Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Baillieu Biffo?

WHILE all sensible Victorians were delighted last year to see the hindquarters of John Brumby, there has nevertheless been quite a bit of muttering in certain circles about the man who replaced him, Ted Baillieu. Not doing much and not doing it fast enough, that has been the complaint about Victoria’s new premier, who seems determined never to be mistaken for Jeff Kennett or any other exponent of the bold stroke. The voters want a sedate, make-no-waves government, critics are assured, one disinclined to spinning, stunts or sudden moves. Be patient, the line goes, we’re going to do this with small steps.

Some steps are little larger than others, however – and one of them is a very big leap indeed: the apparent defunding of Environment Victoria, an NGO that has been on the public teat through four decades of advocacy, lobbying and political activism. The Victorian National Parks Association, another mob of perpetually agitated greenards, is also being starved. And if what the Professor hears is true, the only thing stopping the immediate cessation of all funding to each organization is the tangled mass of grants and ongoing project payments, which Spring Street accountants are said to be still trying to sort out. Meanwhile, the bleating has started:

For over 40 years we’ve received funding from successive state governments to train and educate community leaders to engage in government environmental planning and decisions. And we receive funds to help the most disadvantaged Victorians, including newly arrived refugees, save water and energy. Our campaigns are not funded by the state nor are our core expenses such as rent and administration. So if we lose state funds, it’s our environment and the most disadvantaged amongst us who will bear the brunt!

Notice the dishonesty? Environment Victoria would have us believe that money is not fungible, that government funds earmarked for one matter do not free up cash for  organising rallies, hiring more propagandists, letter-writing campaigns and such.

They are going to scream green murder as the pipeline shuts down, so Big Ted’s backbone will be tested when the group’s PR unit begins a parade of tree-loving boat people for the newsroom stenographers at the Phage and ABC. For a premier who has eschewed confrontation, it could be an uncomfortable time. If so, he can draw strength from this piece by Michael Connor of Quadrant, who wonders why conservative parties habitually fund their sworn enemies. Connor is writing of the arts crowd, not greenards, but his broader point stands.

Let us hope that Baillieu discovers a formerly unrecognised talent for putting the boot in. There are plenty of other, publicly funded front groups in need of a good stomping.


  1. Oh hoorah! This is happy news indeed!

  2. Someone should introduce them to the art of busking, perhaps street-corner theatre.


  3. PhillipGeorge(c)2011June 28, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Ted got something right; smelling salts were commonly perceived to be less astringent to the senses.

  4. Pedro the IgnorantJune 29, 2011 at 1:06 AM


    They better get out the chook raffle books. Good on you, Ted.

  5. Great to see Ted has pulled his finger out on something.
    Ah The Yarts!!
    The Meerkat remembers Sir Les Patterson being interviewed from his Sylvania Waters home by Ray Martin in 1980's when the budget had been released.
    Ray Martin: "Well Sir Les how do do you see the budget in relation to the arts?"
    Sir Les: "Quite frankly, that's street Gorilla theater buggered and if they keep it up they'll bugger Lesbian puppet theater as well!!"
    Ray Martin: "What do you think of the petrol price increase?"
    Sir Les: "racist!!!"
    Ray Martin: "pardon ???"
    Sir Les: " I feel very bloody sorry for petrol sniffing aborigines I do."

  6. I despised Sir Joe Bejelke Peterson ( not an ideology thing, I am a politician despiser - full stop) but I loved watching him preform by kicking the media to death ( I loath the media more than pollies).
    This pandering to green groups and media is nothing but appeasing bullies, they will hit you harder for being weak.
    The public loved Joe's attacks on the sanctimonious media but unfortunately Pollies today are coached by PR hacks who are part of the "media machine".
    Pollies need to sack the PR dweebs, pick up the sword and carve 'em up !