Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alan Jones Comments- Labor cabinet meetings are hostile

Alan Jones Comments- Labor cabinet meetings are hostile. From 30th May.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's been a horrendous week for the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. But for many I'm sure it hasn't been a surprising week.

Those who know the man would hardly be surprised.

As Dennis Shanahan writing today in The Australian says, "Mr Rudd must either change his style or face more debilitating crises such as this week's petrol price disaster". And he made the point that there's no doubting the intent behind the leaks.

He said the leaks from government and the public service go to the issue of the conduct, direction and style of the Rudd government.

Dennis Shanahan talks about deep rifts within the Cabinet and a view within the public service that good policy is being sacrificed to solve publicity stunts.

Indeed, he argues that the Rudd Government is ill-defined "except for symbolism and stunts".

"There are Labor figures,” he writes, “who are concerned that micro-management and media manipulation are no substitute for having a leader with a broad and substantive policy direction".

That's shorthand for what I've been saying. No grasp of detail.

As Dennis Shanahan says, "This week's leaks, wherever they came from, underline the fact that unless the Government can articulate what it stands for then it can't hope to hide behind stunts that don't deliver".

Well, it's not just petrol.

An inexperienced government with a totally inexperienced leader doesn't understand that once you start alienating minorities and they together become anti-government, they form a powerful majority.

Taxing family cars costing more than 50-odd thousand dollars was always a nonsense policy, especially when the cost of the vehicle is most probably related to its safety and its green credentials.

But then you've got the mental health issue.

Fancy taking over $300 million away from those with mental illness.

Or half a billion from farmers drowning in drought.

Or scrapping the Simpson Prize, an Anzac day tour giving schoolchildren the chance to visit Gallipoli.

It only costs $170,000.

Then there's the alcopop nonsense.

Increase the tax on it, so now kids are mixing their own drinks from spirits which carry less of a tax. How can that be public policy of any kind?

But then any number of inquiries, committees and reviews in the handful of months since Mr Rudd became the government. More than 100 new reviews, summits and agencies. We're drowning in the stuff.

And then sensing trouble, Mr Rudd starts manipulating the media, and the ABC, amongst others, complaining of what is "verging on thuggery".

"People are abusing their positions in this place."

As the Victorian Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson said, "This is a Government in six months that's totally out of control."

Remember, a Government that has managed to upset Japan, which for months was ignored and left off the Prime Minister's 18 day overseas world tour.

But not averse to spending money where it's of no demonstrable benefit.

The jaunt to sign the Kyoto Protocol in Bali last year cost almost half a million dollars.

Mr Rudd's hospitality for two nights in Bali, two nights, almost $40,000.

And he took with him five Ministers, 12 Ministerial staff and 35 bureaucrats to sign off on Kyoto.

While we're grinding under the need for infrastructure reform, we get no decisions other than $75 million in the Budget for, you guessed it, a study to consider how to proceed with a number of infrastructure projects.

And on top of all of this, the real crisis for Kevin Rudd this week in ignoring the advice of four major departments over FuelWatch.

There are serious rumblings within the government over the leadership.

Dennis Shanahan is right when he refers to Labor figures who today "are concerned that micro-management and media manipulation are no substitute for having a leader with a broad and substantive policy direction".

Mr Rudd does not have that.

Indeed, he never has. But it will be interesting to see where he goes if he doesn't soon find one.

What we've seen this week may be the tip of a policy iceberg.