Saturday, August 7, 2010


As election day 2010 hurtles towards us like a steam train in a grainy old black and white film, Australians face the real prospect of waking up on 22 August with Jim Hacker as prime minister. Only now his first name would be Tony.

Jim Hacker was the British politician in the popular “Yes Minister” and “Yes Prime Minister” series. He came to prominence (a bit like the Australian ice skater) when everyone else fell over and he was the last one standing. And when he did take office, he was entirely ineffectual - and ruled by his chief mandarin.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott could well be Australia’s all too real Jim Hacker.

After all, he gained the leadership last year in a party room  ballot in which the frontrunners were being loudly touted as the then incumbent Malcolm Turnbull, and Joe Hockey.

When the dust cleared in that straw-floor bar room spat, Abbott was still on his feet, by a margin of one vote: ironically enough, his own.

Now in the campaign for the Lodge, Abbott is again a virtual bystander as the Labor Party fights tooth and nail for political ascendancy - over itself.

The campaign and the vital issues affecting the nation have been sidelined as Labor tries to sort out all the unseemly detritus from the June Coup that toppled Kevin Rudd.

And just as they seem to be getting that under control, with Kevin Rudd obligingly smiling beside Julia Gillard - albeit with his lips only, and visibly thinly at that - former leader Mark Latham barges into shot brandishing a microphone like a Viking battle-axe.

It appears Latham has joined the 60 Minutes team of reporters. And there we were all those years, thinking they were just a conga line of suckholes.

This of course gives Latham a double leave-pass, as a former leader and current member of the press posse - which means double jeopardy for any ALP hopeful who happens to find herself tied to the tracks as he careers down the line toward her.

Labor wants to tell its good news story of how Australia avoided the global recession, how debt levels are lower than other comparable countries, and what it has done and will do with health and education, but all is swallowed up in a single brute handshake from Mark Latham. 

What other ambushes await Julia Gillard's Labor in the last two weeks? And what rough beast slouches towards Canberra to be elected? Could it be Tony Hacker?


  1. I am momentarily consoled by the pleasure of applying the words 'rough beast' to the dreaded Tony. (Though of course would much rather he didn't become our next saviour.)

  2. Rosemary he will forever be our saviour in the frankincensed chapel of his own mind.

  3. They say the medium should fit the message, so Latham working for 60 minutes is an inspired choice on the part of channel 9. Perhaps the ABC could recruit Tony Abbot for Playschool, but let's face it, Julia won't make it through Masterchef.

  4. Do we know for a fact that Abbott voted for himself, and not Hockey? ;)

  5. Guys

    can you please make a vote of support for the victims of the Pakistan floods.

    I suggest that my friends there who are trying to make a difference would appreciate it.