“I don’t think there can be any doubt,” announced visionary Chris Sheil in December, “that the conservative working class vote has come home to Labor.” To trash the place, evidently:

Kim Beazley’s polling has crashed to its worst level in his seven years as Opposition Leader and Labor’s gains have been wiped out by weeks of internal bloodletting …

Voter support for Mr Beazley as preferred prime minister dropped nine points to just 18 per cent … federal Labor has lost its month-long two-party-preferred lead over the Coalition, with its support dropping back to what it was before the new industrial relations laws were passed last year and the breaking of the AWB wheat scandal.

Mr Howard shot farther ahead of Mr Beazley as the preferred prime minister, with an increase in support from 53 to 61 per cent, while the Labor leader’s support fell nine points.

Just after the tenth anniversary of his election as Prime Minister, voters now prefer Mr Howard to Mr Beazley in that role by a ratio of three to one.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/13/2006 at 08:08 PM
  1. The class shift from Working to Middle Class should always have been the philosophy of the ALP.

    It’s all about wanting better!

    It’s all about aspirational politics.

    The Left of the ALP want workers to stay workers. The Right of the ALP want workers to have a better life.

    That is the essential philosophical struggle within the ALP over the past ten years.

    Posted by WeekByWeek on 2006 03 13 at 08:23 PM • permalink

  2. Maybe if the ALP ditched its sneering contempt of the working class (Mcmansion man etc etc), the so-called ‘workers’ party’ might just start making some electoral gains for a change. Don’t hold your breath, though.

    Posted by EliotNess on 2006 03 13 at 08:38 PM • permalink

  3. One poll, Tim. Still I’ve never been much of a Beazley fan.

    Posted by mark_bahnisch on 2006 03 13 at 08:38 PM • permalink

  4. Yeah Mark.  One poll and seven years on the subs bench.

    Posted by murph on 2006 03 13 at 08:43 PM • permalink

  5. Actually Mark, its been every single poll that counts.

    Posted by Harry Buttle on 2006 03 13 at 08:47 PM • permalink

  6. Maybe one poll, but how many losses at the polls? (You know, the ones that matter).

    Posted by EliotNess on 2006 03 13 at 08:49 PM • permalink

  7. As Paul Keating would say:

    “A beautiful set of numbers”

    Just curious Mark - who is your choice for Labor leader if The Bomber fell under a bus (and reports are just coming in of a convoy of about 500 busses heading for Canberra right now…)?

    Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 03 13 at 09:34 PM • permalink

  8. Slot Rudd in as Opposition Leader. That would guarantee another electoral loss for Labor.

    Posted by lingus4 on 2006 03 13 at 09:42 PM • permalink

  9. Labor needs a person of subtlety and skill so it can rise from the ashes.

    I’m thinking Mark Latham

    Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 03 13 at 09:59 PM • permalink

  10. Could Chris Sheil possibly shove his lefty boof-head any further up his arse if he tried?

    Posted by EliotNess on 2006 03 13 at 10:06 PM • permalink

  11. Wasn’t Crean’s getting into Beazley’s limo yesterday just priceless?  He must have been dreaming he’s leader once more.  Then he blamed the driver for being in the wrong spot, just as the ALP blames the stupid aspirational voters for giving Howard 10 glorious years. I thought Latham was the gift that keeps on giving, but Crean & Beazley, and just lately Gillard, are doing a magnificent job.

    Posted by KK on 2006 03 13 at 10:27 PM • permalink

  12. It’s all about wanting better! It’s all about aspirational politics.

    WeekbyWeek — That is the HEIGHT of social irresponsibility!  The workers should be prepared to sacrifice for the common good, and we of the Labor Party will descend from our townhouses and condominiums as often as we have to tell them that…

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 03 13 at 10:38 PM • permalink

  13. #10, I think he’s been there, done that already.

    Posted by Nic on 2006 03 13 at 10:50 PM • permalink

  14. Sheila strikes again…

    Posted by crash on 2006 03 13 at 10:57 PM • permalink

  15. 18%? If we subtract the 5% for the insane and infirm, 5% for relatives and 5% for people who owe him money reall that just leaves the family dog.  Not happy John!

