Monday, November 26, 2007

Oh Happy Day

Democracy works. It really does. I have never experienced such a jubilant mood, post-election: our Don's Party, nervous at the outset, quickly gave way to a mess of cheering, dancing, heckling, bloodthirsty speculation over the Liberal Party leadership, referring to one another as "comrade", and drinking penalties every time one's local member was spotted on the TV (much to the distress of the lone Joe Hockey constituent in the room; it seems the man cannot bear to be offscreen for more than a few seconds at a time).

Some thoughts:

- Maxine McKew mightn't be a seasoned politician, but she has star quality by the bucketload. Charming, articulate, natural. Her infectious speech on Saturday was the best moment of the evening. Guy Rundle summed it up in Crikey: "If the real deal happens, and John Howard is replaced by a FEMALE, LABOR, ABC JOURNALIST, how could you not see, in her sparkling eyes, a reflection of the light on the hill?"

- By contrast, we got bored and turned the music back up in the middle of Rudd's acceptance speech. He might be Third Way, but Tony Blair he ain't.

- If I say I'm glad Turnbull survived the bloodbath, do I get stripped of my True Believer credentials? I just think we need all the socially moderate Libs we can get right now, so we can forget that Howard's culture war years ever happened. The last thing this country needs is a hard-right, God-bothering opposition.

- For the same reason, Tony Abbott cannot be allowed within 500 metres of the Liberal leadership. He'll rewrite the party charter to include excerpts from the Book of Revelations and run on a platform of banning condom sales and instituting Compulsory Mass for the Dole.

- Quote from a "senior Liberal", post-Bennelong debacle: "f-cking Chinese". Dearie me: have they learned nothing?

- The Queensland electorate of Leichhardt topped off a highly entertaining six weeks by posting the biggest swing to Labor in the country. A bravura performance all round. But the title of most entertaining seat this time around must go to Wentworth. It had everything: silvertail businessman Malcolm Turnbull versus human rights lawyer George Newhouse, the political retaliation of an embittered ex, anti-Zionist campaign managers, the accipurpose revelation that Turnbull had sworn at the PM over Kyoto, an illegitimate candidacy and subsequent suppression of vital documents, the "girl talk"/political interference intrigue of Caroline Overington versus Danielle Ecuyer, and the soap operatic culmination on polling day, when Overington actually slapped Newhouse. Ah, the eastern suburbs.

- The talk is all about the Liberal implosion, but a secondary question - whither the Nats? - is equally salient considering Saturday's primary vote.

- One gets the impression Alan Ramsey has been waiting a long time to file this piece.

- Ditto Paul Keating.

- Between the seat losses and the leadership quitting, we have quite the star-studded death list: Howard, Costello, Vaile, Brough… hate to sound greedy, but couldn't we have squeezed Danna Vale in somewhere?

- Interesting times: the balance of power in the Senate will likely be shared among independent South Australian Nick Xenophon, Family First's Steve Fielding, and his mortal enemy, the Greens. God only knows what kind of under-the-table legislative deals we'll see this term.

- I know you're probably as worried as I was about how David "The Australian people are too smart to throw Howard out" Flint was handling the electoral heartbreak. Worry no more: apparently he survived.

- The young NSW quasi-fascist Alex Hawke is now a federal MP. He's an unashamed critic of the small-l liberal faction of his party and is said to have been instrumental in the downfall of John Brogden as NSW opposition leader. Be very afraid.

- Primary vote in Lindsay, home of the leaflet scandal: 38% Liberal, 52% Labor. Combined elected representatives of Pauline Hanson's party, One Nation, and the Muslim-bashing Christian Democrats: 0. We're getting there.

- In what may be an early sign that Rudd's prime ministership will, indeed, restore some compassion to the electorate, I actually feel a little sorry for Peter Costello right now. But I'm sure it will pass.


Diego Luego said...

The highlight of the night for me, was when the ABC's Kerry O'Brien, who has long had a difficult relationship with John Howard and the Liberals, quite lost the plot after he said words to the effect of "The swing to the ABC is holding at 5.8%" while talking about Bennelong.

You are probably right Kerry, but you weren't supposed to give the game away.

Diego Luego said...

On ABC radio, presumably speaking of David Clarke and his acolyte Alex Hawke, the NSW ex-Premier and ex-Federal Finance Minister, John Fahey said just as the looney left made Labor unelectable in years gone by, the religious right now made the Liberals unelectable in NSW.

The excellent John Fahey also feared for the Liberals nationally unless the right were cast into the wilderness where they belong.

BOFFA implied the same thing but much more circumspectly. I guess he has more to lose.