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Posts Tagged ‘Barnett’

Alan Bond threatens old haunts

Posted by occidentprone on September 21, 2008

Alan Carpenter was haunted by Brian Burke. Now Colin Barnett could face the spectre of Alan Bond moving from past to present.

The page 1 headline in The Sunday Times today read: “Bondy’s back – and reveals he wants to stay for good this time.” 

Inside Bond made a comment that “I will be back here full time in about 12 months”. Maybe he said it in passing, maybe it’s something he’s thought about seriously. Anyway, the paper made it into it’s big story for the week though it’s not on the website so maybe they’ve since changed their mind.

The people most haunted by Bond are the shareholders who were ruined after their trust in Bond in the 80s and early 90s. But like any master of reinvention, he’s shed that skin. He told the Sunday Times

“I think you go through life  and learn many lessons. And I think today I am a better businessman than I was then even, because you get the yin and yang.

There was a downturn in the economy, the banks that were lending to us went broke, a number went at the same time.

Unfortunately, because I was one of the highest profiles, I took a lot of the flak.

If your gearing is too high, as it is around the world with a lot of people, you are going to get hurt at some stage if the music stops.”

Unless you are a crook, of course.

I like the stuff about yin and yang. I wonder if Bond’s earthy yearning for home, where he and Di Bliss have a house at Cottesloe, has anything to do with the fact WA’s going gangbusters and there’s gold in them thar suckers.

Another Sunday Times non-story or not, there’s an interesting hypothetical.

What if Bond comes back? Is it a metaphor for the bad old days of big business rorts, just as Burke was a symbol of political rorts. Labor thought it had exorcised its demons then let Burke back in. And how did that turn for you Mr Carpenter?

Bond had been keeping a low profile but then he popped up on the BRW rich list this year and this week showed up to celebrate some old yachting victory. As we’ve said before, he deserves recognition for all he’s contributed to the people of this state.

The Barnett government has already waved the flag for development so it’s like the 80s all over again. Complete with ghosts of crimes past.

 


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What a day

Posted by occidentprone on September 15, 2008

In the last 24 hours in WA:

• The Nationals have handed minority government to the Liberals by siding with them in a non-coalition coalition.

• Alan Carpenter has resigned as opposition leader-elect and Labor has yet to appoint a new leader.

• The seat of Kwinana has been wrenched from the hands of the former Labor, formerly gleeful independent Carol Adams and awarded to Labor’s Roger Cook.

• 1100 votes in the seat of Geraldton have been declared missing (possibly dead) and the snafu might cause a byelection.

• Political analyst Peter van Onselen was hospitalised for over-exposure after being cited an unhealthy number of times. He is under observation in the rent-a-quote ward for elevated opinion levels. He is not to blame for his condition, it is a systemic problem that we must all look at.

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Barnett’s glad bag

Posted by occidentprone on September 14, 2008

Now we get to the nitty gritty. What can we expect from a conservative government, the first such state government in Australia for some years?

PerthNow says:

Mr Barnett is determined to focus on “bread and butter” issues that affect people every day, according to friends and party sources who are close to him. 

As a priority in its first 100 days, a Liberal-National coalition would: 

* Finalise plans to deliver $250 million in tax cuts to WA families and small businesses. 
* Give courts more power to stop anti-social behaviour. 
* Toughen penalties against hoons. 
* Strike a new pay deal with teachers. 
* Legislate to save Royal Perth Hospital. 
* Inject $10 million to reduce surgery waiting times. 

As this blog went AWOL during the election campaign we’re playing catch-up now on Liberal policy and promises.

Let’s just pick up on the Save RPH thing. The Fiona Stanley Hospital, still years from opening, cannot find enough staff, including specialist doctors, to work there. How the blazes are they going to recruit if RPH stays open? Let alone the other costs of maintaining the two campuses. $10 million on cutting surgery waiting times isn’t going to go very far at all.

And tax cuts? If people voted against the Carpenter government because they squandered the proceeds of the boom with little to show then what are tax cuts going to do?

