Saturday, March 03, 2007

JWH: Attack ALP corruption not Mr Magoo

Federal Human Services minister Ian Campbell resigned from Cabinet over his meeting last year with disgraced former WA premier Brian Burke. As far as I can see he did nothing wrong at all.

‘There is of course no comparison between the well-planned and well-thought-out meetings with Mr Rudd, and of course my short, incidental meeting, but it is very much in the interests of the Government that I resign so there can be no confusion over this.’
I assume Kevin Rudd will sit pat and bluff it out even though it is self-evident his several meetings with Brian Burke were to gain support for his election to the Labor leadership. With hindsight Rudd says he acted unwisely – the difficulty however is lack of foresight. He is indeed a Mr Magoo.

Rudd took pleasure at attacking the Coalition over the AWB scandal. A few days ago they attacted Howard because he talked with Ron Walker about a company Walker planned to launch with Australian business leaders Hugh Morgan and Robert Champion de Crespigny to explore the future market for nuclear power.

This is pure hypocrisy on the part of Rudd - and his fellow party members know it - only one came to Rudd’s rescue when the Liberals were savaging him in parliament over his meetings with Burke.

Howard may well be trying to highlight the lower moral standards of the ALP by encouraging Ian Campbell to resign. That might be good politics but it is probably not deserved as Ian Campbell did nothing wrong. Rudd is also probably not dishonest but he is inexperienced, a hypocrite and a member of a party where dishonest and corrupt deals are a way of life.

Howard is fighting for his political survival and would be better relating Rudd’s meetings with Burke to broader issues of corruption in the ALP and its outdated factional structure. In Queensland, NSW, Victoria and, of course, Western Australia, Labor has shown it is irresponsible and dishonest in government. Only a one-eyed hack can avoid seeing the obvious - it is a disease even Labor Party supporters see as obvious.

Attacking entrenched ALP corruption is a larger target to attack and avoids the need for sacrificial lambs like Ian Campbell and the risk of overdoing attacks on Mr Magoo.


Anonymous said...

You've misspelled "thougfh"

JWH might be reading!!!

hc said...

Thank's Rabee.

Anonymous said...

I think you are undergeneralizing the terms Labor and courruption, and that the more appropriate categories are major Australian political parties and corruption. You need to stop taking such a one-eyed view and call a spade a spade -- corruption/cheap vote buying is a problem for both sides of politics.

Also, given the Australian public doesn't seem to care about corruption at all, I don't think this incident will make any real difference. We'll still have to put up with the same old crap from the same old parties.

Anonymous said...

If Campbell had been any good as a minister, it might have been a different story. It also allows the government to walk away from some of his sillyness as environment minister.

hc said...

I agree Sinclair that he was not an outstanding environment minister. But he is a close buddy of JWH and quite a smart guy. This was a ruthless excecution for the greater good of the Liberal Party designed to put pressure on Rudd.

Conrad, I think the strench of corruption coming from State Labor Governments in Austtralia at present is overwhelming. There are no Liberal State Governments and I don't think anyone is accusing the Howard Government of self-serving corruption. Hence I refute the suggestion I am being one-eyed.

Anonymous said...


you don't remember Ron Walker and the end of the Kennett years? At a federal level, I think you are one of the few who seriously thinks that AWB and children overboard were completely legit. Going back a little in history, you can add Jo Bjelke (possibly the most corrupt in Australia's history). etc.

hc said...

Conrad, There are worse examples of corruption in history on the part of the Liberal Party. The Askin Government in NSW was terrible.

AWB was an example of poor regulation and atrocious business ethics. Which conservative politicians took kickbacks or derived advantage from it?

You are right I don't remember crooked deals involving old potato face. Can you remind me?

Anonymous said...

To refresh your memory, Ron Walker, as in, JKs friend, won the Crown Casino contact, and people complained about it for years. Eventually he got off. Simply because no-one is getting caught for things doesn't mean to say corruption hasn't occured (its just poor business ethics, after all) -- I'm sure Krudd will get off on the same technicality (i.e., "prove it") and I don't see why your argument is any better in this respect. Dirty deals within the Labor party presumably fall into the same category (i.e., "prove it").

In addition, you can think (or call) AWB what you want. I'll just assume most people think that technical difference between extremely poor business ethics and corruption is fairly slim. If "legal" vs. "poor business ethics" vs "corrupt" were really such different concepts, then there are innumerate examples I can think of that should be just fine that most people wouldn't. THe obvious ones are the ones you point out -- all the internal deals that go on. International ones would include, for example, China and Russia selling Iran and the like nuclear/conventional weapons -- this is surely poor business ethics, but its legal.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can see he [Campbell] did nothing wrong at all.

Of course he didn't, and neither did Rudd. This is a really, really cynical maneuver by Howard. Of course from Campbell's POV he'll be back in Cabinet later this year if the Libs win the election, and will be owed big favours by the Prime Rodent.

hc said...

DD, I think you are right that the resignation move is cynical politics. At first I thought it might have been an unwarranted move that might still be politically smart but several liberal supporters I spoke to certainly didn't see it that way - they saw an element of desparation in it.

Conrad, You are forcing me into a corner where you make me appear to condone corruption on the Liberal side of politics - of course I don't. As mentioned I grew up under the corrupt Askin Government of NSW - awful people.

The Upper House gambling inquiry in Victoria might, perhaps inadvertently, uncover corrupt past dealings by the Liberals in awarding gambling licences. If so good - put them in jail.

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to say you condone corruption -- I just think you should treat it as something on a continuous scale. When you do this, the distinction between bad business ethics, corruption etc. should happily melt away.

Its also worth realizing that if you do this, then people like Kennett would have fallen into the great category for a large chunk of his career, since he was one of the few people that didn't try and win elections via electoral bribery (quite the opposite in fact) -- yet he destroyed the Labor party at that stage. I think it shows a fair chunk of people out there expect far far higher standards than the present (of both parties) -- and that people are also willing to vote for it -- at least in Victoria.