    Posted by allan on 2006 03 13 at 11:00 PM • permalink

  16. The way ahead for Labor is all quite easy really as Paul Norton points out in the link -

    If I may be permitted a reversion to Marxism, I think it depends on how class-conscious the Australian bourgeoisie will be over the next couple of years.

    Paul, Maaate, feel free to revert and insist that all your friends do so as well. As long as you all subject the Australian populace to this sort of pseudo-scientific Marxist drivel, the Coalition will get itself elected with a Fordson tractor as its leader.

    Pity you couldn’t squeeze in the word “proletariat” somewhere though, it would have made your Marxist reversion submission more smarter.

    Posted by Whale Spinor on 2006 03 13 at 11:03 PM • permalink

  17. Fast forward all this about 6-12 months you’ll be hearing from nearly every corner of the MSM how Labor have their shit together and are a credible force ready to take government. Whoever steps in to take over from Beazley will be the new darling and should Bomber survive he will of course have undergone the “necessary changes” to make him a credible alternative PM.
    Second guessing the lefty MSM seems like ground hog day when it comes to watching them try to get their great-white-hopes across the line.

    Posted by Hank Reardon on 2006 03 13 at 11:09 PM • permalink

  18. As much as I hate the fat bastard, you have to admit that he’s one of the greatest assets the Libs have. Provided Kim is leader of the opposition, they will always be just that…. the opposition.

    Posted by Karl Fidel Adams-Kingston on 2006 03 13 at 11:10 PM • permalink

  19. The weird thing is that Beazley is closest of Labor leaders to the aspirants in matters like defence, the economy and the US alliance. Pity for Kim he’s a big windbag.

    Posted by slatts on 2006 03 13 at 11:17 PM • permalink

  20. I agree slatts, at heart he isn’t a bad bloke. He has the twin misfortune to have to work with a bunch of snakes in the grass, and an incumbent in Government who owns a value system very close to Bomber’s true self…
    The result is he can’t trust any of his colleagues, and he comes across as inconvincing whenever he tries to have a go at Howard.

    Posted by entropy on 2006 03 13 at 11:24 PM • permalink

  21. I dare say Beazley is simply a prime example of what happens to more or less sensible politicians who made the unfortunate decision to join the center-left party rather than the center-right one in their youth. 30+ years of dealing with demented far-left guys as colleagues will kill any guy’s spirits.

    Posted by PW on 2006 03 13 at 11:38 PM • permalink

  22. #19, 20 - Agree with you both. I had 20 years in Defence and he was regarded by most of star rank as one of the best Ministers they’d worked with. Cf Ian Sinclair who as one told me, “treated it as an enhancement to his social life”. But Bomber is surrounded buy a bunch of squabbling factional apparatchiks who give the impression of being incapable of running a piss-up in a brewery, let alone a country. And he appears unwilling/incapable of doing anything about it.

    Maybe he should just gracefully retire and smell the roses.

    Posted by Whale Spinor on 2006 03 13 at 11:49 PM • permalink

  23. #20 he isn’t a bad bloke, he’s a lame, blubbery, pompous, policy-free zone of antarctic blankness & boundless self-importance. he can’t communicate with the poor slobs with ordinary jobs & mortgages because he has a fundamental contempt for them.  he can barely stand to be in company with the rank & file of his own party.  he can’t trust his colleagues because they can’t trust him.  he comes across as unconvincing because he is unconvincing: in any debate he is on the back foot because he never does his homework & tries to make up for it by bluster & using words that aren’t in the vocab of anyone educated in the shambolic state school system run by the socialist left of ALP

    Posted by KK on 2006 03 13 at 11:50 PM • permalink

  24. by a bunch….. read your work

    Posted by Whale Spinor on 2006 03 13 at 11:54 PM • permalink

  25. Maybe he should just gracefully retire and smell the roses.

    Given his proximity, policy wise, to the Libs, how much better would his life had been if he had crossed the floor a year ago ... he might have been Defense Minister by now.

