Can it be four years since loyal Bill declared on Sky News that he supported what his then-leader, Julia Gillard, said about Peter Slipper, while not actually knowing what it was? So, when it came to the crucial leadership vote between Gillard and Rudd, Bill supported Rudd. He said he didn’t think it was his job to be a “public worrywart” in the lead up to the spill. But he seems to have done a good job of that since!
Bill was elected Leader of the Opposition by 40.08% of Australian Labor Party Members. If only the rules didn’t insist on his Parliamentary colleagues having a deciding vote. As Bill said at the time “party members have provided us with unequivocal support” — except for the other 59.92%.
This is the Bill who says he’ll “put people first”. Where else would you put them? Down a fairy penguin’s burrow? Second to the robots or wheelie bins?
Bill’s education policy claims “your child” is “our future”. Did Oliver’s Fagin use that line? Or was it the woman in the gingerbread house who met Hansel and Gretel? What’s important is that Bill claims his mob at the ALP “see the future”. Not only that, but he plans to “make our future renewable”. Is he channelling Michael J. Fox, or is it Nostradamus.
What’s so important about a “renewable future” that does away with “fossils”. He’s thinking of old-fashioned miners, whose jobs Bill predicts will vanish due to low commodity prices. By the way, Bill, where do you stand on the huge new coal mine in the Galilee Basin your Queensland colleagues recently approved? Its coal is likely to be exported to help bring electricity’s life-brightening benefits to hundreds of millions of Indians, amongst others.
When it comes to Australia’s almighty deficit, what Bill is “doing” is “budget repair that’s fair”. He has said he will divert our superannuation to “turbocharge infrastructure Australia”. But much of the same superannuation of the “very well off” he wants to take in taxes to help repair the budget. Perhaps Bill will find a new way to have his cake and eat it. Let us hope it is a warm cake, because his intolerance for cooler pies and the shopkeepers who sell them is well known.
If elected, Bill will “let the experts get on and be the experts”. Be steadfast, Tim “Dry Dams” Flannery, your day — and those nice six-figure cheques for a part-time gig doing nothing much, will come again.
Yet, as Bill concluded in his 2015 Budget reply, “Australia must get smarter, or we will get poorer”. Which leads finally to Bill’s best insight, although undoubtedly unintended: “The government’s used the term ‘Team Australia’ a lot. I’m worried about the emergence of ‘Team Idiot’.” Quite so.