocked when they lost. The Treasurer said "there's a message in there somewhere but we don't know what it is." Well the message was clear as crystal and had been for some considerable time. Goss was arrogant, he had always been a loner, and he isolated himself from the electorate. Those around him like Rudd if they had had any knowledge, instinct or nous could have advised accordingly. Miss Eagle knows of no indicators that they did. Now maybe Rudd has learned something - and he sure is hungry for the job - since then but Miss Eagle would not want to hand him the Prime Ministership with that background and not knowing whether his performance could be different in leading the nation.
Swannee (Wayne Swann): Miss Eagle would be well pleased if Swannee got the job but thinks it unlikely. While Miss Eagle believes that he, like Rudd, is tarred with Goss connections, Swann has runs on the board. He took over the ALP Sec's position from Beattie. He bore a large slice of responsibility for getting Labor into govt in Qld. As well, as Miss Eagle said, she has a long memory. Swannee once did Miss Eagle a favour that was very much appreciated and she has never, ever forgotten. Now, perhaps some would not regard that favour as a big deal but no matter. That's how Miss Eagle is. So while Miss Eagle has seen Swannee in there leading the self-interested charge for the Qld crew she is prepared to give credence to Wayne Swann.
Julia Gillard - Miss Eagle thinks she is good value. However, Miss Eagle also knows that the boys of the right are not going to tolerate either of two classes of people: women and the left and Julia has the misfortune to fall into both categories. The boys of the right regard the Leader's job as their gift and right irrespective of the national good. One more thing though. A little bird has told Miss Eagle that not even the ALP's female parliamentarians like Julia - and that she does not have the support of women in her own parliamentary faction.
Jenny Macklin: Didn't know that stuff, Denis but will take it on board. All the stuff for Gillard applies for Macklin.
Stephen Conroy: Tough, troublemaking, dubious ethically. On the right which will probably continue to guarantee his Senate seat. Thank God he cannot have a credible tilt at the leadership.
Stephen Smith: Seems to be mates with Swannee & Rudd et al. Clean cut, intelligent but always gives the impression of a poker player keeping his cards almost grafted to his chest. How can one judge? No personality shines through? Empathy with which part of the electorate? What breadth of interest and intelligence? How would we ever know?
Lindsay Tanner: Well his drawback is that he is not of the right. But why he should be languishing as he appears to is beyond Miss Eagle. He is intelligent. He is active. He has ideas. Is there something wrong that we on the outside are unaware of? He, a non-Christian, is even said to talk regularly with Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. So he is clearly prepared to draw his conversations from a broad base - a good Prime Ministerial quality.

Miss Eagle's favourite person is lying low on a back bench in the Senate. He is tall, very tall, dark and handsome and wears spectacles. He looks like Clarke Kent before he strips and becomes Superman (and how is that for a metaphor for future leadership?). He is on the left but no one, not even the right, can deny his ability and his service. He has babysat for many years Labor interests in John Howard's seat of Bennelong. This is Senator John Faulkner (http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/senators/homepages/s-5k4.htm)

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Miss Eagle.
What's a good blog without slagging a few people? I have friends who know Wayne Swann, and like him a lot. John Faulkner would be great, but he'd have to change to the Reps, and that has not always worked out. But he was a tower of strength in Senate Estimates Committees.PS, do you still have a Christopher Reeve fixation?

Miss Eagle said...

No, Denis. There was only one Superman for me and he wasn't on TV nor was he in the movies and he was Australian - in fact a Brisbane boy. I am talking about the Australian radio serial of Superman starring the late, lamented Leonard Thiele. Wonderful voice - and if they had cast him in the 50s when he was doing the serial he might have been a bigger screen idol than C. Reeve - although I think he was blonde.

Georges said...

Denis, thank you for a positive mention of my cats and the visiting birds. I certainly enjoy my environment in Robertson.
I also remember the Australian Superman! It was Leonard Teale. A great Australian actor and a wonderful reader of poetry.

Kim Beazley is a very sad case. He appears to be "with Howard all the way". Kim is never there when there are hot issues to be debated. He is not there for the times when we need the representative of the Australian people to be ripping into the Liberal party policies and applying the 'blowtorch' to Howard and his cronies.
Where is Beazley when we as society have lost so many of our rights and civil liberties. The Howard Government Industrial legislation took the workers back at least two centuries. Hardly a bleat out of Beazley. Australia is now importing cheap labour from third world countries. Is this so different to the Kanaka labourers of 1800s?
Sadly there is no substance to Beazley - only bulk.
I believe that the Australian Labour party is in an extremely sad state, almost in it's last convulsions.
We have a government which is not concerned with values of a civilized society, i.e. care of each other, care for the vulnerable among us, preservation of our ecological environment, encouraging the growth of spirituality and appreciation of the intangibles (e.g. art in it's various forms). Instead we are encouraged into gross consumerism and greed.
I think that Beazley is Howards pawn. A sad individual whose time is over and who should not be the parliamentary leader of what was once a great Australian political party. I shall not be voting for the labour party at the next elections. It will be Greens or Democrats (if they still exist!).