Monday, February 19, 2007

 

Politics in Oz

Well, I've been in Sydney for a fortnight and enjoyed it immensely. Food is terrific, opera-Marriage Figaro- was immaculate, circket- we got tickets for the SCG destruction of Ponting's men- and sun is endless along with the sky. But the politics? It is interesting and I've already become addicted to The Australian as my Guardian substitute. The things I'd pick out, in this election year for the Aussies are:

1. They have a PM who is trying to redefine his attitude to a vastly unpopular war and his dependence on a US relationship which has gone the same way. Howard's attack on Barack Obama for offering a kind of 'Terrorist's Charter' was poipular only with the White House and only confirms him as a Blairalike in his poodle like prostration to Bush.

2. They have a leader of the Opposition who also resembles Blair, not the one we know and of whom we're rather tired, b ut the one full of hbope in the mid nineties. He is genuinely clever- more so than Blair- and is superb on the media- though probably not quite as good a communicator as our very own old master manipulator.

3. They are in the middle of 'greening' their politics. Professor Tim Flannery was chosen 'Australian of the Year' last year for putting the subject on the map. Coal miners are up in arms but we'd expect that. Again, Howard is having to row back desperately on this issue on which he tended to shadow the White House until this year.

4. There is a political corrupion scandal rumbling in Western Australia- much worse, as a crime, it would seem than the Cash for Honours Blair is facing.

5. The national discourse is very abrasive. The father of the air hostess who allegedly had sex with Ralph Fiennes accused her detractors of jaelousy as 'they are all ugly as as a hatful of arses'. I liked that.

Will Kevin Rudd do a Blair and steam into power this year with his newish brand of Labor? It certainly looks like it but the polls show that while Rudd leads on education and health and green issues, Howard still leads on the economy, security and immigration. And Howard is no John Major but a battle hardened competitor who resembles their redoubtable cricketers more than our Consrervative politicians back in the nineties. So remarkable echoes of home but the next election is still too far away to call. {Oh, yes(sorry to go on about it), and I was there in the SCG to see ponting's men humbled by freddie and Collingwood. What a delight that was.]

Comments:
Skipper- On the Fieene Mess-- Going Down Under
Herdad Graham Robertson, was quoted as saying" Lisa just does her job and if someone wants a cup of coffee and biscuits, she looks after them." I guess bathroom sex is part of her $24,000 per year job. Check please.

Ba-Bye---Thank you for flying Qantas. Flight crew, you can now return your passengers to their upright positions.
 
Much sign of the red-green left skipper? I was in Melbourne for a couple of weeks shortly after 9-11 and the red-green lot were very well organised and had at least two impressive anti-war pro-green rallies while I was there.
 
Update
I note Labor have made further inroads into issue areras traditionally belonging to Howard: security and the economy and that they lead on the environment which is moving up quickly as a major issue. Also that Rudd's wife is accused of being mercenary in some dodgy share deal she's done. Who says Oz politics is all that different?
 
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