21 October 2007

Making a meal of it

Once again we have a JaseAttack to show us who the boy has been having lunch with, and whom he wants to have lunch with going forward. What we also have is a clear example of how the mainstream media can't help us understand how we are (and are going to be) governed.

This piece sees Jase all upset that a Labor MP won't stay in the box into which factional heavies have nailed him. The entire history of the Labor Party - and of the Liberals too, for that matter - is of MPs deciding they're sick of toeing a line that's not going anywhere.

Gavan O'Connor has decided that he's going down with middle digit raised, unlike the bought objects content to slump into the bin of history, pocket their pensions and keep stumm. He's not a socially-divisive extremist like Pauline Hanson, so if he finds his old party so intolerable why shouldn't he take a stand? If Jase was still in his Peter-Costello-bumsniffer mode he'd be cheering O'Connor, but now that he perceives the need to build bridges with Labor then he'll sing whatever tune his luncheon companions want to hear.

From a media perspective, there is a story to be told here about what sort of government Rudd is offering. O'Connor is the only member of caucus who has been a farmer, a constituency that must be heard in the future debate over water and land sustainability, and which Labor governments have always treated as adversaries largely through mutual ignorance. Speaking of ignorance:
THE vote was unanimous. The inaugural winner of the Mal Colston Medal for Treachery

Who voted, Jase? How does O'Connor compare to Colston, who was induced by the Coalition to turn his back on the ALP? Do you have any proof that O'Connor has accepted an inducement, and if so what is it? Why would O'Connor, or anyone else, believe that John Howard had any capacity to follow through on any inducement anyway? C'mon Jase, do your job, not some Labor staffer's (unless that is the job you're keening for).
Liberals everywhere have been falling over themselves in the stampede to congratulate O'Connor

Such as? Howard made a few comments about O'Connor but Hanson showed him that his party's not immune to this sort of thing. Abbott has been particularly quiet, as has Jase's old mate Costello - but isn't it typical of Jase to signal at the outset of his pieces just how badly he's floundering? Notice how Jase undoes his insipid introduction with a quote from Howard that clearly procludes the Coalition from making political capital over O'Connor.
O'Connor accused his former party of branch stacking, money laundering and of making grubby political deals.

O'Connor's transformation from a man of principle and integrity to one deluded by self-interest and greed is a salutary lesson in how politics can corrupt. Make no mistake, O'Connor destroyed himself last Thursday, and everything he once stood for.

He has chosen a road at the end of which he will find only bitterness and misery.

Jase just assumes that it is O'Connor, and not the ALP, who has become corrupted. When he was a Peter Costello bumsniffer Jase was more than happy to point out these and other faults, but in this piece he assumes that any such accusation against the ALP must always be false, and rebound on the accuser. Whether O'Connor wins or loses, the structural integrity of the Australian Labor Party is of major concern, especially as it will bear the eight of governing the entire country and its sub-national political divisions.

That last line in particular is the kind of bullying you might get in schoolyards or Williams-Moran-style crime syndicates, but if you were a real journalist, Jason Koutsoukis, you'd question whether this has any place in the governance of state.
Way back in 1990, O'Connor was a nobody. A local councillor from Colac, he was given a job in the electorate office of then Labor senator John Button, who had an electorate office in Geelong.

Have you looked at John Button's critiques of the modern ALP at all, Jase? If so, you'd find the position of O'Connor vindicated - but that wouldn't please your lunch buddies at all.
With a taxpayer-funded salary in his pocket (a largesse bestowed on him by the Labor Party)

Well, which is it? Do employees in public service owe their loyalty to taxpayers, or the Labor Party? C'mon Jase, a real journalist would have a field day with that, a couple of Walkleys if not a career. You just do a garbage-in-garbage-out regurgitation onto the page.
O'Connor would still be a nobody were it not for his party and its members, who sent him to Canberra in 1993 and kept him there at the four subsequent elections.

Yeah, forget the voters - or "punters" as Jase calls them.
One can understand the basis of O'Connor's grievance, and why he was so upset at being dumped.

A hard-working, likeable, generous person, O'Connor was a popular local member. But in the end, whatever the flaws of Labor's factional system, O'Connor lost control of his branches ... O'Connor may have been a perfectly able MP and a decent person, but his political skills and acumen have hardly set Canberra on fire.

First O'Connor is all these things, then when it comes time to sink the slipper he qualifies it with the weaselly may have been. Jase can't admit that a good man has been traduced because that would make him, and his lunchmates, look bad - and Jase can't get where he wants to go unless he does a few tricks for his would-be sources in the next government.

