December 01, 2003


Kevin Rudd is out of the Labor leadership race -- not that he was ever really in it -- clearing the way for a straight fight between Kim Beazley and Mark Latham. Entertainingly, these two loathe each other. Whoever wins tomorrow, we may expect hostility and repeated challenges for some time, in the manner of Howard v Peacock in the ‘80s.

And who will win? Warren Snowdon, Labor’s federal Member for New York, claims Latham has the numbers. This is contrary to the more widespread view, which has Beazley in front.

One reason to oppose Beazley: Peter FitzSimons supports him. And one reason to support Latham: Robert Manne opposes him, claiming that “if Latham takes the Labor leadership tomorrow the ALP will gradually abandon interest in Aboriginal reconciliation. It will demonstrate a growing contempt for what Latham calls the left-wing ‘rights agenda’. It will seek to match or outbid the Coalition on questions like the threat of terrorism, ‘illegal immigration’ and the war on crime.”

Sounds good to me. Bring on the new guy. Bob Carr, however, doesn’t agree:

In a line worthy of Oscar Wilde, the NSW Premier mused aloud: "Mark Latham as leader of the federal Labor Party?" (Pause for dramatic effect) "That would be a diverting nine months."

Pressed on whether he meant that's how long voters would take to "wake up" to Latham, Carr responded that it mightn't even take that long.

This might be evidence of the divided Australia John Howard’s critics keep talking about. By the way, how is the PM’s form? He’s now seen off three ALP leaders (Keating, Beazley, and Crean) and won as many elections himself as Whitlam, Keating, and Beazley combined.

Posted by Tim Blair at December 1, 2003 12:58 PM

Tim spot on - when I read the manneiac article I too felt that if manne were to be correct in his analysis (he has to get it right some day) what a wonderful Country it would be.

Posted by: lawrie at December 1, 2003 at 01:45 PM

The speeches on "divided Australia" are excellent inclusions in that they allow us to reflect on a class of opinion that exists still in much of the media although it is harder to address since it is never openly stated but implicit in the reporting of events or in the interviews questions put to public figures.

The human rights speaker addressed the shots of "our" navy at "refugee" boats. The question of whether these people are "refugees" or "asylum seekers" has been addressed elsewhere with, one would have thought, finality. This is a key legal and even moral distinction that this speaker and others appear unwilling to make. I feel just as strongly as the speaker that Australia is demonstrably a compassionate country with a strong commitment to refugees, actually fighting and risking our soldiers lives to topple tyrants and making a significant contribution to aid for the poor on many levels. I say enough of running us down! I am proud of Australia and our record and I will not tolerate your unfounded and untrue criticism. If you wish to argue that we can improve our policies then just say that. Do not attempt to make us feel bad as a motivation, it is counterproductive.

As to the speaker on the woes of the kids unemployed at 15 and living in Mt Druitt. Yes Australia is a class based society. Yes baby boomers got jobs. Guess what? The unemployment rate nationally is around 5% what does that mean in practical terms? It means that there are lots of jobs. Are there jobs for people who leave school at 15? Yes there are. Will all of them get one? No. Is that my fault? No.

I am a baby boomer. My children have jobs and they have an education paid for by me. Am I expecting them to pay for my retirement? No. Did my parents expect me to pay for their retirement? Yes.

Not every father in Mt Druitt disppears or belts his wife. Not every situation can be made happy and certainly not by the government. Get over it and really your list of "to do's" fails to mention any real commitment from anybody other than the poor bastard taxpayer. Try to get a balance and you may get elected.

Posted by: Allan Morton at December 1, 2003 at 02:01 PM

Mr Rudd said yesterday ... "Unfortunately, the reality is that the level of support I have in the community is not reflected sufficiently strongly in the Labor Party caucus."

Like everything else.

Posted by: ilibcc at December 1, 2003 at 02:04 PM

John Denver(aka Noddy Bigears)crashed on Sunday.
Unfortunately he survived.

Posted by: freddyboy at December 1, 2003 at 02:07 PM

listening to parliament (reps) today to hear one of the luvvies enoting about getting the kids out of detention centres before xmas.
I thought these people were essentially muslim.

Posted by: lawrie at December 1, 2003 at 05:34 PM

that "crack of tim" guy's been quiet lately... HAW HAW!!

Posted by: roscoe at December 1, 2003 at 06:58 PM

dear me, that is a very unfortunate typo

Posted by: pooh at December 1, 2003 at 07:09 PM

I am a baby boomer. My children have jobs and they have an education paid for by me. Am I expecting them to pay for my retirement? No. Did my parents expect me to pay for their retirement? Yes.

If it's not your kids who'll be paying for your retirement, it will have to be somebody else's.

It will be somebody's kids running the economy, paying the taxes, patrolling the retirement estate's perimeter fence, maintaining the golf course, driving your tour bus, handing you your drinks on the terrace, adjusting your hearing-aid, spooning the mush into your mouth, tying you to the commode, putting kero in your bath for the scabies, and so on.

Your parents probably delude themselves that a portion of the taxes they paid has been put aside to provide for their pension.

The pension income test is so generous that a couple on $55,000 a year can still get a part-pension and all the concessions.

So best wishes in your quest not to be eligible for the Age Pension.

Posted by: Peggy Sue at December 1, 2003 at 09:02 PM

Peggy Sue,

That's news on me that you can get "all the concessions" with a combined income of $55,000. I have already been advised that a more modest superannuation annuity will disqualify me.

In any case, assuming its true - if you expect the income test for aged pensions to still be the same (in real money terms) when you retire, you are probably living in a fool's paradise. If you get to retire at all, that is.

By the way, a simple analysis of the aged care workforce will soon show you that it is certainly not "kids" who are the mush-spooners and commode tyers. Typically, they are middle aged women.

It beats me how people can find the simple idea of providing for your own retirement so offensive. It is pretty much the way of the future, like it or not - better get used to it.

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at December 1, 2003 at 11:01 PM