Between more sandwich-and-milkshake sweeteners and the Nationals’ deal to whisk $675 million into rural areas what is Barnett expecting to buy with the coins left over?

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What now for Labor?

Posted by occidentprone on September 14, 2008

Alan Carpenter and Labor have lost government but still have their principles sort of intact. True, they tried to do all sorts of deals with the Nationals in order to cling to government but in the end the Libs could sell out more.

And a minority government with a partner which says it will vote against the government without losing sleep has got to be a stressful proposition.

Carpenter’s tenure is surely fragile, given the blame heaped on him in the last week –  he’s a control freak who doesn’t consult, and so on. (Funnily Barnett – and even Rudd – are accused of the same thing but they’re winners so what does it matter?)

Labor must suck it up now and be a good opposition. We haven’t had one of those for some time on a state or federal level so some of you kids mightn’t know what an opposition is sposed to do. The Barnett-Birney-Omodei-Buswell-Barnett Liberals failed dismally to land any punches which is why they are not governing in their own right.

But Labor’s Carpenter, McGinty and McTiernan are among the aggressive performers who can bring every misstep into sharp relief. And this new government-by-committee is bound to trip up a lot.

Complaints of a minority government have been that they won’t be able to do much in power. The Libs had better not squander the state’s riches right now, they had better not be cowed into doing nothing for an entire term. 

And Labor had better bring them to account, and not just clock-watch until the next election.

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And the winner is … Colin Barnett

Posted by occidentprone on September 14, 2008

Finally, WA has a government. Fairy godmother Brendon Grylls has anointed Colin Barnett and the Liberals to run the State for the next little bit.

WA Today reports: 

Nationals leader Brendon Grylls announced he would form a coalition with the Liberals after the Nationals State Council meeting this morning.

The decision came after intense discussions between the Nationals state executive yesterday as to which of the major parties it would direct its balance of power to, enabling them to form government.

Mr Grylls said “The Nationals have agreed to negotiate combined power with the Liberal government.”

He drove a hard bargain with both of the major parties to ensure his ‘royalties for regions’ policy was implemented.

The policy will see more than $2 billion in royalties flow back to the regions in the form of infrastructure and services.

Mr Grylls’ announcement came after Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce an alliance with Labor would have ramifications for the Nationals. (Source: WA Today)

Now we know.

From The West Australian:

Colin Barnett’s stunning political comeback has been completed with the National Party today deciding to help the Liberals form a minority government. 

The Liberals won 24 seats in the September 6 election. They will be able to form government with 30 seats in the Lower House by using four seats won by the Nationals and two independent Liberal seats.

Mr Grylls told reporters the decision came after 25 hours of talk, and said the Nationals had two “very good” proposals from both Labor and the Liberals.

He said the Nationals weighed up the proposals and the numbers from last weekend’s vote count before arriving at their decision.

“I take my independent stance as the most important thing I have to officer regional WA,” Mr Grylls said.

Mr Grylls said he was not prepared to go into a traditional coalition with the Liberals, and said that National Party MPs would reserve the right to vote against the government.

The decision on who might lead is over but the details of what else the Libs had to compromise on to seal the deal is yet to emerge.

Any guesses?

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Party favours

Posted by occidentprone on September 13, 2008

From nail-bitingly exciting to teeth-grindingly outlandish, The Sunday Times is reporting that the Liberals are considering an unelected person for a cabinet post if they are in government.

All perfectly within the rules and with precedents in Australia. All above board, in theory.

The person they want to co-opt is Deidre Willmott. Ring any bells?

There are serious discussions about giving Deidre Willmott — the economist who missed out on the plum seat of Cottesloe when Mr Barnett was elevated to the leadership — a seat at the cabinet table. 

Technically, Ms Willmott cannot be called a minister, but she can play an equally important role.

The Commonwealth Constitution does not allow the American, presidential-style of hand-picking cabinet members in the Federal Government, but there is nothing to prevent it at state level. 

