Peter Smith

Sleepers awake

I reckon Messrs Oakeshott and Windsor are sleepers put in place originally by Arthur Calwell, ready to turn overtly left if ever there were a hung parliament. Arthur, if you recall, was thwarted by Menzies by one just seat in 1961 and swore secret retribution. The plan brilliantly executed was to brainwash particularly gullible, simple-minded and idealistic children. They were fed constant diets of the evils that men and markets do when not constrained by benevolent government. Each night they were rewarded with ice cream and utopian visions of a government-controlled world where everyone loved everyone.

When grown they were instructed to join the Nationals to establish their conservative credentials. They were then to suffer fits of pique, leave the Nationals, and stand as independents on the vote-winning pretext of wanting to do better for their rural electorates. As independents they were ready to spring. And spring they did.

Is all of this too farfetched? Perhaps. But consider their statements and explanations – well-drilled, long-winded bafflegab to confuse us all into thinking that theirs was a wretchedly difficult knife-edged decision; when all the time they seemed to be pinker than the Greens.

One of the hallmarks of socialism and socialists, as Job lamented in a different context, is windy words without end. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping recently called for an end to long-winded speeches during a long-winded speech. Oakeshott would surely challenge VP Jinping. Oakeshott’s announcement of his decision, following many excruciatingly circumlocutory press conferences, was honed to such drawn-out tedium to make us plead for a decision, any decision, just to make him stop. Water boarding is now redundant. All the CIA has to do is employ Oakeshott to threaten to make a speech. Terrorists would become putty in its hands. Surely this is evidence of his socialist indoctrination and left-wing affiliation.

Though less wordy than his comrade, Windsor confessed that though his electorate was not enamoured of the Greens he had no difficulty with them. He has no difficulty apparently then with no more coal mines (in fact no more mines if the truth be spoken), no mining and export of uranium, the imposition of death duties, higher taxes on the rich, super profits tax on mining, higher taxes on companies generally, a debilitating carbon tax, reducing ruminant gasses, and open borders. Oakeshott appears to have the same lack of difficulty as does Windsor and goes one better in contemplating the generous offer by Gillard of a position in the Labor ministry. Mind you, that, he assures us, had nothing to do with his decision. I believe him on this occasion because his decision was already made; well before election night.

Look too at their clever trapping of Abbott on the budget costings. Oppositions’ costings never survive a Treasury analysis that’s why oppositions don’t submit their costings. In this case, we have a politicised Treasury that was bound to discover black holes. You can imagine them burning the midnight oil to find every last one of them. Probably Swan put Oakeshott or Windsor up to this because they might not have thought of it themselves. Surely Oakeshott and Windsor knew the score on costings, Katter put it into perspective, but it was not information they wanted but ammunition for propaganda; and didn’t Windsor make capital of it. Absolutely no capital was made of the MRRT black hole or of the lack of any cost benefit analysis of the $43 billion NBN.

Once sleepers come out of the closet their game is up. We can see them for what they are. In this case they are green lefties who face all of the responsibility and accountability for putting a minority Labor-Greens alliance into government. This is an alliance; Bob Brown’s grin was as big as Julia’s.

The two so-called independents from conservative-leaning electorates should not be let off the hook for a second because they have not been what they seemed to be. They have fooled their electorates; although I am to too sure whether they fooled Barnaby. He seemed to have their number on election night.

If new mining development is stymied and we get destructive taxes on mining and carbon then the finger should be pointed squarely at them. If we find the budget blowing out and interest rates continuing to rise, again we know who should be blamed. If asylum seekers start coming in greater numbers maybe it should be suggested, albeit with irony, that they are housed in the electorates of New England and Lyne as a reminder to these electorates to be careful who they vote for next time. The best fun might be had by observing Oakeshott, if he becomes a minister, keeping to four minutes in replying to questions without notice. He might never get past his preamble.

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