Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is Ted A Masochist?

AS readers of this blog may have noticed, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has been more than somewhat of a disappointment. There has been his willingness to break bread with those who, for all their amiable chatter over the clink of crockery, are just waiting to nail him as another jackbooted fascist, which the Left imagines all who do not vote Labor or Green to be. It will not matter when the moment comes that Big Ted is the Caspar Milquetoast of Australian conservatism, a man so mild he has done almost nothing to de-fund the activist groups which serve as skirmishers and extra-parliamentary auxiliaries for those currently on the opposition benches.

Is it a patrician disdain for brawling and head-kicking that inhibits Big Ted’s willingness to fight, or is that he has no firm conception of principles worth fighting for? Could it be that he listens far too much to Petro Georgiou and other soft-as-suet sorts who, having been rejected by their own party, linger yet in the wings to sow mischief and confuse the easily distracted? Or did Big Ted as a careless youth simply mail his membership application to the wrong party?

Whatever the answer, one thing about Ted is sure as eggs: regardless of his policies’ merits, his team has demonstrated a culpable inability to sell them to the electorate. The Age, that unfiltered conduit for opposition spin, provides an excellent example with this morning’s coverage of the anti-corruption watchdog Team Ted promised to establish when voters rejected Bracks and his cronies. Yes, it is in the Age, and yes, it must have gladdened Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews to see it there, but for once the newspaper is on the money. The watchdog should have more teeth and it does need a longer chain, as the current legislation does not match that of other states in giving probers the free hand that a desire to promote probity amongst public officials might suggest.

But that is beside the point. For those who shudder at the thought of Labor returning to government – a prospect that is but one heart attack or 30 months away – the question is why Big Ted’s team has done nothing to sell its watchdog, such as it is. The legislation arrived almost a year after its promised delivery, all questions about its whereabouts having been met with bland assurances that getting it right was more important than getting it done quick. The public was provided with no preliminary briefings about the government’s thinking -- information that would have laid a defence for the inevitable attacks on the finished product. For example, Team Ted intends to leave investigations of what you might call petty corruption in the hands of the Ombudsman. Perhaps a case can be mounted for this approach, perhaps it cannot – but the fact remains no preliminary attempt was ever made to do so. Hatched behind closed doors the legislation was thrown into the public arena to be savaged, as today’s Age does with barely concealed relish.

Baillieu should know he will always get grief from Fairfax and the ABC because his is a Liberal administration. To have invested so little care and effort in preparing to fend off those assaults speaks at best of innocence or, more likely, political incompetence. And in the case of the watchdog legislation it testifies to an inability to recognise opportunity. Had the legislation been a bit broader, a bit more inclusive, many of the stinky deals cut by Bracks and Brumby would have been available for investigation and, most important of all, headlines Is Team Ted's innocence so pronounced that it does not see the advantage in keeping enemies on the back foot?

Baillieu recently acquired the services of John Howard’s former staffer Tony Nutt, who replaced the divisive and unmourned Michael Kapel. Nutt is a pro, no doubt about that, but he needs to start earning his money – and kick-starting this government’s efforts to present its best face, to counter opposition moves before they are made, is the first and only place to start.

If Nutt does not get a wriggle on, even at the cost of making enemies, we can look forward to making the acquaintance of Premier Daniel Andrews in almost no time at all.   


  1. "AS readers of this blog may have noticed, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has been more than somewhat of a disappointment"
    Says a lot about the readers of this blog, and their position on the political continuum somewhere to the extreme right of Genghis Khan..........

    1. Now,now numbers.

      It is certainly an abuse of the host's forbearance and tolerance for you to come on here just to insult, quite unnecessarily and incorrectly, his readership, of which you seem to amongst the most avid.

      No one on here mocks you. You, at most, have been gently told some mild home truths. And to be totally honest I find your propensity to shoot yourself so often in one or another foot to be quite amusing.

      Now crawl back in your hole you nasty old fascist. I bet the students who suffered you still despise you.

    2. How, 1735099, do you assess Genghis Khan’s political beliefs, other than by assuming that anyone who conquers or kills millions of people ruthlessly must be right-wing? Were Stalin or Pol Pot right-wing?
      Was Genghis noted for a conservative adherence to royalty, or aristocratic privilege? Nope, he encouraged promotion based on merit.
      Was Genghis noted for supporting an established religious hierarchy or for having intolerant, racial views? Nope, he was particularly tolerant of religious and ethnic diversity.
      How, then, have you determined Genghis Khan’s “position on the political continuum”?

    3. "How, then, have you determined Genghis Khan’s “position on the political continuum”?

      By comparing his legacy to that of that other great hero of the Right, Adolf Hitler.

      See -
      "The invasion of Iran in 13th century by the three sons of Genghis Khan was brutal. Nearly three million perished in an act of genocide that finds its parallels only in the extermination of Jews and the Armenians in the 20th century."
      ("The Legacy of Genghis Khan" at LACMA
      A Commentary by Ahmad Kamron Jabbari)

  2. Teds lack of guts proves the party political thing is got up for Gigs,.You just have to look at the Self Serving Wankers who run the country today to see party politics is a total failure. if you were an Employer how many would you give a job to? Very few I would think. Abolish political parties ,elect public spirited citizens for one 3 year term ,forbid them standing again for at least three terms.make them govern by three monthly Referenda on ALL proposals.Eliminate Poliesuper and polliepensions MAKE Governmet and public service totally ACCOUNTABLE

  3. Gerry of Mentone said: If you're into democratic constitutional change, try this: "Early in Australia's history as a political federation, serious attempts were made to ensure that the country would be a real democracy, with Swiss-style citizens-initiated referenda, the right of recall of elected representatives, and other truly democratic features. Joseph Poprzeczny chronicles this little known chapter of Australian political history":

  4. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.March 10, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    NSW is a bit better but Bazza's timid government too only wins over Victoria by a rabbit's whisker. Let's hope in the big game bold Mr. Rabbit can do better, or just like Alice we will slide down the rabbit hole and will land in, perhaps, somewhere like the Elysian Fields of Greece. Once there Prof, the country could get done over by a not well-intentioned Satyr.

    It could happen just like that, in an epeuf (today's new 'robot' word rescued by Lizzie).