It is not unprecedented. 

South Australian Premier Mike Rann appointed two eminent people from outside parliament to his cabinet’s executive committee. 

Senior lecturer in constitutional law at Edith Cowan University, Ainslie van Onselen, said such a move would be unconventional under the Westminster system of government, but was legally sound. 

“There is nothing in the WA constitution that would prevent a premier from appointing non-parliamentarians on the executive committee of cabinet or even sitting in cabinet,” Ms van Onselen said. 

“By convention, members of the cabinet normally come from the legislature, but that is an unwritten convention.” (Source: PerthNow)

Interesting development. If this is true (and we are talking The Sunday Times here so it remains to be seen) where does Colin Barnett get off telling the Nationals they should not side with Labor because the people had voted with their, um, votes to be rid of the ALP. And yet, he doesn’t need to bow to the will of the people when it comes to who he puts in cabinet. 

I’m all for bringing in experts for a talented cabinet – MP or not. And Willmott is by all accounts a talented individual with a proven track record. But this smacks of cronyism and untoward rewards.

Really, does Barnett think the voters cannot see through this?

First he shafts Willmott by reneging on a promise to quit and hand his plum seat to her, then he shafts the electorate by using cabinet posts as trinkets for favours.

Maybe it’s mischievous muckraking, but it’s just so crazy …

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More poll dancing

Posted by occidentprone on September 13, 2008

The runes are pointing to a conservative coalition taking the helm in WA.

The ABC reports concern among National MPs about an unholy alliance with the ALP. And then there’s pressure from Colin Barnett and the Liberals who claim the voters sent an anti-Labor mandate and therefore there’s nothing the Nats can do but side with Barnett for a conservative coalition. 

Barnett would do well to remember that the voters might have swung AGAINST Labor, but they didn’t swing FOR the Liberals enough for them to govern outright. If that’s what they wanted, that’s what they would have done.

The voters, in Barnett’s mind are apparently some amorphous mass tilting in the same direction like a school of minnows,  had enough concerns about the Liberal rabble not to hand command of the whole state over to them.

Now, we wait until tomorrow to find out what direction we’ll all be swimming in for the next few years.

 

Incidentally, reading election results booth by booth on the Electoral Commission makes for interesting time-wasting if you really have nothing better to do and you have an active imagination. For example, in the seat of Eyre, in the booth of the Dalyup Progress Association Hall, there were 109 votes cast and 1 vote for the Greens candidate. And they call themselves a progress association!

Some earnest writers festival workshop somewhere could probably even make an exercise of it: Imagine that one voter. An out-of-towner? A short-stay tree planter? Was he run out of town?

Like court gags to prevent juveniles and victims being identified in small communities, so too should the Electoral Commission merge the results of a few booths to prevent weirdo greenies being hunted down and shot (or rabid communities being embarrassed for that matter).

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Carpenter calls Sept 6 election – game on

Posted by occidentprone on August 7, 2008

Alan Carpenter’s early election date means he’s running scared of Colin Barnett, says political observer Peter van Onselen.

“I think the timing is a shock on a number of levels, I’m surprised that the Premier has made such a cynical political move because one of the great strengths of his premiership has been in not being a politician almost or at least not having that image…” Mr van Onselen said.

“I think the public are absolutely a wake up to Carpenter’s rhetoric that he won’t be basing his decisions on the problems in the Liberal Party versus the reality that this is exactly what he’s done,” he said.

“He might say he’s not worried about Colin Barnett as leader of the opposition but his decision to call the election so quickly shows he’s that he’s petrified of him, he’s petrified that if given the chance to present himself as a possible alternative that he could win the election.

“So he’s made a strategic decision which I think is a strategic blunder…” (Source: WAToday)

Fellow analysts Harry Phillips and David Black emphasise the cynicism of the move and agree that if not a blunder, it’s certainly risky because it shows them flinching a day after Barnett became leader.

