06 May 2009

Bonfire of the dead wood

And I just hope that you can forgive us
But everything must go
And if you need an explanation
Then everything must go ...

- Manic Street Preachers Everything must go

This article by Milney shows both of the tricks that his fans know and love: the anonymous source inflated to titanic proportions, and the absurd extrapolations.

As Liberal preselections begin to open, you'd expect it would be open season on the halt and the lame within the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party, but you'd be wrong because the Liberals hang onto their failures. NSW has a tradition - neither something of which to be proud nor ashamed, just a tradition - of putting dud MPs into safe seats for many years, which had caused other states to disdain NSW and shut it out of senior leadership roles. This changed with the rise of John Howard, where he invoked the dud rule after Stephen Mutch proved harder to get rid of than to keep in 1998.

There is a horror in taking on an MP who doesn't want to go, which is combined with a wonder that "fresh blood" is neither attracted to nor retained within the Liberal Party. Because the Liberal Party is still convinced “we wuz robbed”, and that all they need is some better PR, it will not have a spring clean – the only Liberal MPs who’ll go this side of 2010 are those who want to quit, or those who lose their seats.

There is no way that said donor is one of the donors powerful enough to drive Coalition policy, to set out their wish lists on Liberal/National letterhead and call it policy: the carbon denialists. Half those people are stalwart carbon-denialist loyalists, particularly the one whom the old stager left to three paragraphs before the end:
In the interest of completeness I should say there was one other intriguing name on the list being circulated, that of former senate leader and Howard cabinet minister, Nick Minchin.

Ha! I just thought you named 13 people because you can't count, Milney. Minchin has run out of ideas and is actively suppressing those that crop up, and the idea that he's the only one left with any policy experience is just sad.

Most of Milney's column is just plain bitchy, and I was thinking about at least 14 others he (or his "informer") chose not to name. Then I had a look at the entire membership of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party - at a time when employers are drawing up lists of employees to be cut, let us help the Liberal Party on the road to recovery - Dump or Keep?

  • Abbott, The Hon Tony, Member for Warringah: Dump. See below for reasons why Strutting Hamlet has had his day.

  • Andrews, The Hon Kevin, Member for Menzies: Dump. Offered nothing in government, is a wet blanket on new ideas in opposition, and will offer nothing to the next Liberal government.

  • Bailey, The Hon Fran, Member for McEwen: Keep this election as she is doing a solid job for bushfire victims, then in the next term ask her to step aside as she's had her day, again think of the next Liberal government and she did get to be the "bloody" Tourism Minister you know.

  • Baldwin, The Hon Bob, Member for Paterson: Keep, as the only one capable of winning Paterson and is taking Defence personnel issues seriously. It's no mean thing to put a Cabinet minister on the ropes, if not quite on the canvas; hard-working local MP.

  • Billson, The Hon Bruce, Member for Dunkley: Keep for the sake of ministerial experience.

  • Bishop, The Hon Bronwyn, Member for Mackellar: Dump. 22 years and no ability to convert the heat of self-publicity into the energy of public policy. Go have a kero bath.

  • Bishop, The Hon Julie, Member for Curtin: Dump. Go and do something else, you've done the politics thing and been a minister but now your credibility is shot.

  • Briggs, Mr Jamie, Member for Mayo: Dump. Garden-variety hack, plenty more where you came from.

  • Broadbent, Mr Russell, Member for McMillan: Keep for now, see Fran Bailey above.

  • Ciobo, Mr Steven, Member for Moncrieff: Dump. Garden-variety hack, plenty more where you came from.

  • Costello, The Hon Peter, Member for Higgins: Dump! Dump! Dump! Had nothing to offer when Howard was around, has nothing to offer now that Howard's gone. Makes Kim Beazley look like a titan, Mark Latham a paragon of reflection and self-discipline, Simon Crean a fearless and visionary reformer.

  • Dutton, The Hon Peter, Member for Dickson: Dump. Garden-variety hack, plenty more where you came from.

  • Farmer, The Hon Pat, Member for Macarthur: Dump. Don't want to be on the team, get off the field.

  • Gash, Mrs Joanna, Member for Gilmore: Dump. Been around too long, contributed nothing, no future.

  • Georgiou, Mr Petro, Member for Kooyong: Going, and more's the pity that the former Prime Minister wasn't big enough to bring him on board.

  • Haase, Mr Barry, Member for Kalgoorlie: Dump. See Joanna Gash.

  • Hawke, Mr Alex, Member for Mitchell: the original RWDB, can make no positive contribution to Australian society. See Wilson Tuckey below for appropriate disposal.

  • Hawker, The Hon David, Member for Wannon: Dump. See Joanna Gash.

  • Hockey, The Hon Joe, Member for North Sydney: Keep.

  • Hunt, The Hon Greg, Member for Flinders: Keep. May yet do something worthwhile on environmental issues.

  • Irons, Mr Steve, Member for Swan: Keep.

  • Jensen, Dr Dennis, Member for Tangney: Dump. Defence science credentials having no effect, climate denialism increasingly shrill and silly. Nothing to offer the future of party or nation.

