Topic: nsw govt
Stateline NSW last Friday 4th April 08 ran footage in the wind up of a presser in NSW Parliament (with the bland blue curtains on level 6, which is actually one floor below ground, just across the corridor from the rabbit warren of the press gallery): John Della Bosca MP and Education Minister based in the Upper House was busy last week ruling out any challenge to Premier Iemma "and not just because I'm standing next to him" (as here abc 2nd April 08).
On the other hand Della has always sought to "improve himself" which is a nice line for a guy who looks as above like (but doesn't sound like) a hard working council garbologist (and god bless them for keeping the city clean and safe too in that comparatively hard honest work).
Della has egg on his face just now over misfiring PR on jailing of negligent parents - or worse - parents acting like Fagins' criminalising their kids by letting/keeping them out of school. (Think Cowper St smash and grab zone in Glebe just outside the Sydney CBD terrorising local public housing residents like wild kids in Aurukun apparently, or indeed euro-Aussie sportsman clubbers on the latest binge.) This would be egg that feels very humiliating for a hard nosed thinker like Della.
Notably Simon Benson, an ALP drip feed in the Telegraph, wrote last week in one of those 'let me have the last word on this' pieces that it could be a sound policy but requires astute presentation which it wasn't. Maybe so Simon, maybe.
And so we come to the front pager in the Sunday Telegraph today, echoed on ABC 702 radio this Sunday morning. This leadership ruction is all "a fiction, they made it up" says Della on the abc airwaves this Sunday 6th April with the orthodox demonstrations of loyalty. Maybe they did.
But we feel the issues of presentation are at the heart of all this:
- Poor law and order tub thump presentation blamed on Della, hurting Iemma and morale booster to the Opposition.
- Iemma's inability to generally present as 'a good government, good premier' even if 'a good father, husband, man'. Not least the Sunday Herald coverage here front pager today of systemic conflict of interest over vesting massive discretion in the planning minister Sartor:
The ALP and conservatives like Gerard Henderson (Insiders today) are keen to say this is a mere Greens conspiracy theory and smear, or hyperbole in GH's terms. Certainly the determined accusation is that the ALP are running a sophisticated developer fed racket.
A perhaps unintended corroboration of the Greens thesis here?: Mr Thorpe to retire from powerful grog and pokies Hotels lobby this week was in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday saying he lobbied the administrative arm of the NSW ALP (who receive the donations) in order to get changes in policy. Not the ministers direct. To quote Pub rocker Thorpey wines off 5th April 2008 by Andrew Clennell State Political Editor [bold added]:
In the interview to mark his departure after more than 10 years in the job, Mr Thorpe, 68, also:
* Says he regularly spoke to Labor's former general secretary, Mark Arbib, to attempt to get policy results, rather than talk directly to the Government, showing the power Mr Arbib wielded and the importance of political donations;
* Blames generation Y for problems with violence outside pubs and says they just have not experienced enough "adversity"; and
* Credits former gaming minister Richard Face - whose career ended in disgrace after he was fined for lying to the Independent Commission Against Corruption - as the man who pushed the idea of poker machines in pubs and made it happen.
- yet unreported is the disjunction of on one hand
* Della Bosca MP presentation as a serious minded and ministerial politician on say local 702 ABC radio,
while on the other hand
* Della's habitual adolescent affectations in tandem with haughty blustering abrasive offensive dishonest Michael Costa, Treasurer, in the general by play of the NSW Legislative Council.
In this Upper House forum 'play pen' we have witnessed the true swaggering Della Bosca in default mode, just like Costa. Who have a whole career behind them of brute power politics leading to sinecure in the "unrepresentative swill" of the Upper House rather than the arts and discipline of geniune policy and pursuasion in the lower house.
The Govt ministers in the Upper House have a tendency to exude arrogance (Hatzistergos is a notable exception to the adolescent jokester behaviour) presenting as truly bizarre, or zoo like, if you have ever sat in the public gallery. In this jolly arrogance we include ALP Left's Penny Sharp presumably relieved at that lifelong financial security of a parliamentary pension.
One can only sympathise with the weary patience of the idealistic Green MPs sitting like 3 condemned convicts, situated with backs to the gallery - surely positioned by the Speaker to keep them as invisible as possible by comparison with the shonky competition - and regularly verbally abused for the audacity of defying the ALP machine hegemony.
Even at Iemma's cynical, dissembling worst in the Legislative Assembly he does front up to the Opposition in the lower house and takes public/press gallery scrutiny as orthodox politics. Iemma took the insulting questions from Quentin Dempster on the chin last Friday on Stateline with as much grace as he could though clearly squirming.
This is the opposite of the grotesquely haughty Upper House crew in the ALP who appear so two faced according to our witness.
Is Della "improving" his mate Costa's public energy sale privatisation agenda with a stick on Iemma's premiership? Or is it simply the cracked policy delivery in the Iemma glossy paint job exposing to the public the metal fatigue of the ultimate ALP machine man Della underneath? This is one old car with rust through the panels and its best days are well behind. Is the chasis still sound? Clearly the Greens think it should go over the pits for thorough inspection by which they mean Royal Commission. Meanwhile they have this private members Bill, akin to superficial road service call out unless it can gather more numbers:
[media release 3rd April 2008]
Bill to Ban Developer Donations Introduced Into NSW Parliament
A Bill to that will make it an offence for political parties or
candidates to accept donations from property developers was introduced
into state parliament today by NSW Greens MP, Sylvia Hale.
“This Bill will, in one simple step, remove the vast majority of
conflicts of interest that have brought the state’s planning system
into such disrepute,” Ms Hale told the parliament.
“This Bill will provide the test of whether the Labor and Liberal
parties are serious about cleaning up the political funding system.”
“The planning system has been corrupted by a climate of rampant
conflicts of interest and, at times, outright corruption.”
“ICAC inquiries the Tweed, Liverpool, Rockdale, Strathfield and
Wollongong councils have provided incontrovertible evidence that
political donations have affected decisions relating to
“There have also been too many examples of favourable decisions by
the government or its Ministers in relation to particular developments
following donations to the Labor Party by the proponents of those
“The public does not find it acceptable for an ALP Minister to make a
decision that provides a financial windfall to a developer who is a
substantial donor to the ALP. The conflict of interest in obvious,” Ms
Ms Hale’s Bill will also strengthen environmental protections and
improve appeal rights for projects “called in” for approval by the
state Planning Minister.
“The Bill will make the decision-making process by the Minister more
transparent and will allow greater scope for the Minister’s decisions
to be appealed.”
“In situations where the Minister is given wide discretionary powers
it is imperative from the point of view of maintaining public confidence
in the system that the Minister’s decisions are made in an completely
transparent way and that they are subject to review.”
The Bill will also add the requirement to address climate change to the
objectives of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
“Greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation of the effects of climate
change are central to planning questions relating to housing and
building design, the location of farming, residential and employment
lands and the nature and location of transport corridors. By placing
this issue within the objects of the Act planners, developers, Councils
and community representatives will be encouraged to consider these
issues when considering key planning issues,” Ms Hale said.
Debate on the Bill will resume next week.
"Neither Labor nor the Coalition have yet indicated of they will
support the Bill but following the Wollongong scandals and revelations
about Ministerial decisions benefitting party donors, public pressure to
vote for the Bill is intense" said Ms Hale.
Further information: Chris Holley (02)9230 3030 / 0437 779 546