    Posted by 2BarRiff on 2006 03 13 at 11:58 PM • permalink

  26. Marxism?

    “I don’t want to be a member of a club that would have someone like me for a member.”

    That kind of Marxism?

    Peter Garret for Eternal Opposition Leader. At least they could bounce laser beams off his dome and have a disco in the House when Question Time gets too boring.

    Posted by LeftieLatteLover on 2006 03 14 at 12:03 AM • permalink

  27. Voter support for Mr Beazley as preferred prime minister dropped nine points to just 18 per cent, the same figure made famous in a 1988 edition of The Bulletin magazine when John Howard was struggling in the polls. The headline read “Why on earth does this man bother?”

    in that case, i think it’s time for a beazleyesque, 2006 version of the “why on earth” cover

    make it happen, tim

    Posted by benson swears a lot on 2006 03 14 at 12:25 AM • permalink

  28. I like latte. Don’t like chardonnay. Totally puke at Costello. But as somebody said earlier - if they dump fatso and JH retires we might end up the rabble.

    Posted by Rainbow on 2006 03 14 at 12:31 AM • permalink

  29. I don’t quite understand.  According to the above it was 53-27 AND THEN things fell apart!

    You blokes sure do have a funny definition of what might constitute contention.

    53-27 isn’t even McGovern country.

    That is really great news.  How about some of those points for the home team up here in 2008!

    Posted by yojimbo on 2006 03 14 at 12:48 AM • permalink

  30. Yojimbo, don’t go worrying your purty head, the Dems will figure out some way to screw the pooch in 2008.  Me, I’m personally hoping that Hillary! gets nominated.  Fish in a barrel, fish in a barrel, BABEEE!  (Said in a Dick Vitale voice.)

    (For non-Americans, Dick Vitale is a permanently amped-up college basketball announcer on ESPN.  He “invented” numerous idiotic terms:  “Diaper Dandy” = A freshman (i.e., first year) player, “PTP’er = Prime Time Player, a player that plays great in important games, and at the end of games.  He frequently ends his sentences with “BABEE”.  He’s fun as hell to listen to.)

    Posted by David Crawford on 2006 03 14 at 01:24 AM • permalink

  31. Red Kerry ripped into Bomber last night on 7.30 report, humiliating to watch.  Reading between the lines, Red Kerry is furious that Bomber is (again) letting the team down. Nice way to show your feelings Kerry, always the gentleman.

    But I do like this line from LP, ”...we progressives…”

    Posted by rog on 2006 03 14 at 01:24 AM • permalink

  32. # 22 I had 20 years in Defence and he was regarded by most of star rank as one of the best Ministers they’d worked with.

    Thankfully those star rank officers are all pensioned off. All Kim Beazley ever did as Defence Minister was perpetuate Paul Dibb’s and Hugh White’s “Defence of Australia” myth that left the ADF unable to mount or sustain a decent expeditionary force.

    Posted by Oafish and Infantile on 2006 03 14 at 01:45 AM • permalink

  33. Poor old Labor eh…  what a mess they have turned into… 

    Beazley while seemingly a half decent bloke is increasingly looking unelectable….

    Rudd is probably the smartest of the bunch, but his ernestly delivered, word-perfect lectures make him seem more than a bit nerdy….  like the dux of the class who all the normal kids have nothing in common with he seems like he would hardly relate to any normal Labor voters views, instead lecturing them about how little they know…  i mean in this article he accuses some MP’s of being Japanese “kabuki” play actors….  now i don’t think u could come up with an insult more designed to go straight over the heads of most Labor pollies with a back ground in union argy bargy politics…  most of them wouldn’t have a clue what he was rabbiting on about, nor would most Labor voters…

    Gillard has the double whammy of being a woman trying to be elected by the nation when we usually like to play it safe and go for know quantities, and she also comes across as a bit of a cold fish like Kevin…  those two seemingly have no personal warmth or connection with the electorate…  there’s a lot to be said for pollies and leaders who have a sense of humour and can laugh at themselves, like a Bush, Blair or a Howard…  like Keating, i just think those two don’t have it???  and Medicare Gold is hardly a piece of policy to hang your hat on is it???