  • Johnson, Mr Michael, Member for Ryan: Dump. Embarrassment of hack-ness, cannot get over self long enough to contribute to debate or community.

  • Keenan, Mr Michael, Member for Stirling: Keep.

  • Laming, Mr Andrew, Member for Bowman: Dump. See Michael Johnson above.

  • Ley, The Hon Sussan, Member for Farrer: Keep.

  • Lindsay, The Hon Peter, Member for Herbert: Dump. No future, has to be a better alternative.

  • Macfarlane, The Hon Ian, Member for Groom: Dump. Has-been who never was.

  • Marino, Ms Nola, Member for Forrest: Keep, benefit of doubt.

  • Markus, Mrs Louise, Member for Greenway: Whatever.

  • May, Mrs Margaret, Member for McPherson: Dump. See Joanna Gash.

  • Mirabella, Mrs Sophie, Member for Indi: Dump. Should never have been there in the first place. Bronwyn Bishop without the wit or intellect. The only person in Australia who could make people feel sorry for Belinda Neal.

  • Morrison, Mr Scott, Member for Cook: Keep, and serves him right. His branch members are toxic dickheads and he's a hack who can't handle anything other than steady-as-she-goes. Would almost certainly be replaced by someone worse. If Labor win this seat they are in for a decade, because the local branches will only put up the kind of candidate you wouldn't use for burley.

  • Moylan, The Hon Judi, Member for Pearce: Keep, make her Shadow Minister for Immigration.

  • Nelson, The Hon Dr Brendan, Member for Bradfield: Dumped self, a chancer who's had his chance. Bye bye.

  • Pearce, The Hon Chris, Member for Aston: Whatever. A sales manager promoted out of his depth. Keep him if the alternative is worse, dump if better.

  • Pyne, The Hon Christopher, Member for Sturt: Dump. Slightly less bad than Bronny as Aged Care minister, but not Cabinet material either - mind you he's as tough as Abbott would like to be and anyone who sticks it to Minchin can't be all bad.

  • Ramsey, Mr Rowan, Member for Grey: Keep, benefit of doubt.

  • Randall, Mr Don, Member for Canning: Dump. The junkyard dog, the go-to man for the bludgeon that Tony Abbott is too weak to use himself, dumping him would be a poetic justice.

  • Robb, The Hon Andrew, Member for Goldstein: Keep.

  • Robert, Mr Stuart, Member for Fadden: Keep, benefit of doubt.

  • Ruddock, The Hon Philip, Member for Berowra: Dump. Not a Liberal, actions too far from any semblance of humanity let alone Liberal policy, no capacity to be inspirational other than to time-servers.

  • Schultz, Mr Alby, Member for Hume: Dump. A chancer who's had his chance, no capacity to contribute to future of country or party.

  • Secker, Mr Patrick, Member for Barker: Dump. Get your off-farm income somewhere else, Patrick.

  • Simpkins, Mr Luke, Member for Cowan: Keep, benefit of doubt.

  • Slipper, The Hon Peter, Member for Fisher: Dump. See Joanna Gash.

  • Smith, The Hon Tony, Member for Casey: Dump. Costello's mini-me. A spell outside the pollysphere might give him the chance to work out who he is, if anyone.

  • Somlyay, The Hon Alexander, Member for Fairfax: Dump. See Joanna Gash.

  • Southcott, Dr Andrew, Member for Boothby: Dump. Human pabulum. Alexander Downer without the gravitas.

  • Stone, The Hon Dr Sharman, Member for Murray: Dump. Was prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt until her effort on boat people recently.

  • Tuckey, The Hon Wilson, Member for O'Connor: Dump, and bury in a lead-lined casket several kilometres underground, with cloves of garlic and tonnes of carbon-capture sludge just to be sure.

  • Turnbull, The Hon Malcolm, Member for Wentworth: Keep.

  • Vaile, The Hon Danna, Member for Hughes: Dump. Be brave and true somewhere else.

  • Washer, Dr Mal, Member for Moore: Keep. Occasionally says sensible things on healthcare issues, most successful at maintaining non-Canberra mindset.

  • Wood, Mr Jason, Member for La Trobe: Keep. A hard-working marginal seat MP who deserves the benefit of the doubt.

There's your balance between experience and freshness. Watch the Liberal Party stuff it up.

The Senators are even worse. There was a time when the Liberal Party machine would throw up tough, competent and sensible politicians like Bob Cotton, John Carrick, Ivy Wedgwood and Margaret Guilfoyle, and dedicated public servants like Don Jessup and Alan Missen. Today, they're still party hacks but very much the backwash from what happens after a political party loses its mass membership. It's quicker to list those Senators that have earned their keep and have something to offer the future:

  • Birmingham, Simon - Senator for South Australia

  • Boyce, Sue - Senator for Queensland

  • Trood, Russell - Senator for Queensland

I was going to do the same for the Nationals, but the good folk of regional Australia will do that for us. Barnaby will probably replace Bruce Scott and the Nats will go down to about 5 MHRs and three Senators (one each from NSW, Queensland, NT).

I look to the future it makes me cry
But it seems too real to tell you why ...

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