It is Jase who is "the venal hypocrite who waited ... [to] do the most damage possible to those friends and colleagues he has worked alongside for the past decade" (his erstwhile lunch buddies in the Peter Costello Fan Club). Examining the way the country is governed is more important than Jase trying to establish himself as a playa.
In 14 years, he has scored not one major political victory over the Coalition, and has made not a single policy contribution of any significance.

Yes he has, everyone in the ALP and quite a few outside it have praised O'Connor in educating his party about rural issues without getting sucked into the largesse mentality of the Nationals.
Nor is Marles without claim to represent the people of Geelong. A talented solicitor and assistant secretary of the ACTU, Marles grew up in Geelong and has lived in the city for the past 10 years.

All the while, enjoying the hard work of Gavan O'Connor. Marles could have had his pick of any Labor seat in Victoria. He seemed quite content to take on David Kemp back in the day, in far-off Melbourne, why not keep him there?
Former leader Kim Beazley was one of those whom O'Connor worked tirelessly to remove almost from the day Beazley took over as Labor leader.

Yeah, well that would explain why Beazley isn't taking Labor to victory - O'Connor was hardly on his lonesome there. Witness your own jihad against John Howard, Jase.
Former federal Liberal MP David Connolly lost preselection for the Sydney seat of Bradfield to Brendan Nelson before the 1996 election.

The loss hurt Connolly, who was a friend of John Howard. But he kept his mouth shut, and Howard looked after him once he became Prime Minister, justly rewarding him with a plum overseas posting.

OK, so no lame mock-outrage stories about "jobs for the boys" when the Labor MPs on this list "justly" line up for "a taxpayer-funded salary in his pocket (a largesse bestowed on him by the Labor Party)"? Why would any journalist praise someone who "kept his mouth shut"? Why would any member of the ALP have to live up to the standards of former Liberal MP (and fellow nobody) David Connolly?

The McManus piece quoted above ends with the line: "Mr Marles could not be contacted last night". If this is Marles' response to O'Connor, using Jase as his hand-puppet, then it is despicable. It will reflect poorly on Marles (Labor's Frydenberg?) going forward. If Jase wants to play favourites and suck up to Marles and his game-players, who can't tell the difference between taxpayer funds and Labor Party largesse, then he is just another leech in Canberra seeking to advance himself at everyone else's expense.

Gavan O'Connor has been enhanced by being slimed by someone like Jase, regardless of whether or not he loses to the lesser man on 24 November. Piffle like this is sadly typical of Koutsoukis' articles: those to whom you have sold your soul, Jase, have got a much worse deal than the man from Colac and Geelong (no, I'm not talking about Richard Marles).

Update: I wouldn't go so far as Milney:
If the Liberals do preference O'Connor, the former Labor member who has quit the party in disgust at factional heavying and union influence to run as an independent, he may be in with a chance of winning back the seat he's already held for 14 years.

Hype. Bullshit. Shows you why you don't read Glenn Milne to find out what's going on in Canberra, merely who Milney has been having lunch with.
The biggest trick to getting O'Connor up for the Liberals would be to ensure their candidate ran third. There are two intersecting currents here and they are both media driven. The Liberals' "problem" (defined as pushing O'Connor into second place) is that Corio, based on Geelong, has a very strong local media, particularly the Geelong Advertiser.

The Liberals are fighting off a strong Rudd-driven Labor challenge to Stewart McArthur, their sitting candidate in the neighbouring seat of Corangamite. Facing this adjoining challenge, there has to be strong Liberal branding across regional media, making it hard to run dead in Corio.

This is crap. All the Liberal Party has to do is deny oxygen to the Corio candidate (like Milney, I can't be bothered finding out his/her name) and focus all their energy on McArthur: McArthur this, McArthur that, and pretty soon it won't even occur to Corio voters that if they can't vote McArthur they won't vote Liberal at all. This raises questions for the Liberal Party as to whether they have the right to put someone up as a candidate and then jerk them around like that.
Said Marles: "The only winner out of this is John Howard and the Liberal Party."

He got that bit right.

No he didn't Milney and neither did you. If O'Connor wins Corio he'll support Rudd over Howard, and in the process will get more concessions for his local area than Marles could, as just another clamouring newbie owned by caucus.


  1. Katsoukis was involved in the ALP right at university, and was at the same campus at the same time as Marles. Perhaps that explains a few things.

  2. Not really. I know people who were Liberals at Monash with Josh Frydenberg, and they hate his guts.