    and the biggest dud of all, the deputy opposition leader Jenny Macklin…  i mean what a non event!!!  what portfolio is she even spokesperson for???  i mean if ever there was testament to the types of mediocricies back room, factional dealings throw up its her???

    so where is the person in there ranks with the common touch, able to relate to australian electorate and provide leadership in a time of international troubles???  who isn’t like Beazley, so close to what we have already that your average voter would just elect to stay with the original and best, tried and true team we have that has already delivered so much prosperity for so long, and haven’t really provided any reason for people to want to risk changing horses…

    the Libs would really have to lose this next election rather than Labor win it, sort of like they did in 1993 when Keating seemed to foolishly believe he had won over the electorate, when all he had really done was delay his political execution another 3 years by running the biggest scare campaign u could imagine….  his win was really an aberration as i think everyone was expecting him to be hammered….  so the last truly successful Labor leader in his own right was Hawke, and i don’t think most of this current crop of Labor hopefuls have his connection to the Australian people, his charisma and other political talents he had, even if he was only running against that lame duck, w*nker Fraser!!!!!

    Posted by casanova on 2006 03 14 at 02:08 AM • permalink

  34. Something else to consider, at the end of 10 years the Libs are maintaining if not increasing their edge whereas at the end of 10 years the Labor Govt was creaking and groaning from all their self inflicted hits…the recession we had to have…banana republic…

    Posted by rog on 2006 03 14 at 02:24 AM • permalink

  35. Well the last time they were in power, they were there for 13 years, but even that wasn’t a very convincing performance, i mean if Joh hadn’t split the conservative vote in ‘87 who knows what would have happened, didn’t the Libs actually get more votes in ‘90 than Labor, but Richardson had skillfully latched onto the Green/environmentalist cause to help them stay in power…  then Hewson lost the unloseable election in ‘93?????

    so a fairly unconvincing, creaky old 13 years in power even with a fairly lame opposition for much of it….  and prior to that Labor had only been in government for 3 years out of the previous 33 years or so???  i mean if you had much intention of making a difference in politics you’d wonder why u would even join the Labor party after that fairly average record of the last half of the century, with only 16 years out of 50 or so in power…. 

    and its not exactly looking promising at the start of this century either, with the decline of the orgnised union movement and increase in aspirational voters and growth in self employment etc, unless the Libs decide to become unelectable…

    Posted by casanova on 2006 03 14 at 02:46 AM • permalink

  36. I think the main reason there’s so little mood for change is that a) the economy is fairly stable, if being regularly plundered; b) the briefest glimpse at any state government gives punters a good idea of what they’d be in for if the more fruity factions filtered federally; and c) they’ve already got a Sweden-style mild socialist government that pays lip service to free enterprise and capitalism, why swap it for another with an even more fractious management committee?

    I’d love to see some actual real schism in Australian politics on old-style left/right principles rather than the bland, wishy-washy intrude and spend morass we are presented with from both sides every three years- little wonder I haven’t bothered registering to vote since ‘96.

    What a pack of maroons.

    Posted by Habib on 2006 03 14 at 02:54 AM • permalink

  37. As much as I delight in the ALP’s opinion poll pain, I place no credence in them.

    I think all that polls indicate are a disengaged voting public’s recollection of a story he or she may have read or viewed through that particular week. Connect that with an historic disposition and we get a 50/50 split between parties give or take a few %.

    It seems like a scorecard for media types to check the level of influence they exert through opinion and reporting.

    Polls fill the newspace.

    I concur with PM JH on this matter( always wise ) Voters don’t engage until 5 or 6 weeks till elections.

    Until then Polls are more like a trivia quiz.

    Posted by gubbaboy on 2006 03 14 at 03:15 AM • permalink

  38. Well I wouldn’t necessarily write-off the Labor 13 years too blithely. I think any government to hang around for four or more elections has to rely on a bit of luck with events and a fairly incompetent opposition but are also probably doing something right.

