Topic: aust govt
Picture: Maxine Mckew with the "mobile lunar park" tv smile according to cartoonist Warren on the last ABC Insiders for the year, on Sunday 8th Dec.
There was Maxine at the official declaration of the poll on the tv news bulletins last night. All of them. And on front of the Daily Telegraph today and page 2 of the SMH. We explained our inspired observations of the compelling vision on the tv last night to our local press provider (grabbing our newspapers like others take drugs);
McKew was very deferential and actually nervous about the awesome 30 year career of ex PM Howard. He was gracious but also clearly in pain, ill at ease, and didn't want to be there. But he made himself do it. He's got courage to be sure which is in fact how he got to the top.
But her nerves are a problem to us because it shows she doesn't really believe in why she won. Because it is indeed extraordinary for the Australian public to vote out a sitting PM in his own seat: All that free media profile and benefits of incumbency for the PM. If publicity is votes,which in an election it definitely is, a sitting PM should be unassailable. But he lost all the same. And the answer to that question provides the platform for the victor to proceed in a sensible way.
Australians in Bennelong voted Howard out for VERY GOOD reasons: He took us to a disastrous war in Iraq. He helped turn the NSW Liberal Party into the default 'white supremacist party' tearing at our social fabric. He's been disastrous for the environment.
I did alot of electioneering in Bennelong in 2004 and I know that electorate fairly well. It's very conservative. I worked for Not Happy John and I believe we 'unrusted' the voters from Howard. They still voted for him but they were getting very iffy. For instance in 2004 we reinforced Canada (an excellent parallel to our middle order status) didn't join the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq, so why did Australia go in lock step with W Bush? Andrew Wilkie for the Greens was important in the unrusting too: He got a good vote as a defence and intelligence expert.
And the ALP come in and harvest the lot in the 2007 election and we get nothing (eyes rolling, much sniggering all round). [In fact votes for Lindsay Peters for the Greens, with preferences delivering victory to McKew, means $2 per vote to that party which $1,000s will have a very big multiplier boost for the micro party used to doing more with less.]
And it's a problem because McKew's anxiety in the presence of such a genuinely historical figure as Howard yesterday means she doesn't understand (at least yet) it's more about us than about her, talented as she is. Rather she can afford to have confidence in the sound electoral basis for the removal of Howard from his own seat. It's not about her so much [depending on just how slick her campaigning secrets prove to be in the Good Weekend press], it's about the electorate's good judgment. That's a foundation stone she can build on without fear of the ex PM.
And she needs to respect that choice as much as Howard, in effect to not respect Howard very much at all on big ticket issues of our time: Iraq, Climate, Social inclusion.
Picture: The 'great woman behind every great man' aphorism gets a reworking in this publicity pic off the ALP site: There's a great man behind every great woman? Bob Hogg former federal secretary of the ALP in 1993 during the unexpected victory of Paul Keating in that federal election.