Friday, September 23, 2005

The 'The Latham Diaries' Diaries: 1996

Was Gareth really a no-hoper in his short time as Shadow Treasurer? Latham reckons he was:

Thursday, 18 April
Earlier today, the mighty Gareth told me that 'I want to go back to Foreign Affairs'. He's trying to rote-learn the economy and it's not working. He knows nothing about National Competition Policy and Hilmer. It's really quire scary, shattering the image I had of super-competent Hawke and Keating ministers. The more I see of the frontbench, the more sceptical I become.
- Page 47


The first Howard/Costello budget was delivered in August, and for those who remember it was a grusome slash and burn budget as the incoming administration sought to turn around the massive deficit of Keating/Beazley/Willis (everyone remember the "$8 billion Beazley black-hole", a phrase in the rhetorical spirit of the Beazley flip-flop?). Anyhow, with health, education and just about every other government service having the guts ripped out of it, here's how Latham recalls the Labor response on the day:

Tuesday, 20 August
The first Budget of the Howard Government and they have slashed everything.... Talking of storming the citadel, it was a different topic of conversation at today's meeting of the NSW Right. THe main agenda item was the Government's move to reclaim frequent flyer points from MPs. The complaints went on forever, as if the world were ending. I chipped in facetiously, 'Gee, this must be a bad government'. But the rotten rorters agreed, they thought I was being serious! - Page 50


Was Keating serious?:

Monday, 28 October
Earlier in the day, Duncan (Kerr) told me that during the truck blockade of Parliament House in early 1995, Keating wanted to call in the army to clear them out of the place. Sounds pretty radical. Mind you, it would have fixed up the protestors, watching their logging trucks being blown away by tank-fire! - Page 52


...and later that same day an excellent critique of the role of Parliament:

The House is a chamber of assertion, not explanation. Even with a weak argument, a confident, assertive speech can carry the day. Question Time requires a cool, analytical approach, with the ability to anticipate various scenarios and not to be deterred by the Government's bullshit and bravado. - Page 53

2 comments:

John Lee said...

they may have to call in the ADF to deal with the truckies after all

Guy said...

My longwinded thoughts on the diaries here.