The Four Corners show ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ screened tonight showed that the Labor Party includes more than a few schemers who have substituted making capital within their party for decent values and for the normal looney-tunes pursuits of Labor politicians. The show is well worth watching if you missed it –available online here. While mainly concerned with the NSW branch and the particular activities of the party in Wollongong and Newcastle, the fund-raising success of the NSW branch was replicated by imitation of its practices in the recent federal election. Indeed the chief fund-raiser in NSW (Mark Arbib) was awarded the safest senate seat in NSW for his efforts.
The response of the left to these accusations? My guess is they will ignore them or suggest they are ‘small picture’ distractions. Or, the other side of politics does the same sorts of things so its OK for Labor - always a favoured line. Or they might also use the superficially clever line – it has an element of truth - that the Liberals in NSW must be hopeless if they fail to defeat such an incompetent, corrupt and unattractive lot as NSW Labor. But generally the left have failed to take seriously the nasty side of Labor politics. The repeated problems of child-sex abuse that have arisen within the Labor Party are one example. The recurrent problems of corruption that have occurred in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and WA branches are another.
The clichés, deification of Oracle Kev and the pursuit of shallow, symbolist policies will continue for a while. But the Liberal Party should be alert to the rottenness in the party of their political opponents and should not stop reminding the Australian people of the facts. The Brumby decision to revoke the pokie licences of Tabcorp and Tattersall’s might be a move to end possibly incriminating links between Labor and these two socially repugnant businesses. I wouldn’t let Labor dismiss this issue and would continue to pursue what has and what will happen here. A policy backflip engineered by Laborite cronies working for the gambling companies or a huge payout in compensation to the companies is not an impossibility.
Update: one hostile commentor pointed me to this Green's website on the political donations scandal. One element of the left is active in opposing disgraceful behaviour by the Labor Party.