    I remember how hard it was as a young coalition inclined voter in the 80s. Everyone seemed to love Hawke.  The Libs alternated uninspiringly between Peacock and Howard . Hawke and Keating were moving on the economic reforms and, although not actually doing anything much, mouthed all the right platitiudes about aboriginals etc It was very hard to argue what you’d actually get from voting coalition and there seemed no end to future labor governments.

    I imagine its what labor voters go through now.

    So what do i say to those labor voters, with the wisdom gained through living through a similar dark age for my side of politics?


    Posted by Francis H on 2006 03 14 at 03:28 AM • permalink

  39. The worst result for the Libs would be some-one like Lindsay Tanner coming through as a ‘compromise’ candidate.  He’s actually vaguely able to articulate some sense from time to time.  Yes, bullshit most of the time, but that’s normal.

    Although having said that, he’s always operated from the safety of the sidelines and if he did get the gig, Julia and Kevin would be gunning for him full time.

    #27 Benson - I agree; the Bulletin needs a cover like their 18% Howard one - possibly the most oft quoted magazine headline ever.

    Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 03 14 at 03:39 AM • permalink

  40. Most oft quoted in Oz, that is

    Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 03 14 at 03:40 AM • permalink

  41. Who are the working class?

    Keep the workers in their place, Chris?

    Posted by Major Anya on 2006 03 14 at 03:49 AM • permalink

  42. it has however lost some of its impact in terms of why someone would bother going on, now that history has shown that he went on to become Prime Minister and the second longest serving one at that…

    that would be the obvious come back…..

    and Labor have a lot of second raters, like the roosters and fergusons and tanners etc…  i just don’t see that lot as cut out to lead from the front, more sort of back room types i get the impression….

    Posted by casanova on 2006 03 14 at 03:51 AM • permalink

  43. #27 Benson - I agree; the Bulletin needs a cover like their 18% Howard one - possibly the most oft quoted magazine headline ever.

    Most people don’t remember, however, that the article actually predicted Howard would eventually become PM.

    Posted by Quentin George on 2006 03 14 at 04:23 AM • permalink

  44. Labor is a party of middle-class salariat usually accorded a prosperous lifestyle by the client-state. They own no means of production, merely lease them in the CBD to sell legal services, PR-influence-peddling, and media.

    Their main role in life is to guarantee a flow of funds to their own quangoes and lobby groups, and to look for some campaign they can use to vilify a particular group in society and focus their media/PR friends on a feeding frenzy while they cook nice little financial deals with the media barons.

    They have created a modern priesthood of self-aggrandisement and using the State much as the medieval monarch did to encroach on every area of life to the detriment of the nation

    Posted by Voyager on 2006 03 14 at 04:50 AM • permalink

  45. # 33 Casanova,

    so where is the person in there ranks with the common touch, able to relate to australian electorate and provide leadership in a time of international troubles???

    I didn’t like him at the time and the man was badly flawed but, let’s face it, they need fukkin’ Bob Hawke.  Or at least the 21st Century equivalent of Hawkie - the real one has turned into a silly old fart, while his basically 1970’s corporate-socialist agenda is now way out of date.

    But at least he had the common touch and the electorate basically liked him and related to him.  He won for Labor every time he stood - but Labor can’t stand too much success and dumped him for Keating.  How weird is that, in retrospect?


    Posted by TFK on 2006 03 14 at 05:02 AM • permalink

  46. My old Dad used to say that successive leaders of the Labor Party would not know a worker if one came up and kicked them in the balls. Well, I guess we can finally put the theory to the test.

    Posted by AlphaMikeFoxtrot on 2006 03 14 at 05:03 AM • permalink

  47. #45 TFK

    I think that’s where Bill Shorten’s designed to come in.  “The acceptable face of union hacks”.  Married the daughter of a millionaire Liberal ex pollie (Julian Beale - that’s the father, not the wife…), good ‘moderate’ patter, relative clean-skin, doesn’t frighten the horses.

    BUT - a few interesting snippets in the papers yesterday re one of Julia’s boyfriends NOT mentioned on the anodyne ‘Australian Story’ profile.  Apparently Billy Boy mixed up in some rorting shennanigans re Julia’s ex beau (and no, I can’t be bothered supplying links AND I’ve probably distorted things a bit.)

