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September 07th 2010 print

John Izzard

Julia Regina!

The parliamentary system is now in the sort of mess that typified the Rudd/ Gillard government. Lack of policy - lack of inclusion by ALP Members of Parliament. One man, one woman control-freakery.

In Alice’s adventure in Through the Looking Glass, the nasty Red Queen is considered “the cause of all mischief”. Boy did Lewis Carroll get that bit right! 

Today the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party came to an end with the three-spout tea-pot pouring two cups for Julia Gillard and one cup for Tony Abbott. Looking Glass Land is looking curiouser and curiouser. With Gillard, now holding the Ace of Spades by securing the support of the two faux-conservatives, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott — in the most unconvincing display of pained anguish since Pontius Pilate’s plaintive call for a finger bowl— the country is headed for uncertainty and disarray. 

Thank you Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor. 

The two main tasks of any government is protection of borders and the gathering and spending of citizen’s money. In both of these the Rudd/Gillard Government failed miserably. Their record on nearly every aspect of sound government and policy was a mess, yet the Independents, Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, never questioned these issues. Instead they chose the Red Queen. They were always going to. The three had hatreds that were uppermost in their thoughts. They hid them well until August 21. 

The parliamentary system is now in the sort of mess that typified the Rudd/ Gillard government. Lack of policy – lack of inclusion by ALP Members of Parliament. One man, one woman control-freakery. Slickery and trickery. 

Spare a thought for the 145 candidates who were elected on 21 August and now represent the electorate you live in. Unlike the four Independents and the Green/Labor Member for Melbourne, your representative will NOT have weekly meetings with the Prime Minister or have, on demand, briefings with the heads of ALL the various government departments in Canberra. In fact unless they are Cabinet Ministers, it is doubtful that they will have access to the Prime Minister at all. But the Independents will! 

The nation now has three classes of Members of Parliament. The first are the Independents and the Green/Labor Member for Melbourne – they have the extra-special access privileges, set down in writing. The second class are the ministers of the government who have limited privileges-of-access. Then there are the ordinary Members of the House of Representatives – the ones you elected – they will have none. 

Also there is the business of pleading a case for your electorate, or indeed, pleading for a special interest in some matter or policy. The best that the 145 members of parliament can do is just – plead their case. If you are one of the privileged four Independents or the Green/Labor Member for Melbourne, you have the special power of demanding and insisting on what you want under the threat that you will withhold your vote. 

How the 145 other MHR’s view their reduction to third-class-Representatives is not known as they nearly all have been acutely silent on the matter. 

Well, this issue of privilege might have some sort of justification if say these Independents and the Green/Labor Member for Melbourne had an extra-special sort of enhanced brain-size or divine powers, or perhaps access to a parallel universe. You may then, just may, grant them the yet unknown, until now – Parliamentary Goldcard. 

Another issue in the two weeks of Mad Hatterness is the “special deals” done to garner the support of the Independents. These special deals have been done by Julia Gillard alone. When the ALP caucus meets next they won’t be given a chance to vote on whether they accept the Gillard deals. No, these are done deals. Strangely, it was the very same issue – ignoring caucus and ministers and treating them with contempt – that did-in Rudd. 

But the really curious thing about today’s press conference was when a clever sharp-eyed March Hare in the press-gang asked Rob Oakeshott whether he had been offered either a ministry by Julia Gillard as an added inducement to give her the tick. Em! An embarrassing moment. No straight reply. 

Again, the ALP Caucus members will have been sidelined if this comes to pass. 

The desperation to cling to power has certainly seen the last vestiges of honour and principle disappear down the rabbit hole and the once proud traditions of the Australian Labor Party. Statesmanship fades further from sight. 

As for the three “Conservative” Independents, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, and the tricky Andrew Wilkie…the best of luck. 

UPDATE: 

As for the three “Conservative” Independents, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, and the tricky Andrew Wilkie…the best of luck. As for Wilkie,Tim Blair put it well in his Daily Telegraph piece: 

The bloke’s resume features more exes than Zsa Zsa Gabor. He’s ex-Liberal, ex-Army, ex-Greens, ex-state candidate, ex-senate candidate, ex-US and ex-NSW. Becoming ex-Labor would only follow an established ex-ing pattern.

Meanwhile the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party just kept rolling on. There were the magic moments like when the pretender to the House of Windsor, (call me Tony) made the staggering and incriminating statement that if there were another election now, Tony Abbott would win. 

Meanwhile Rob Oakeshott, not to be outdone, and desperately seeking the title of March Hare stated during his 16 minute audition that “Julia Gillard didn’t have a mandate”. Oakeshott, who didn’t find it an embarrassment that the ALP handed out Oakeshott how-to-vote cards, carried on with the pretence that some sort of genuine process was undertaken by the three mainland Independents. In the wash-up, only Bob Katter seemed to be the genuine article in that respect. 

The Red Queen’s speech a few minutes later was a surprise as she morphed, before our very eyes, from Red Queen to “The Queen of Hearts”. The awful insincerity flowed in all directions – drip, drip,drip – as she attempted to paint the white-roses red. “We will be a gentler, more listening blah, blah, blah”. 

The ABC, true to form, spent the evening highlighting the lie that Julia Gillard had been elected by the people, which of cause she hadn’t. The largest vote had been for Tony Abbott, who out-voted her by 700,000 ballot papers. But as the ABC saw it, the ballot papers say what they want them to say — no more, no less. But the highlight of the day was Barnaby Joyce on Lateline. His best line was the new Green/Labor government was going to “cool the planet from a room in Canberra”. He also spotted the madness that this new mix of Green/Alp and Independent/ALP fellow-travellers are going to unleash.

Earlier on the show Bob Brown announced that the Green/ALP nexus was going to change the Constitution to recognise Aboriginal existence. Sorry Bob, but to do that you will need a referendum for that and that is never a certainty. 

Well people that was the first day. The party has just begun.