The Australian says the Libs will train their sights on Labor’s links with Brian Burke. But friendly fire has claimed Lib frontbencher John McGrath, who doesn’t want his Burke links to taint his side’s campaign.

McGrath does not admit any guilt, says he was cleared by the CCC and says it is just a ‘distraction’. The Libs cannot ignore this and attack the government on the same charges and it cannot ignore that Anthony Fels transgressed in a similar manner with Noel Crichton-Browne. Just because the two are no longer in the spotlight (McGrath has just stepped down from the front bench, not the party or as an MP), doesn’t mean they are guilt free. The hypocrisy watchers are on amber alert.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Let’s look closely at Colin’s waterworks

Posted by occidentprone on August 6, 2008

It didn’t take long – Colin’s pipe dream has been resurrected along with Barnett himself. Colin’s Conduit, Colin’s Colon, Barnett’s Shaft – get ready for the puns and headline shorthand.

The Australian says the reheated Liberal leader: 

… has indicated he will revisit plans for a Kimberley-Perth canal in preparing policies for the next election.

Mr Barnett, who was elected unopposed to the parliamentary Liberal Party leadership today, was widely blamed for the opposition’s loss at the 2005 election after he made an uncosted pledge to build a canal to carry water from the Kimberley to Perth.

Mr Barnett took responsibility for the gaffe and quit the leadership shortly after the Gallop Government was returned with its majority intact.

After the party room today unanimously chose him to become the fourth Liberal leader in the fifth leadership change since the election, Mr Barnett did not rule out reviving the canal scheme.

“Let me say that at the time of the last election I made a mistake in the way the issue was handled,” Mr Barnett said at his first press conference as the reinstated Liberal leader.

“But can I also say that since the last election water has become the most important issue for Australia, indeed many parts of the world.

“WA, unlike other states, has the capacity to develop an integrated water supply system to provide water security for this state for another 100 years.”

Asked if that meant the multi-billion-dollar, 3700km covered canal was back on the Liberal agenda, Mr Barnett said any major project needed to be “a long-term, well thought out, well costed and considered project”.

“But we can do this,” he said.

Interesting development – or lack of development if you’re talking Barnett’s policies. But he’s right that water is now a big issue so maybe the masses are more willing to suspend their  disbelief for a bit. After all, we rely on a gas pipeline from the north to the south.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Mysteries, mass media and mixed metaphors

Posted by occidentprone on August 6, 2008

It’s like the Twilight Zone here at the moment with the missing and mysterious filling the pages of the paper and websites this morning.

An inquest into the disappeared Kaz II crew is sitting in Townsville his week and has heard how three Yunderup men went missing off the Queensland coast last year. The catamaran has been called a ghost ship, with reporters yanking descriptives from their Mary Celeste imagery grab bag. But from inquest evidence in the last few days, it seems there were technical issues and nervous preparation before they set off.

One of two brothers fishing off Walpole is also missing this morning. The 82-year-old Manjimup man was fishing in Broke Inlet with his younger brother on Monday when they were swept out to sea. The 75-year-old swam to shore and searchers resumed the search for his brother this morning.

There has been a search of a different kind at a Chittering property for drug dealer Frank La Rosa who, with his wife Kim, is missing.

Frank La Rosa spent 12 years in jail for his part in a clandestine amphetamine factory and was due in court on further drug trafficking charges in July.

Police are treating his disappearance as suspicious, but have stopped short of describing the inquiry as a homicide investigation.

The property being searched today was once owned by La Rosa. (Source: ABC)

Elswhere, new Liberal leader Colin Barnett is missing the days of loyalty to the party, Varanus Island gas is back online but we are still longing for full gas, which won’t be back to pre-crisis levels till Christmas time, and we are all saying a teary farewell to our privacy as Street View is launched in Australia.

The media has been so outraged at Google’s latest venture that they’ve had to spell out exactly what sensitive landmarks will be exposed – Swanbourne Barracks, the WA police training centre, the PM’s house – to guarantee a free kick to Google and voyerism.

Posted in Diversions, Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »