21 September 2010

Keneally wants fresh blood

All zombie flicks get to that stage, where people are done screaming or being appalled and just want the dead to lie down, but the zombies insist on staggering around demanding fresh meat. This is where the NSW government is at today with this.

It was written by the last journalist who thinks it will be a bad thing when Labor loses state government in NSW, Brian Robins, who has been a Labor booster since Ben Chifley mussed his hair and gave him a threepence. Nobody else will go near the state parliamentary press gallery because there really is bugger-all to do there. This will not change after March because the whole move to issues-based reporting is pretty much complete. If you want to see roads and rail lines backed up in western Sydney, get in a helicopter and don't waste your time sitting in the mushroom club on level 6 in NSW's Parliament House.
The NSW Labor Party will begin selecting candidates for the state election in coming weeks, and pressure is building on some MPs to quit or be forced out.

The Sussex Street ALP head office will first choose candidates in non-controversial seats, moving on to those where it wants to manoeuvre MPs out later in the year, giving them time to decide whether to go.
If you're going to take bold, decisive action against dead wood and time-wasters, why go on about "non-controversial seats" or wringing your hands about whether it's OK by the turkeys if we have Christmas this year. There was a time when the State secretary would simply inform an MP that their time was up. It doesn't even have the hopeful rhythm of kumbaya consensus: it's just weak. Brian does nobody any favours for refusing to point this out, nor for giving anonymity to an announcement that has already been refracted off the surface of Kristina Keneally.
"The aim is to bring people with fresh energy and ideas into the Parliament for the inevitable rebuild after the election," a senior party figure said yesterday. "Each member will need to decide whether they're going before their preselection, with head office likely to begin to move against some of the stayers like Paul Gibson (Blacktown). Others, like Richard Amery (Mount Druitt) are likely to stay."
Labor wouldn't dare knock off Gibson, Labor's answer to Alby Schultz. He'll go when he's ready and not before. If you can't knock off poor old Richard Amery, what hope have you got?
Others, such as key powerbroker Joe Tripodi are holding their cards close to their chest. Associates say Sussex Street's public push to squeeze him out has backfired.
Backfiring in a card game? Once again, dead metaphors show that no brain is engaged in writing this story. In this case, Tripodi has seen off his detractors but he knows that celebrating his success would diminish Keneally and NSW Labor still further, without adding to Tripodi's power. As if Brian Robins would point that out.
The Premier, Kristina Keneally, wrote recently to MPs and the ALP's state secretary, Sam Dastyari, calling for an injection of fresh talent into the party's ranks as it seeks to stave off electoral disaster.
Robins at least has the decency to report an announcement by the Premier of NSW as though it were by-the-by, pertinent but not central to politics in this state.

On a wider scale, however, Labor has no fresh blood to offer. Ian Macdonald's replacement with Luke Foley, and what's-his-name with the Ferguson scion, some staffers seeking the only promotion available to them (no lobbying firm wants them) and a whole lot of Legislative Council shuffles show that Labor has different faces but no new ideas. Nobody with new, fresh ideas survived the Carr era.
The likely swing has complicated plans for the Transport Minister, John Robertson, to move to the lower house, since it is proving difficult to find a safe enough seat.
See? After talking about fresh ideas, they talk about John Robertson stepping in to do Brendan Nelson duty (but much, much worse - I would talk about a cricket team here, but with NSW Labor the only comparable team is that of Pakistan).
"People are looking but there aren't very many seats considered safe in the present environment," a senior government figure said yesterday.
Which people, Brian, and who dares hold them off? Those are the questions you should be asking, and because you're not you are simply not earning your pay.
A key federal ALP powerbroker, Mark Arbib, said that by the time of the election, the Labor Party would have been in power 16 years, making it very difficult for a tired government to be returned to office.
More to the point, Arbib was a NSW state secretary who helped put NSW Labor where it is today, and then buzzed off to Canberra to spread the magic there. He could have been part of the reinvigoration, Brian. Shoulda asked him about that.
Party figures and MPs yesterday sought to play down the need to force MPs out, insisting many will bow to the inevitable.

"Look, if 15 MPs leave, of that number, 12 will choose to go and three will be pushed," one backbencher said. "People like Dr Andrew McDonald (Macquarie Fields) and Frank Sartor (Rockdale) would probably go.

"Others like Ninos Khoshaba (Smithfield) and Nick Lalich (Cabramatta) haven't really made much of a contribution and should move on, along with the likes of Noreen Hay (Wollongong), Cherie Burton (Kogarah), Kevin Greene (Oatley) and Verity Firth (Balmain). Others like Phil Koperberg (Blue Mountains) will go, with question marks over people like Jodi McKay (Newcastle), who are disillusioned."
The voters of NSW will be forcing half that lot out, and that's the point. If you have no idea who will replace half-hearted duffers, and you lack the clout to punt them, how can you encourage good people to your cause? McDonald used to be highly regarded, and now he's storming the exits because he's seen Sussex Street's idea of "fresh blood" - those not good enough to go to Canberra but too restless to actually serve some workers.

This really was a non-story, written four days after the main announcement with nothing, nothing to add, except some ALP butt-covering. Surely Brian Robins can follow that whole sorry lot into oblivion.


  1. What sort of talented and energetic person would put their name forward to run in a seat for the ALP?

    It's career suicide.

    They would have to have a margin of 10%+ to have a chance.

  2. It would be a judgment call to run into a burning building and find nothing there, and be laughed at by the supposed custodians of said building. Look what happened to Graeme Wedderburn, and he was one of their own.