Courtesy Andrew Dyson and The Age
Kevin Rudd is not your typical politician. David Marr and others complained that his acceptance speech Saturday night was bland and passionless, leaving the revellers insufficiently pumped to go wild and party unto oblivion.
This bloke is all business and no play. Whatever glory he is into is not so much personal as national. And by national I do not mean "nationalistic". He appears to be that rarity among politicians whose agenda is to actually improve the quality of life for Australians, instead of simply using them to promote his own ideologies or pathological needs.
A good article on the positive aspects of Kevin Rudd's victory is Misha Schubert: Rudd gets to it, with vows and vision.
Is it possible that Australia finally has a leader whose integrity is not about to be diluted by a gigantic ego? If, in the end, Rudd does have a gigantic ego (don't we all?), might it be possible that this ego is more interested in justice than sleaze?
Kevin Rudd is not the only putative mensch elected last Saturday by Australians. Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Lindsay Tanner, Greg Combet, Bill Shorten -- they are all people who demand the highest regard.
And they all have John Howard and his spineless henchmen to thank for their ascendency. We've rabbited on for years about this deceitful traitor to the Australian character epitomised by the fair go.
Here are a few comments from today's papers:
Steve Dinham, letter to The Australian: George Brandis says that Labor has no mandate to repeal Work Choices. I seem to remember that the coalition had no mandate to introduce it.
Veronica Dingle, letter to The Age: Who can hear the name Bernie Banton and not think of Tony Abbott?
The reverse is even more true: Who can hear the name Tony Abbott and not think of Bernie Banton. As long as Abbott remains in politics, Bernie Banton will remain in the public's mind.
Sean Parnell, Party woes in north ignored
The Queensland Liberal leadership woes clearly demonstrate how John Howard - despite being the strongest and most marketable member of his party for more than a decade - did nothing to ensure his legacy could be sustained.
Howard was too busy being prime minister to be a true leader of the Liberal Party.
Mike Steketee, Dampened party needed a good wetting
It has taken an election massacre for Liberals to rediscover the truth of the saying by Robert Menzies that the party needs two wings to fly.
For more than 20 years, John Howard has added muscle to the party's right wing. He tolerated the Left or moderates but as his authority grew with successive election wins, they increasingly had to rebadge themselves as conservatives to survive.
Michael Bachelard, Libs did themselves in with union scare campaign
The Liberals' advertising during this election campaign was relentless and alarming. They created a red and black world implying threat and fear, and the most threatening and fearsome inhabitants of this world were trade unions.
For six weeks during the election campaign, and the 11 years preceding it, unions and unionists were the most vilified and maligned people in the nation. "Extremists! Fanatics!" the ads shrieked. They'll storm into your dress shop and switch off the lights! They'll hold the country to ransom, preceded by their beer bellies and braces, with that barren redhead Julia Gillard cheering them on!
Howard's campaign proved beyond doubt that, despite more than a decade of vicious attacks, the public image of unions is still relatively healthy.
For one thing, despite their diminished size, they are still the largest membership group in the country, with 1.7 million members, and another 820,000, according to a recent survey, who would like to join if they had the opportunity.
Shaun Carney, End of the strongman
In the end, it turned out, [Howard] had nothing special up his sleeve, no great idea or event planned. There was never any good reason for holding off on calling the election. He simply liked being prime minister and wanted to do it for as long as he could. He had the job and the salary and the great house and the staff and the media exposure and he was hanging on to it. The Liberal Party? It could look after itself.
The man sucked his government and his party dry. He obviously had dedicated himself to keeping Peter Costello out of the prime ministership and ultimately he succeeded. During his leadership, the Liberals have managed to fall out of government in every state and territory. This is his legacy.
And from the woman who always shoots with the straightest of arrows, Catherine Deveny, Mission accomplished
Howard's gone, Maxine triumphed and McLeod's Daughters has been axed. Life just doesn't get sweeter than this. Unless of course, George Bush chokes on his own foot.
But how about Julia Gillard? Hands up who wants to be president of the Julia Gillard fan club? I can't look at that woman without wanting to burst into tears and give her a hug. Everyone's making a big deal about her being the first female deputy PM. I think it's far more significant that she's in such a powerful position despite the fact she has red hair, because everyone knows that people with red hair don't have souls. On Saturday night I was hoping Julia would say: "This is a victory for redheads, 'rangas and carrot tops everywhere."
I recalled the day after Howard won in 1996 going for a walk in the morning and thinking to myself: "Who are these people I am sharing my country with?" It's been a long 11½ years.
Despite drinking my body weight in tart fuel (cosmopolitan in a can) on Saturday night and only having five hours' sleep, I did a victory lap around the People's Republic of Moreland in my KEVIN07 T-shirt on Sunday morning. It was delicious. Horns beeped and people gave my T-shirt the thumbs up. A large section of Lygon Street was closed off for tramline work. As I ran past a group of 30 workmen, they downed their tools and applauded. It was a beautiful moment. I could have run for hours on an empty belly, a clear head and a heart just bursting.
We all drank our "body weight" in the fuel of our choice last Saturday night. And although my electorate went Labor for the first time since Gilgamesh was a pup, I noted the street was very quiet. No time to rouse the bitter undead.
Finally, perhaps the nastiest piece of work still surviving the Illiberal rout is Wilson Tuckey. But there is a faint hope he may yet go.
The Nationals believe they have a chance to oust controversial Liberal MP Wilson "Ironbar" Tuckey from his rural West Australian seat of O'Connor.
Such is the strength of feeling against Mr Tuckey that Labor and every minor party except Family First directed their preferences to Nationals candidate Philip Gardiner. Mr Tuckey so far has 45.2% of the vote, Labor 20.4% and the Nationals 18.3%. But if preferences push the Nationals above Labor, Mr Tuckey's 27-year hold on the seat could be over.
There is your "Family First" party. In league with the fascist Right as always.
And that's that. Exhausted, absolutely exhausted.
Two items worthy of a good lol:
Malcolm Colless: Howard could still be a Liberal saviour
Christopher Pearson: Abbott the best bet for a party on the ropes
Janet Albrechtsen: Election debacle doesn't devaluate crucial triumphs
Brad Norington: Howard went too far, say employers
Jennifer Hewett: Howard's hubris sank party
Glenn Milne: PM's hubris leaves the Liberal Party in ruins
Phillip Adams: Why it's great to see him go