    No reaction from the Libs - I dare say saving it up for when they need it.

    Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 03 14 at 05:16 AM • permalink

  48. Mark if you can read this, please come back the ALP needs you. Maybe you could give Beazley a ticker transplant.

    Posted by cjblair on 2006 03 14 at 05:20 AM • permalink

  49. Hahahahahaha.

    Posted by arrowhead ripper on 2006 03 14 at 05:20 AM • permalink

  50. #39- Yep, Tanner’s the pick of the litter.  But looking at the choices they make - Beazley, Crean, Latham - clearly electability doesn’t count for much in the ALP these days.

    Posted by slammer on 2006 03 14 at 05:34 AM • permalink

  51. Kimbo may have done better in life had he ever held down a real job.  However, it’s a qualification that prevents pre-selection for the ALP.  No wonder the whole swag of “left luggage” that constitutes the ALP is permanently divorced from reality.

    Posted by Ubique on 2006 03 14 at 05:52 AM • permalink

  52. Given his proximity, policy wise, to the Libs, how much better would his life had been if he had crossed the floor a year ago ... he might have been Defense Minister by now.

    Would’ve never happened - Kimbo’s faithful to the party in memory of his dear departed dad, Kim Beazley Sr.

    Irony that for a “working man’s party”, the ALP has more dynasties than the conservatives.

    Heck, Crean and Beazley played together as children while they’re respective dads (Frank and Kim Sr.) were ministers.

    Kim Sr. apparently loathed (and was loathed by) Whitlam. There’s a point in the family’s favour.

    Posted by Quentin George on 2006 03 14 at 05:56 AM • permalink

  53. his dear departed dad, Kim Beazley Sr.

    Beazley Sr is still alive, I think

    Posted by benson swears a lot on 2006 03 14 at 06:47 AM • permalink

  54. I just paid my tax bill.  48.5%. F**k Costello.

    Posted by Rainbow on 2006 03 14 at 07:07 AM • permalink

  55. Somehow, I don’t think Crean and Beazley played together as children when their fathers were ministers. These guys are both on their 50s, and their dad were ministers in the Whitlam government 31-34 years ago, while these guys would have been at uni.

    More likely, they would have played as kids when their dads were shadow ministers in Calwell’s front bench in the early 60’s.

    Posted by Oafish and Infantile on 2006 03 14 at 07:10 AM • permalink

  56. Oh yeah, Kim Sr was the one who famously said that the Labor Party once attracted the cream of the working class, but now attracted the dregs of the middle class.

    And he said that more than 30 years ago.

    Posted by Oafish and Infantile on 2006 03 14 at 07:11 AM • permalink

  57. Here’s the full quote:

    “When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now, all I see are the dregs of the middle class. When will you middle class perverts stop using the Labor Party as a cultural spittoon?” - Kim Beazley Snr to an ALP State Conference, circa 1970

    Bloody hell, I’d vote for this bloke. Pity he’s retired.

    Posted by Oafish and Infantile on 2006 03 14 at 07:18 AM • permalink

  58. #47 Stop Continental Drift! (great name!),

    Shorten can project a fairly “don’t frighten the horses image” and, being an AWU hack, has plenty of experience of cutting deals with company managements that are clearly in the best interests of the negotiating parties, if not those absent from the table who are supposedly being “represented”.  So yes, some in the business community think he is the best of a bad lot of potential ALP leaders.

    But I remain unimpressed.  The man is an intellectual lightweight, despite his pretensions to the contrary.  In contrast, Kevin Rudd annoys the shit out of me and has never learnt when to keep his mouth shut (the greatest art of opposition, if you ask me) but at least he has two brain cells to rub together.

    In fact, Rudd is a smart guy.  A pain in the arse, but a smart guy.  In the midst of a party with its fair share of fruitbats, he generally supports fairly reasonable policy positions and is a great supporter of the US alliance - which is an acid test of potential national leaders for me.  Whether he could win an election is another matter, but I think he is the ALP’s best candidate.

