16 January 2008

Suck it and see

Today in The Age, the first article created by automatically-generated cliche-output software, and it's under the byline of "Michelle Grattan": click here.
PRESSURE is mounting for the crucial position of Liberal federal president to go to a Victorian — if the right person can be found.

Pressure from whom, on whom, over what? What happens if the rest of the country tells the Division that has gone from best to worst to just piss off?
Victoria, which has previously always held either the leadership or deputyship since the party was forged in the mid-1940s

I'm old enough to remember when John Howard (NSW) was Federal Liberal leader and his deputy was Fred Chaney (WA). So are you, Michelle Grattan.
One Victorian name being canvassed is former minister Rod Kemp, who retires from the Senate in June ... Senator Kemp had no comment last night.

That qualifier about "the right person" is crucial, and should be used to unpack this silly suggestion. This man was a duffer before he got into Parliament, he was a duffer as a minister, he achieved nothing and when he resigned nobody missed him. The appointment of such a person would be a sign that the Liberal Party is looking to stifle any new ideas while it settles into a protracted period of opposition, rather than rebound quickly in 2010.
Senator Kemp, brother of David Kemp, the president of the Victorian division, is not seeking the job but probably could be persuaded if there was support.

See, nobody who has that attitude should ever be appointed to anything.
Two Victorians earlier suggested — party powerbroker Michael Kroger and former minister Richard Alston, now high commissioner in London — have indicated they are not interested, although people are still trying to persuade Mr Kroger. Former state treasurer Alan Stockdale has also been mentioned.

Victorian senator-elect Helen Kroger said it would be smart to have a Victorian in the job, not least because it would help in the crucial area of fund-raising.

Right, because the Victorian Liberals have frittered away whatever funds they've raised, and the money in this country is in Sydney, Perth or Queensland ... where else but Melbourne? It's interesting to note that the growth of the Australian economy has left behind all those Melbourne Club boys who just haven't got what it takes.
Senator Ronaldson also said it was "imperative" Victoria had some senior representation in the party's administrative wing.

Because otherwise nobody would pay any attention to that colossus Senator Ronaldson.

"Michelle Grattan" used to write with more insights than demonstrated in this article. I hope she gets back from holidays soon and switches off the cliche-generator, it makes for poor journalism.

The Liberals could do worse than freeze the Victorians out for the time being. They bet everything on the Costello Prime Ministership and are now reaping the same dividends one gets for betting on the fourth horse in the Melbourne Cup (actually, that's not fair as that horse at least has a go). The Vics can demonstrate their mettle by cleaning out dead wood like Kevin Andrews and Mitch Fifield, and replacing them with quality candidates. Hell, they could even show how federal-state relations - the party's structural flaw - can be addressed. Then, they can vote as a bloc for quality policies and leadership. Until then, they can give up that birthright crap and help the Liberal Party regain some idea of who they are and what they're about.

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