30 August 2009

Forget about it

This is the most disgusting piece of political cynicism yet from the Rudd Government, from its worst minister.

The Northern Territory Intervention was supported by both sides of politics. It represented bold action to address dark and deep problems, the sort that can only be addressed by bold action. None of the issues that brought on the Intervention have been addressed, let alone resolved, and the suspension of anti-discrimination laws have entrenched helplessness rather than alleviated it. Macklin can't even build a single dwelling despite having not only billions of dollars at her disposal, but an ocean of goodwill following the Apology.

The Apology was a call to arms not seen since Menzies' explanation on 3 September 1939 of why Australia was at war with Germany. The Prime Minister, his government and the Opposition put all their credibility on the line and set aside significant parts of their parties' history to right considerable, innumerable and long-standing wrongs. It takes a policy moron, a political retard to take all that and generate from it absolutely fuck-all, as Macklin has.

Now we have another disadvantaged people, abused and neglected wards of the state: Macklin says we are to apologise to them as well, but this time she admits there will be absolutely nothying for these people once the fine words have died in the air. Rudd should have announced this himself, rather than No-Cred Jen. There won't be a cent for those who are wards of the state today (not for dissuading them from costly incarceration, anyway), and like Aborigines and Vietnam veterans there will be no help for those from this group of people who need it. There will be no leadership as to what real forms such assistance might take, nothing to light the way.

Jenny Macklin was parachuted into Parliament on the proviso that she do something on social policy, and became Deputy Leader on the basis that she was a formidable policy brain. Leftwing Labor people supported a Labor government for all its rightward leanings on the basis that people like Jenny Macklin might get in there and fight for what's right. Having achieved bugger-all as Minister, it's time to call Macklin a failure.

The time will come when she's punted off the political stage as a has-been who never was, and something tells me she won't go with good grace but will bleat about the very people she so drastically let down. It will be easy to pile on Macklin then, but let us now acknowledge that she has failed her constituency rather than wait for the press gallery to wake up to the political "reality" that she is taking up a spot that could be more usefully occupied by almost anyone (well, except Tony Abbott, who doesn't care about his party's policies and record, and the people they affected far from Canberra; and who will jabber on about any policy other than the one he is shadowing. A decent shadow minister should have Macklin on the ropes by now). The fact that Rudd won't sack her is a weakness for which his government is yet to pay, but which will let him down badly when he'll need to draw from the well of compassion and good deeds.

I dread a time when a national apology brings hollow, bitter laughter from those who deserve such a measure. Such a time is hard upon us.


  1. first time poster, long time reader.. Here's another case where the coalition shows it can't even challenge Rudds weakest ministers. A half decent opposition would have Maklins's and Conroy's scalps by now.

  2. That's true, but the incompetence of (and vacuum at the heart of) the government is the greater issue.

  3. While I agree with your opening sentence, I cannot view the intervention as anything but a cynical attempt at concocting votes after ignoring the issue for 10 long years. Alexander Downer acknowledged it himself saying he thought there would be more votes in it. It was never going to work, and it hasn't.

    The right seems to argue that apologies are just so much symbolism that achieve nothing, and then complains that because they haven't fixed the problem, apologies are worthless.

    It's true that apologies don't materially change things on the ground, but they are valuable to those who have been denied the decency of acknowledgement for past wrongs. That is all they do.

    Your criticism of Macklin is the same criticism of every government for the past 30 years, and perhaps longer. Apologies don't fix things. They're only better than denial.


  4. My criticism of Macklin is that she raised hopes for better, which Downer never did. Perhaps these people expect nothing (I'd question that), but I think Aborigines were entitled to expect more than words.