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Sunday, October 24, 2004Its Monday and as usual the news is slow, but I feel obliged to put finger to keyboard anyhow. AM are tipping the coveted Shadow Treasurer position will go to either Kevin Rudd or Wayne Swan after Julian Gillard has pulled out. Wayne Swan? I thought the ALP wanted to get their economic crudentials in order and win the next election, not install another hack from the shelf who's only talent is to scare small chidren and household pets. Perhaps they are relying on this dubious new "econothingy" portfolio that may go to Stephen Smith. Gillard should have been a shoe in for this role, she performed very well going toe to toe against Abbott (the next treasurer). Swan on the other hand had trouble vanquishing that titanic witmaster Kay Patterson. Tomorrow will see the final result, and the beginning of the reign of Stephen "Dodgy Geezer" Conroy as Shadow (of Faulkner) Leader of the Senate. So if Rudd gets the nod as Treasurer, who will fill the role of slapping Downer around the head and stealing his lunch money? I'll put a lobster on Crean down at Conroy's offshore bookies, no questions asked.
The other big news was the $9 million payout to the Hardie boys, triggered by a change of job title last month. Of course the momey was paid out in "everyones best interests". And even though the former CEO has resigned, he will be staying on as a consultant. With business acting as ethically as this, perhaps now is the time to look at the whole IR question. Companies have shown again and again that given free reign, everyone benefits. Wages, employment and productivity go up, everyone is happy.
The interesting thing for me will be where the new chums end up. Generally it's been the back-font bench, like shadow spokesperson for factional relations, but with so many old boys bowing out, there are more jobs than people. And yeah, that means Crean will get something important, like Foreign Affairs. Although I think it would be safer to hide him in Industrial Relations.
The good news is that whoever gets the Dolly Slapping role will have some pretty easy guidelines for knowing when Downer is talking crap: air will come out.
IR is going to be a battleground this term so the ALP need a big hitter to cover drive Andrews into the boundary for four. It needs to be someone who comes across as caring and in tune with workers, not someone with a sneer and a whine.