    As for Shorten, the best comment I have seen made about him was a withering, if rather subtle, put-down by John Button that I heard recently.  For Aussie youngsters and our US buddies, Button was Industry Minister in Bob Hawke’s Labor Government from 1983 - a very competent minister (for Labor) and a serious policy maker respected by people on both sides of politics.  I’ll paraphrase him but what Button said of Shorten is “Bill Shorten is a man of great ability and a future leader of the Labor Party - he has told me so on many occasions”.

    They don’t come better than that.  That little quote tells you all you need to know about Bill Shorten.


    Posted by TFK on 2006 03 14 at 07:19 AM • permalink

  59. #57

    I think that’s problem with the ALP. It’s daddy had the job, so I’m next in line.  We take the piss out of North Korea, but hey - look at the ALP - we have Beazley, Crean, Ferguson, that old union f**kwit from QLD and his senator son, and so it goes on.  We should change the constitution - “If daddy was a pollie, then f**k off and get a real job”

    Posted by Rainbow on 2006 03 14 at 07:32 AM • permalink

  60. Beazley Sr is still alive, I think

    So he is. Could’ve sworn he died a few years ago…

    More likely, they would have played as kids when their dads were shadow ministers in Calwell’s front bench in the early 60’s.

    Yep, I think that’s what I meant. I inadvertantly left out “shadow”...

    Posted by Quentin George on 2006 03 14 at 07:44 AM • permalink

  61. #41, The Working Class are all those people who spend 50 to 60 hours a week in their office, enjoying the fruits of a booming economy.

    The Working Class are also those two plus million Australians who put in a full week’s work but still can’t afford to buy a home for their families.

    Posted by LeftieLatteLover on 2006 03 14 at 07:48 AM • permalink

  62. #61
    I emigrated to Australia in 1988. Worked real hard, very long hours. If I had been unionised I would have been part of Bob Hawkes “Accord” - ie work hard boyo, but never ask for more (it’ll rock the union boat).  It took me about 2 days to work out that “Hawkes” workers were duds, mere mules to slaving to some politicians fantasy.

    Still love Australia though - just pissed off with those who seem to hate the place - compared to where I came from , this is heaven.

    Posted by Rainbow on 2006 03 14 at 08:07 AM • permalink

  63. Well said Rainbow,we’re with you.
    In a scary kind of way Rudd reminds me of Bazza Quizz Master Jones…the same condescending nerdiness..
    as for Gillard ..isn’t she Tony Abbot in drag?

    Posted by crash on 2006 03 14 at 08:20 AM • permalink

  64. #32 - only just got back to this, but when you say “thankfully those star rank officers are all pensioned off”, you are wrong. A couple are still there, and the Colonels then, who are in the upper echelons now, know the history of who were good Ministers of Defence and who weren’t. And they don’t base their assessments on political lines, they base it upon what is good for the military. The Bomber might be a crappy leader of the opposition but he was a very good Minister of Defence. My wife, whose late husband was a WO1 and served in Vietnam, is forever grateful for his review of service conditions and the consequent substantial increase in service conditions and salary. They were living in conditions bordering on poverty before that. He did more than that on equipment and policy (esp about maintaining our arrangements with the Americans - despite pressure from others within the ALP), but there are many middle aged Australian ex-servicemen and women who appreciate him if only for battling for them and winning better service conditions. As for Paul Dibb, I can’t be bothered looking up chronological details but I believe his ideas (cover the sea-air gap, only 10 people with AK-47’s wearing thongs will ever be the problem) held sway to a large extent until East Timor loomed on the horizon and 1BDE was bought up to strength with a reduced notice to move. Hugh White was a DepSec then and so he shouldn’t have been saying anything publicly at least. I know he does now.

    So what am I saying - well, the Labor Party is an effing schmozzle, doesn’t deserve to win the next election, and won’t. Beazley is not leading the Labor Party well, his time has come and gone and he should go, but he did some very good things when he was the Minister of Defence and no-one should take that away from him. If you want to do it, then fill your boots. But I won’t.

    Posted by Whale Spinor on 2006 03 14 at 08:55 AM • permalink

  65. Well the less said about the Collins class submarine the better…  and that was chosen while Bomber was minister of defence wasn’t it….  to foist such a total dud onto a major arm of our maritime service involved in the defence of australia should almost border on treason!!!

    He may of made some other reasonable decisions but after shooting us in the foot with those old clunkers, he aught to shut his trap when it comes to criticising any equipment decisions or issues of the current government…

    Posted by casanova on 2006 03 14 at 09:25 AM • permalink

  66. Casanova - the initial project for the replacement of the Oberon Class submarines was initiated by the Coalition in its budget of 1981-1982. The process was set in place via various defence committees after Labor became the government in 1983. The successful tender, procurement and construction was agreed by all parties throughout the process.

    Beazley himself, was not convinced about the size of the submarine or its final cost

    The likely cost increase and the growing risk, associated with including no design already proven by overseas naval service, reportedly prompted resistance to the project within the decision making committees of the Department of Defence. Civilian officers of the Department, in particular, argued for the program to refocus on seeking smaller, cheaper designs. The incoming (my emphasis) Defence Minister, Kim Beazley, ordered the Department to examine the option of procuring boats of around 1500 tonnes. It recommended against such a course, reportedly on the grounds that the smaller boat’s shorter range offset any advantage of cost.

    Yes, they went over budget and they had problems with the fire control systems, but rather than less being said about the Collins Class subs, maybe more should be said. One “sank” a large Marine Expeditionary Unit vessel in joint trials off Australia because, er.. they didn’t detect it. Verified by umpires from both sides. Much hilarity and piss-taking in the wardroom afterwards I’m sure.

    Posted by Whale Spinor on 2006 03 14 at 10:14 AM • permalink

  67. So you’re saying Beazley misled the country on his weapons of mass immersion…?

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2006 03 14 at 10:39 AM • permalink

  68. #67 - Well hardly mass, there’s only six of them at about 3000 tonnes displacement each although they might contribute more to coastal water level increases than global warming/climate change/whatever-its-going-to-be-called-next.

    I was just trying to point out that defence procurement is a long winded process that can span many governments and many ministers. Thankfully, it is carried out in a bi-partisan manner, albeit with a little sniping from thinktanks of various persuations and the loony left.

    Posted by Whale Spinor on 2006 03 14 at 11:11 AM • permalink

  69. Shouldn’t that read “visionary cretan”?

    Posted by Hucklebuck on 2006 03 14 at 01:48 PM • permalink

  70. Just as amusing has been the line ‘The Australian’ has taken on the Beazley leadership, likening it (in their cartoon and Denis Shanahan’s opinion piece) to the Dead Parrot made famous by Monty Python.  Michael Costello (Beazley’s former Chief of Staff and chief cheerleader) used the same comparison to depict Mark Latham’s leadership in December 2004.

    Posted by 9C on 2006 03 14 at 03:37 PM • permalink

  71. A very interesting and informative contribution, Mr Whale Spinor!

    I always suspected that the Collins wasn’t as bad as some (basically anti-military) critics suggested, althought there were certainly some real problems that more fair dinkum people identified.

    Big cost over-runs were one, obviously.  Not being much of a military expert, I hadn’t heard about or don’t recall any issues with their fire control systems, but there was a noise issue.  Was that fixed?


    Posted by TFK on 2006 03 14 at 06:04 PM • permalink

  72. LLL

    Mainly because half of dough is being thieved to pay for leftist social welfare programs.

    Posted by murph on 2006 03 14 at 08:10 PM • permalink

  73. #46, Your old man was spot on. The ALP, and the Left in general, for that matter, love the working class only in an abstract, theoretical sense, not in any real, tangible way. Workers never seem to think the right way, live the right way, or, God forbid, vote the right way. For that reason the ALP/Left wouldn’t piss on a real working class person if he/she was on fire.

    Posted by EliotNess on 2006 03 15 at 12:52 AM • permalink

  74. The Collins’ subs were perfect ,except for a few clanks, squeaks, scratches,scrapes, thumps and thuds.
    Nothin’ wrong with that, they would have made ideal tractors.

    Posted by waussie on 2006 03 16 at 12:27 AM • permalink

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